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    Song Title »
Free Fallin'
    Authors »
Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne

    Year Written »

    This Performance »
Date Performance 1989-00-00
Running Time 4:16
Performers Tom Petty (Lead Vocal), Tom Petty (Background Vocal), Tom Petty (Acoustic Guitar), Mike/Michael Campbell (12 String Guitar), Jeff Lynne (Bass Guitar), Jeff Lynne (Guitars), Jeff Lynne (OBX), Jeff Lynne (Background Vocal), Phil Jones (Drums), Phil Jones (Percussion), Jeff Lynne (Produced By), Tom Petty (Produced By), Mike/Michael Campbell (Produced By), Mike/Michael Campbell (Engineered By), Don Smith (Engineered By), Don Smith (Mixed By), Bill/William Bot(t)rell (Engineered By), Alan (Bugs) Weidel (Assistant Engineer)
CommentsRecorded at: M.C. Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Mixed at: Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA (MCA Records) Jeff Lynne appears courtesy of Reprise Records One of Petty's most compelling pieces, "Free Fallin" became an anthem - or maybe an anti-anthem - in the early 90's. Tom told the story of writing it in a 1989 interview: "Bugs, a roadie who's been with us since the day we started, bought me this Yamaha keyboard. I said, 'Man, why'd you buy that? It's expensive!' He said, 'If you write one song on it it'll pay for itself.' So he charged it to me and left it there. Jeff Lynne was over one night and I started playing with it. I played..." Petty hummed the opening chords of "Free Fallin'" plus five more, a busy pattern. "Jeff goes, 'Wait, what was that - just play that first part over and over.' Okay, I did. And Jeff's just sitting there smiling and he says, 'Go on, sing something.' So just to make Jeff smile I sang, 'She's a good girl, loves her mama.' And from there I wrote the first and second verses completely spontaneously. We were smart enough to have a cassette on. Jeff said, 'Go up on the chorus, take your voice up a whole octave, what'll that sound like?' I said, 'What do I sing?' Jeff said, 'I'm free fallin'.' So I sang, 'I'm freeee...' He said, 'Wo, there's power in that, that's good.' I wrote the third verse after he left and brought it in and showed it to him the next day. It all fit together and we were really excited. We went running over to Mike's with the song. Mike hardly knew Jeff, we just showed up and said, 'Hey, we gotta do a record right now! We gotta get this song down.' Mike said sure and we did it. "Axl Rose called and asked me, 'Where did you get that line about the vampires in the valley?' When I'm driving I sometimes see these shadowy-looking people just off the sidewalks, around the post office. I always thought of them as vampires for some reason." Through songs like "Free Fallin'", Petty has been able to keep bringing in teenage fans while continuing his relationship with an audience his own age. "I never will exactly understand why we still have a very large teenage audience," he says. "The only thing I can figure is that we never pandered to them in any way. Maybe they respect that." The promotional music video was directed by Julien Temple.
Appears On
Playback (1995)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Playback (1995)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Lyrics »

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

It's a long day living in Reseda
There's a freeway running through the yard
He's a bad boy 'cause he don't even miss her
He's a bad boy for breaking her heart

I'm free
I'm free fallin'

All the vampires walking through the valley
Move west down Ventura Boulevard
All the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts

I want glide down over Mulholland
I want write your name in the sky
I want free fall out into nothing
I want to leave this world for a while

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    Other Performances »
Performance #1:
Running Time 5:37
Performers Ben(mont) (M.) Tench(, III) (Pump Organ), Stevie Nicks (Harmonica), Stevie Nicks (Rhythm Guitar), Howie Epstein (Bass), Mike/Michael Campbell (Produced By), Randall Marsh (Drums), Mike/Michael Campbell (Electric Guitars), Mike/Michael Campbell (Acoustic Guitars), Sharon Celani (Background Vocals), Lori Perry-Nicks/Perry/Nicks (Background Vocals), Stevie Nicks (Vocals), Adrian Gurvitz (Drum Loop), Adrian Gurvitz (Acoustic Guitar)
Appears On
Enchanted (1998)
Stevie Nicks
Party Of Five (1996)
Various Artists

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(C) 1989 Gone Gator Music/EMI-April Music Inc., ASCAP

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    Discography Credits »
Lyrics contributed by Derik A. Larson & Magnus Hedlund.