The time Tom Petty shared the story behind his biggest hit

Music 09/10/2017

It's nearly been a week since the world lost another music legend, Tom Petty.

One of his biggest hits of his career was the iconic Free Fallin' from his 1989 solo debut 'Full Moon Fever'.

He was in the studio with friend, collaborator and producer Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra fame and came up with the song’s main riff while messing about on a keyboard.

As the story goes, Petty made Lynne laugh when he jokingly sang the opening line “She’s a good girl/loves her mama/Loves Jesus and America too,” which led to the two friends coming up with more joke lyrics before they realised they'd stumbled across something great.

“Honestly, I thought I was just amusing Jeff but then I got to the chorus of the song and he leaned over to me and said the word, ‘freefalling.’ And I went to sing that and he said, ‘No, take your voice up and see how that feels,’” remembered Petty.

“So I took my voice up an octave or two, but I couldn’t get the whole word in. So I sang ‘freeee,’ then ‘free falling.’ And we both knew at that moment that I’d hit on something pretty good. It was that fast.”

RIP Tom Petty, we miss you.