Runnin’ Down a Dream

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“Runnin’ Down a Dream” is a song by Tom Petty, released in 1989 on his first solo album Full Moon Fever. The song was full of various influences, including those of the Heartbreakers, as it was co-written by Mike Campbell, along with Petty and Jeff Lynne. It was also a nod to Petty’s musical roots, with the lyric ‘me and Del were singin’ “Little Runaway” making reference to Del Shannon and “Runaway.”

“Runnin’” was the thematic and musical inverse to the same album’s “Free Fallin’”, motion in kind but direction in difference. The main riff was propulsive, instantiating itself in a battle of acoustic guitar against snare drum with fuzz guitar laced underneath and with vocal “ooh-oooh”s keeping that sense in full mind throughout.

The music video for “Runnin’”, directed by Jim Lenahan, featured animation, based on several episodes of the classic comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay, featuring a drawing style reminiscent of McCay’s and showing Petty and a character who resembles Flip travelling through Slumberland.

“Runnin’” achieved reasonable chart success, reaching number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, which meant in practice considerable airplay then on album-oriented rock stations. It has since garnered significant airplay on classic rock stations. It was used on the soundtrack for the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and was the official theme song of the 2006 NBA Finals as well as the 2008 NBA Finals. It closed Petty and the Heartbreakers’ performance at the February 2008 Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show, encoda’ed with a long Mike Campbell guitar solo. – adapted from Wikipedia

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