Runnin’ Down a Dream ~ Tom Petty

Tom Petty is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and a member of Mudcrutch. He was also a member of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys under the pseudonym of Charlie T. Wilbury, Jnr. He has recorded a number of hit singles, many of which remain heavily played on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. Likewise, his music, most notably his hits, have become increasingly popular among younger generations as he continues to host sold out shows in his recent tour dates.

Petty is also a vocal critic of the modern recording industry and the disappearance of independent radio stations.

Petty has been supported by his band, The Heartbreakers, for the majority of his career. He has occasionally released solo work, as is the case with 2006′s Highway Companion, on which he performed most of the backing instrumentation himself. However, members of The Heartbreakers have played on each of his solo albums and the band has always backed him when touring in support of those albums. He has also toured with Mudcrutch in order to promote their debut album.

Tom Petty was born, raised in Gainesville, Florida, USA and attended Gainesville High School. His interest in rock and roll music began at age 10 when he met Elvis Presley. In the summer of 1961, his uncle was working on the set of Presley’s film Follow That Dream in nearby Ocala, Florida and invited Petty to come down and watch the shoot. He instantly became an Elvis Presley fan and soon traded his Wham-O slingshot for a box of Elvis 45s. In a 2006 interview on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air, Petty said that he knew he wanted to be in a band the moment he saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. One of his first guitar teachers was Don Felder, a fellow Gainesville resident, who would later join The Eagles.  As a young man, Petty worked briefly on the grounds crew for the University of Florida, but never attended as a student. An Ogeechee lime tree that he planted while employed at the University is now called the Tom Petty tree.

Runnin’ Down a Dream

The song was full of various influences, including those of the Heartbreakers, as it was co-written by Mike Campbell, along with Petty and Jeff Lynne. It was also a nod to Petty’s musical roots, with the lyric me and Del were singin’ “Little Runaway” making reference to Del Shannon and “Runaway”. “Runnin’” was the thematic and musical inverse to the same album’s “Free Fallin’”, motion in kind but direction in difference.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/tom-petty_runnin-down-a-dream.flv[/flv]

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway
I was flyin’

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I felt so good like anything was possible
I hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days the rain was unstoppable
It was always cold, no sunshine

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I rolled on as the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

  • Audio from the 1989 album, Full Moon Fever:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

One thought on “Runnin’ Down a Dream ~ Tom Petty

  1. One of my favorite memories is tied into this song. I was flying in a UH-1 Huey in Germany coming back to the landing strip at Grafenwohr and the pilot asked if we wanted a little music. He piped in this song and it was our soundtrack as we flew at treetop level back home…..it just fit perfectly. Very against regulations I’m sure….but it was cool nonetheless.

    The animated music video to this song is one of my favorites too….

    needless to say, I’m a big Petty fan. Listen to his show on XM channel 40 sometime.

    Thanks Deej

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