one of my oldest favorite songs from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (TPATH) that unfortunately has become numb to me where I can’t really hear it lately anymore but rather find my mind drifting off by the end. Yet, I still cannot hear the opening riff and not have to slam my air drum stick down for that great first drum hit. And, so, listening to it today I felt like reminding myself and my readers what makes this such a great song, justly deserving its fame and its seeming irremovability from Tom’s setlist. It is one of a series of definitive driving songs that Tom has written, most of which (but not this particular classic) can be found on his unbelievable new album Highway Companion. Tom captures definitively, for example, the feeling of driving home late at night so well in Night Driver that you can almost see the dark highway lit only a short distance by yellow headlighting and feel your eyes lulled closed even if, like me, you haven’t driven more than ten times in the last decade.
But back to Runnin’ Down A Dream—the opening riff is the transformation into music of pedal to the metal acceleration, the first drum beat is 90 mph, the verses are the wind in your hair, the chorus is succession of sharp turns mastered deftly and exhileratingly, and the ending guitar solo is outrunning the cops and getting that damn dream that would never just come to you. What’s not to love? (I mean the first 80,000,000 times you hear it)