Full Moon Fever Explained

Full Moon Fever
Type:Studio album
Artist:Tom Petty
Released:April 25, 1989
Recorded:1988–1989 at M.C. Studios, Rumbo Studios, Sunset Sound, Devonshire Studios, Conway Studios and Sound City Studios
Producer:Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell
Last Album:Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)
This Album:Full Moon Fever
Next Album:Into the Great Wide Open

Full Moon Fever is the first solo album by Tom Petty, though it features contributions from several members of his backing band, the Heartbreakers, along with fellow members of the Traveling Wilburys. Mainly, it was an opportunity for Tom Petty to record several tracks he had written with Electric Light Orchestra front man/Traveling Wilbury collaborator Jeff Lynne before Lynne jetted back to England after a stay in America. However, as Petty thought that they "sounded nothing like Heartbreakers songs," he decided to record them primarily as solo efforts, which at first stirred a bit of controversy amongst some of the band mates. It is also noteworthy that some of the greatest hits that helped define the band as a modern rock legend, namely "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," and "Runnin' Down a Dream," were ironically cuts off an album sans the Heartbreakers moniker.

The record itself shows Petty's musical roots and influences with a Byrds cover ("I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better") and a nod to Del Shannon ("Runnin' Down a Dream"'s lyric of me and Del were singin' little "Runaway"). The album features one of Petty's most popular and recognizable songs, "Free Fallin'". A few songs were recorded for this album that did not make it: "Down the Line" and "Don't Treat Me Like A Stranger" were among them, and were released as b-sides. During the sessions, Petty wrote "Indiana Girl", an early draft of what would eventually become "Mary Jane's Last Dance"

Track listing

All songs written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, except as indicated.

  1. "Free Fallin'" – 4:14
  2. "I Won't Back Down" – 2:56
  3. "Love Is a Long Road" (Mike Campbell, Petty) – 4:06
  4. "A Face in the Crowd" – 3:58
  5. "Runnin' Down a Dream" (Campbell, Lynne, Petty) – 4:23
    • The CD version also features "Attention CD Listeners," an interlude at the end of track 5 distinguishing where LP listeners would have to turn the record over for side two.
  6. "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" (Gene Clark) – 2:47
  7. "Yer So Bad" – 3:05
  8. "Depending on You" (Petty) – 2:47
  9. "The Apartment Song" (Petty) – 2:31
  10. "Alright for Now" (Petty) – 2:00
  11. "A Mind With a Heart of Its Own" – 3:29
  12. "Zombie Zoo" – 2:56


Additional personnel



Hot 100Mainstream
Rock Tracks
Rock Tracks
rowspan=5 valign="top"1989"I Won't Back Down"12129
"Runnin' Down a Dream"231
"Free Fallin'"7117
"I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"18
"Love Is a Long Road"7
rowspan=2 valign="top"1990"A Face in the Crowd"465
"Yer So Bad"5


RIAA – U.S.GoldJune 23, 1989
RIAA – U.S.PlatinumJuly 21, 1989
RIAA – U.S.2x PlatinumNovember 9, 1989
RIAA – U.S.3x PlatinumMarch 13, 1990
RIAA – U.S.4x PlatinumAugust 14, 1997
RIAA – U.S.5x PlatinumOctober 5, 2000