The song Tom Petty knew would be a hit: “I never get tired of hearing it”

Meta Description: Discover how Tom Petty’s timeless hit “Free Fallin'” from his debut solo album Full Moon Fever captivated listeners and cemented his place in rock history.

Tom Petty and the Enduring Success of “Free Fallin'”

By the time a song reaches a music fan’s ears, it has typically been around for months, if not years. This is why stories often circulate about bands and artists growing tired of their own music, having spent so much time writing, rehearsing, and recording the song long before promoting it and performing it at gigs. For Tom Petty, however, the fact that he never got bored of one particular song was how he knew it would be a hit.

The Longevity Test for Music

Some songs are fantastic when they first come out. They sound so new, so fresh, and so catchy. They’re played on repeat for a few weeks as the hot new hit of the moment. But they quickly become overplayed or exhaustive. That’s what makes a one-hit-wonder, or a fleeting 15 minutes of fame as a song falls down the charts just as soon as it rises. And that all comes after it’s left the band’s rehearsal room.

It seems like a good way to test out the longevity of a track. Behind the scenes, long before a song is released, the musicians have been living with that music for a long time. It’s not an instantaneous process as songs take a long time to get right, both on the drawing board of the actual composition and then the particulars of production or hashing out how to translate it to a live audience. By the time a track gets an official release, it’s already old to the people making it. They’ve played it probably hundreds of times, so if they’re already tired of it, it’s probably a good sign that the song doesn’t have all that long of a lifespan.

Tom Petty’s Approach to “Full Moon Fever”

Tom Petty prescribed to that ethos. In fact, it was the ethos he held close to his heart when it came to his debut solo album, Full Moon Fever. He hoped that because he never tired of the record, even after working on it for so long, neither would his fans.

“I lived with that album for a year before I put it out, and I was just crazy about it,” Petty said. He couldn’t even play it cool about the record. Months on from when he first made it, listening to the album still made him genuinely excited, feeling utterly proud and assured about his creation even before it came out to the critical and cultural acclaim it would meet. With each repeat listen, even after the album was fully mixed, mastered, produced, and ready for release, Petty was simply overcome with happy anticipation to get it out there. “It was embarrassing how excited I was!” he said.

The Unwavering Confidence in “Free Fallin'”

In particular, he felt confident in one track, never tiring of it over the year he spent with the album. “I was so sure about ‘Free Fallin’,’ I never got tired of hearing it,” he said. In fact, he felt so confident about the release that he feared if his premonition of its success didn’t come true, it would rock his entire core as an artist. “If it failed, I think I wouldn’t want to do it anymore,” Petty said, claiming that the album’s failure would make him rethink his position within the industry or the creative field at large.

The Success of “Free Fallin'” and Full Moon Fever

But luckily, Petty was right all along. Full Moon Fever is considered his absolute peak of success. It was both a commercial hit, racing into the charts across the world, and an artistic triumph. His feelings towards ‘Free Fallin’’ were especially correct, as the track became his most defining hit and one of the most beloved classic rock songs of his era.

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