Song of the Day #1,402: ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’ – Tom Petty

Best Albums of the 80s – #5
Full Moon Fever – Tom Petty (1989)


The second Tom Petty album on this countdown, Full Moon Fever, is a collection of pop hits that’s as much fun as you can have wearing headphones. I can’t even think about this album without smiling.

Full Moon Fever is packed with wonderful surprises, from the “little freak with the lunch pail purse” who populates ‘Zombie Zoo’ through the sweet lullaby of ‘Alright For Now’ to Petty’s acknowledgement that he’s been to Micanopy and his middle name is Earl in ‘A Mind With a Heart of its Own.’

And those are just the deep cuts.

As for the hits… who among us hasn’t sung along with the chorus of ‘Free Falllin” like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, or felt for the dumped yuppie of ‘Yer So Bad’? And who hasn’t put the pedal to the metal when ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’ poured out of our car stereo speakers?

One day I’ll have to do a theme week on great driving songs, and I’ll have to dig up an alternate version of today’s SOTD because this is one of the best ever. Petty hit on an opening guitar riff that propels the song like a muscle car on the open highway.

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 I’m runnin’ down a dream
It 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 un-stoppable
It was always cold, no sunshine


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


3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,402: ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’ – Tom Petty

  1. Dana says:

    Ah, this is such a great driving song, and great driving album for that matter. Well deserved placement high atop your 80’s best albums list, as it would be up there for me as well.

  2. Amy says:

    One of the best song openings ever! You could also have a theme week featuring songs that name drop other songs. This would be a favorite of mine on that count, too. I remember researching “Del” and “lil’ runaway,” as I just had to know what he was listening to on his own car ride. No offense to Del Shannon ( but I would opt for tom Petty’s “running Down a Dream” myself. As I’ve laready revealed this album would certainly be high on my list – o f 80’s a lbums or any list of albums. It’s that good.v=aOh8NS_2nu4

  3. Amy says:

    Sorry about that:

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