Runnin' Down a Dream
|"Runnin' Down a Dream"|
|Single by Tom Petty|
|from the album Full Moon Fever|
|B-side||"Alright For Now"
"Down the Line" (12" & CD only)
|Released||July 29, 1989|
12" & CD (UK only)
|Genre||Heartland rock, hard rock|
|Writer(s)||Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Mike Campbell|
|Producer(s)||Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell|
|Tom Petty singles chronology|
"Runnin' Down a Dream" is a song co-written and recorded by Tom Petty. It was released in July 1989 as the second single from his first solo album Full Moon Fever. "Runnin' Down a Dream" achieved reasonable chart success, reaching number 23 both in Canada and on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the top of the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It has since garnered significant airplay on classic rock stations, and lent its name to the 2007 documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Lyrics and music
The song was co-written by Mike Campbell, along with Petty and Jeff Lynne. It was a nod to Petty's musical roots, with the lyric "me and Del were singin' 'Little Runaway'" making reference to Del Shannon and "Runaway".
The song uses E major as a tonic, but makes ample use of chords outside that key, such as D, G, and C major chords. Some passages (including the extended outro) use a pedal point of E in the bass, while changing chords from E major to C and D major chords above it. The repeating fuzz guitar riff, using the notes B, B♭, A, G, and E, lacks only a D to complete the hexatonic E blues scale.
- "Hello, CD listeners…"
The original US compact disc release of the album contained a hidden track just after the song with a brief tongue-in-cheek monologue by Petty[a] over a background of barnyard noises explaining that there would be a pause "in fairness to those listeners [listening on LP or cassette]" who would at that point have to flip over to side 2. The interlude is not included in other versions of the album, though it is mentioned (as "Attention CD Listeners") in the album credits in all versions. This interlude would be jokingly referenced on cassette releases of 1991's Into the Great Wide Open, where listeners were instructed on how to flip the tape over and prepare it for side 2.
References the song "Runaway," a number-one Billboard Hot 100 song made famous by Del Shannon in 1961. Lyric: "It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the radio on, I was driving. Trees went by, me and Del were singing 'Little Runaway', I was flyin'"
The music video for "Runnin' Down a Dream", directed by Jim Lenahan, featured animation, based on several episodes of the classic comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay, featuring a drawing style reminiscent of McCay's and showing Petty and a character who resembles Flip travelling through Slumberland. The 1933 film King Kong is also briefly referenced when Petty, atop the Chrysler Building, attempts to swat at attacking oversized mosquitoes, much like Kong swatting at the biplanes in the film.
|U.S. Billboard Album Rock Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||23|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||23|
|UK Singles Chart||55|
|Australia ARIA Singles Chart||68|
In popular culture
It was used on the soundtrack for the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and was the official theme song of the 2006 NBA Finals as well as the 2008 NBA Finals. The song was also used by ABC in the 2010 NBA Finals when the presentation of the game reached the end of the third quarter and was phased out into a commercial break. The song is playable in Guitar Hero 5 and was released as downloadable content for Rock Band 2; in Guitar Hero 5 the master track is used. It closed Petty and the Heartbreakers' performance at the February 2008 Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show, encoda'ed with a long Mike Campbell guitar solo. The next morning, following the Patriots loss to the Giants, which ended their chance at perfection, the song was used during Super Bowl highlights on ESPN. It was also used in promotional segments of the 2008 MLB World Series. In 2011, the song was included in Tom Hanks's film Larry Crowne and on its soundtrack. In the animated television series King of the Hill episode "Arlen City Bomber", Lucky Kleinschmidt (voiced by Tom Petty) says "I'm gonna help you run down that dream, Bobby" of getting Bobby a fresh corn chip off the production line. The song was used in the Family Guy episode The Book of Joe when Brian achieves his "runner's high".
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 490.
- Tom Petty, Full Moon Fever (songbook) C.P.P. Belwin, Inc.; First Edition (1989) ASIN B0013GBQB2
- Wagner, Nichole (2008-06-03). "Roundup: Hidden Tracks". Uncommon Music. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
- "25 Years Ago This Week: September 10, 1989". chartbeat.blogspot.com.au. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
- Video on YouTube
- "Karma to Burn: Band". Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- Vince Darcangelo (2006-06-22). "B-ball blues". Boulder Weekly. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Ann Donahue (2008-02-03). "Super Bowl XLII Halftime Recap". Adweek. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- "iTunes Store". Retrieved July 5, 2011.
- In the monologue, Petty says: "Hello, CD listeners. We've come to the point in this album where those listening on cassette, or record, will have to stand up, or sit down, and turn over the record, or tape. In fairness to those listeners, we'll now take a few seconds before we begin side two. [pause] Thank you. Here's side two."