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Classic Rock Review: Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever

Updated on January 3, 2012
Full Moon Fever Album Cover
Full Moon Fever Album Cover

In 1988, after spending years recording and touring with his band The Heartbreakers, Tom Petty found himself working with producer and musician Jeff Lynne on a variety of projects. One notable project turned into an album featuring Petty, Lynne, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan. They called themselves "The Traveling Wilburys," and released an album titled "Traveling Wilburys Vol. One." The record went multi-platinum and had several chart hits.

In the meantime, the material that Lynne and Petty were working on by themselves was something quite "different" than what they had recorded with "The Wilburys." Furthermore, it was not material that Petty considered to be "Heartbreaker" songs. He decided he was going to release the material as what would be his first "solo" album.

The move to "go solo" was met with obvious concern and controversy from his band members. Eventually every member of The Heartbreakers - Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, and Howie Epstein - contributed to the album in some way, with the exception of drummer Stan Lynch. The harmonious discord has followed ever since then, as band members aren't fond of performing Petty's "solo" material because they themselves didn't play on it. Lynch went as far as to say he felt as though he was playing in a "cover band" while performing songs from "Full Moon Fever," Some also wonder if this disharmony may have helped sway his decision to leave the band in 1993.

Petty released the album in 1989, and its success was immediate. It became the pinnicle in Tom Petty's music career, and made believers out of those who said he shouldn't release a solo effort.

The album had 5 singles chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and 7 singles on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Three of the most popular songs on the album are staples of any Tom Petty show: "Runnin' Down a Dream," "I Won't Back Down," and "Free Fallin'."

The album eventually peaked at #3 on the Billboard album chart, and has been certified Platinum six times over since its release.

Track Listing

  1. "Free Fallin'"
  2. "I Won't Back Down"
  3. "Love Is a Long Road"
  4. "A Face in the Crowd"
  5. "Runnin' Down a Dream"
  6. "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"
  7. "Yer So Bad"
  8. "Depending on You"
  9. "The Apartment Song"
  10. "Alright for Now"
  11. "A Mind with a Heart of Its Own"
  12. "Zombie Zoo"

The songs hold up just as well today as they did in 1989. If you do not have this album in your collection, it is a worthwhile purchase. Tom Petty - with or without The Heartbreakers - does not disappoint.


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    • KF Raizor profile image

      KF Raizor 6 years ago

      I love this album. It's my second favorite Petty album, behind "Damn the Torpedoes." Great hub!

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 6 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      I love Tom Petty and I listen to him quite a bit when I am driving in my truck. My grandkids are with me alot of the time and pretty much know all the words to his songs! Great hub!