Story | 1989 – Tom Petty Debuts “Full Moon Fever”
Tom Petty live in 2008 - NFL / Youtube
God surely didn’t play dice with the universe when Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne met on the road in 1987. Petty was just on his way to buy something when he chanced upon ELO’s creative head.
In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Lynne shared, “He beeped his horn and I kept thinking, ‘Who’s that?’ And it was Tom. ‘Hi, Tom!’ He said, ‘Pull over – I wanna have a word with you.’ He’d just been listening to George [Harrison’s] album, Cloud Nine, which I’d just worked on, co-produced it, and he really liked it. He said, ‘Do you fancy writing some songs together?’ I said, ‘I sure do.’”
This didn’t only open doors for a career achievement waiting to be made, as the two quickly became good friends as well. Lynne was in the middle of working on Brian Wilson’s solo debut when it happened, where the two pitched ideas back and forth for songs that would complete the tracklisting on Full Moon Fever, which were “Yer So Bad” and the classic hit “Free Fallin'”.
Lynne took the helm of producer duties for Petty as ELO just disbanded, where the work and musical chemistry between the two became apparent. “I always liked Tom. I always loved his style, and he’s so American. It’s a great thing for an English person to actually work with a real Southern American… they’ve got the best voices. George always said, ‘It’s like they’ve got a head start over English people because they already have a twang.’ They’ve just got this lovely-sounding voice,” Lynne noted.
Tom Petty’s solo album was released on April 24, 1989, essentially marking his return to the musical limelight.