CD single - UK - 1st edition.
Free Fallin' is a Tom Petty song initially published as track 1 on his solo album Full Moon Fever on 1989-04-24, then released as the album's third single on 1989-10-27. The song was composed by Petty and Jeff Lynne and produced by the two along with Mike Campbell. The song is typically categorized as heartland rock or folk rock. The single was released on a number of different formats including CD, cassette, 12" vinyl, and 7" vinyl, as well as a promotional single, and usually has a B-side of Love Is a Long Road, but sometimes Down the Line or a live version of Free Fallin'.
The album version and single version are identical. On the recording, Tom Petty sings lead and backing vocals and plays 12-string acoustic guitar; Mike Campbell plays 12-string electric guitar; Jeff Lynne plays acoustic guitar, bass, synthesizer, and sings backing vocals; and Phil Jones plays drums and tambourine. The lyrics make several allusions to the geography of California.
The song is sung from the perspective of a young man who breaks up with a good girl after using her for a fling. He initially tells himself that he doesn't even miss her, but eventually realizes that he does, making him want to escape for a while. The song's chorus of free falling can be viewed literally, implying the person is suicidal, or figuratively, implying he wants to fly away from his troubles.
My older brother had a copy of Full Moon Fever not long after the album was released, and I remember he and my sister listening to this song a lot. When I was in my late-teens and started my own albums, I also bought a copy of it and this ended up being my favorite on the album. I always ascribed the "good girl" in the song to my high school girlfriend who also loved Elvis, Jesus, and her mama.
The song's guitar opening sounds amazing. In the lyrics, I love how Petty refers to the bad boys who use women for sex as "vampires." I also like the allusions to California geography even though I can't internalize them, especially the overdubbing on "Ventura Boulevard." I take the figurative interpretation of the song where the boy realizes that abandoning good girls means his life is like being in an uncontrollable free fall; nobody is going to love him or care about him, but, before he escapes reality for a while, he wants to make it known that he really does love the girl he left.
She's a good girl. Loves her Mama. Loves Jesus and America too. She's a good girl. Is crazy 'bout Elvis. Loves horses and her boyfriend too. And it's a long day livin' in Reseda. There's a freeway runnin' through the yard. And I'm a bad boy, 'cause I don't even miss her. I'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart. Now I'm free, Free fallin'. Yeah, I'm free, Free fallin'. And all the vampires walkin' through the Valley, Move west down Ventura Boulevard. And all the bad boys are standin' in the shadows, And the good girls are home with broken hearts. And I'm free, Free fallin'. Yeah, I'm free, Free fallin' Free fallin', Now I'm free fallin', Now I'm. Free fallin', Now I'm free fallin'. Now I'm. I wanna glide down over Malholland, I want to write her name in the sky. I'm gonna freefall out into nothin'. Gonna leave this world for a while. Now I'm free, Free fallin', now I'm free fallin', now I'm. Free fallin'. Free fallin', now I'm free fallin', now I'm. Yeah, I'm free, Free fallin', now I'm free fallin', now I'm. Free fallin' Free fallin', now I'm free fallin', now I'm. Free fallin', Now I'm free fallin'. Now I'm. Now I'm free, Free fallin'. Oh! Free fallin', Now I'm free fallin', Now I'm. Free fallin'. Free fallin', Now I'm free fallin', Now I'm. Now I'm free, Oh! I'm free fallin'.