Free Fallin’ (1989) – Tom Petty

Who can forget when Jerry Maguire thought he’d secured the NFL’s biggest signing and he’s searching a channel with music matching his elation and he stumbles on today’s track by Tom Petty Free Fallin‘. See the scene here. I had heard Free Fallin‘ years before I saw it used in Jerry Maguire, but it’s masterclass how Cameron Crowe (director) fuses music with film.

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America, too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend, too

And it’s a long day livin’ in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

I was a fan of Petty since listening to him in the Travelling Wilburys whose music has featured here plenty of times already. I was always impressed how Tom Petty music seems to get somewhere to the core of Americana-rock. There’s probably no better example of that than Free Fallin‘. Jeff Lyne also one of the Wilburys and former E.L.O. leadsinger was Petty’s co-writer for the record Full Moon Fever and backing vocal and played bass guitar.

Free Fallin is one of Petty’s most famous tracks as well as his highest- and longest-charting. Let’s not forget his other great Americana hits – Learning to Fly and I Won’t Back Down.

In a 2006 interview, Petty said he knew he wanted to be in a band the moment he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. “The minute I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show—and it’s true of thousands of guys—there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you’re a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports
In 2017 Petty died of an accidental drug overdose one week after the end of the Heartbreakers’ 40th Anniversary Tour.

1. Free Fallin’ – wikipedia
2. Tom Petty – wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
3 comments on “Free Fallin’ (1989) – Tom Petty
  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I have such fond memories of this song. It was a turning point in my life…I was up to no good and left someone who was good…dumb choice but I still have great memories of that summer.
    Petty is one of my favorite artists. I saw him once….Bailey and I missed his last tour…we were thinking…oh we will see him next time….I regret that!

    • Hi Max. I think the songs which penetrate us the most are those which reconnect to us some important period or event in our lives. So in a sense you cut ties with the ‘.. good girl, who loves their Mumma..’?
      Petty would have been a fabulous act to see. You must have great memories. He seems to have been at the epicentre of Music Americana in that epoch.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Yes pretty much! The song told the story!
        I got to see him in the 1990s and I’m so happy I did.

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