CSX Classic Cuts

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 25: Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performs during their 40th Anniversary Tour at Bridgestone Arena on April 25, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sacks & Co)

WCSX Classic Cuts

Tom Petty: “Runnin’ Down a Dream”

The Hook: One of the many hits from Tom Petty’s solo debut became a staple of The Heartbreakers’ sets — and the title of a four-hour documentary on the band’s history.

Year Released: 1989

Album: Full Moon Fever

Writers: Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Jeff Lynne

Stats: “Runnin’ Down a Dream” made it to number-23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The Background: Unlike much of Full Moon Fever, “Runnin’ Down a Dream” comes closest to the typical Heartbreakers sound. That’s not surprising, considering Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell came up with the distinctive opening guitar riff.

In the first verse, Petty pays tribute to one of his musical heroes, 1960s singer Del Shannon, with the line, “The trees went by/Me and Del were singin’/Little runaway, I was flyin’.”

Trivia: Since its release in 1989, “Runnin’ Down a Dream” has been either a set or an encore closer on every Petty and the Heartbreakers tour — until the Mojo jaunt, where it opened every encore.

Tom Petty on his approach to songwriting. OC:…to them. :18

“A lot of my work I try to make sure that it’s got — I call it a 3-D aspect. Where it can be this on paper, but it can be this in your head, you know. There’s not necessarily one way of looking at this. And I think you enjoy them more, and there’s more of a timelessness to them.”