When Paul asks Tom to confirm that the origin of the song is him hearing a pilot say that learning to fly is easy, but coming down’s the hard part, Tom replies “True. That was the inspiration and I took it from there. Jeff and I wrote that together.” He also comments that it was written pretty quickly, saying “I think we wrote it in an evening. It came quickly because I had written most of the words and I had gotten a tune in my head. We sat down and spent a whole evening on it. But that’s fairly quick, if it comes in a day or two.”
Sometimes, the best way to write a great song is to not overthink it. I’d argue this is the greatest gift that Jeff Lynne gave to Tom Petty, because it changed everything from this point forward, directy or indirectly. Tom tells author Paul Zollo “That’s been one of our most popular songs. We still get a lot of requests for that in movies, and people always want to hear it in the show. People embrace it.”
Today’s episode covers the lead track from “Into The Great Wide Open”, Learning to Fly.
You can listen to the song here:https://youtu.be/s5BJXwNeKsQ
If you want to the live version from Gainseville in 2006, check it out here: https://youtu.be/4p_f7Df2-oM
Here’s the live version from 1994 at the Shoreline Amphitheatrein Mountainview, CA that I talked about with Benmont’s amazing piano part: https://youtu.be/KxTnlCEsUWY
And if you want to check out the final performance of Running down a dream, you can find it here:https://youtu.be/SnOOYrPkVYk
The Tom Petty Project is a proud member of The Deep Dive Podcast Network, which you can find on Twitter: https://twitter.com/deepdivepodnet
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All music, including the theme song, provided by my very best friend Randy Woods. Check him out at https://www.randywoodsband.com/
Logo provided Ed Booth, who you can find here: https://edboothart.com/
The Tom Petty Project is not affiliated with the Tom Petty estate in any way and when you’re looking for Tom’s music, please visit the official YouTube channel first and go to tompetty.com for official merchandise.
A last very special thanks to Paul Zollo. Without his book, Conversations with Tom Petty, this podcast wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to research.
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