What does Breakdown mean?

Tom Petty: Breakdown Meaning

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Album cover for Breakdown album cover

Song Released: 1977


Breakdown Lyrics

It's alright if you love me,
It's alright if you don't
I'm not afraid of you runnin' away honey,
I've got this feeling you won't

There's no sense in pretending,
Your eyes give you away
Something inside you is feeling like I do,
We...

  1. anonymous
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    Feb 15th 2023 !⃝

    Listen to the live version, Tom says take the house, take the money, take all the lawyers etc. It's a break-up.

  2. anonymous
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    Dec 17th 2020 !⃝

    As a guitarist who loves playing this song I think about what it means as I play through the amazing lick. To me this song means that that you might be going through some hard times with a partner but its alright, breakdown, let her give it to you.

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 9th 2017 !⃝

    He's telling her to breakdown, and give it to him - some pussy!

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 18th 2017 !⃝

    Its amazing the filters we have that give songs our own interpretations.
    For me, this song has taken different meanings over the years. Currently its that the relationship is crapping out and he needs to face the pain and endure the breakdown to get through it and move on - what else can you do? Get angry, bitter etc ad infinitum.
    Probably totally different to Petty's intent.

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 11th 2013 !⃝

    This song is about a woman who has cheated and the guy knows about it. He tells her, "I can take it or leave it." He wants her to give it to him (the story) so just "breakdown and take me through the night" (start crying and tell me what happened tonight).


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