What does Free Fallin mean?

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Tom Petty: Free Fallin Meaning

Song Released: 1989

Free Fallin Lyrics

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy cause I don’t...


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    Jan 14th, 2006 1:36pm report

    Whether or not this song was written for any particular reason... It has meaning for me.

    Basically, the guy in this song is from "the wrong side of the tracks", and he fell in love with a "good girl" (the person who mentioned Grease was right, she sounds like Sandy or someone very like her), but, like Danny in Grease, he didn't know how to act and treated her badly, or broke her heart, or whatever, and so now he doesn't have her anymore. And he sees this happening all around him, guys going after naive "good girls" who don't know any better or have enough experience to know that they're bad news, and then leaving them for various reasons and they get their hearts broken, while the "bad boys" slink off (some ashamed and some not) to go find someone else. But he still has feelings for her, he's still in love, and he wishes he could "write her name in the sky", and show everybody (especially her) that he really DOES care care about her, and just how far he's willing to go to prove it.


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    Aug 22nd, 2014 8:12am report

    She is a beautiful young woman. Some think Tom's not the right guy for her. He is saying he just looks bad because he wants her and she wants him but he can't be there for her like he should be. He sees this type of thing a lot. There are a lot of “bad boys” out there and a lot of beautiful young girls. But the reality is, Tom has obligations and situations that take him far away from her. His priorities conflict with what she truly deserves. He really thinks a lot of her: "name in the sky". But the way his life is, its probably not going to work out because he can’t give a girl like that what she needs. To survive in his world, Tom has to let a lot of things go... and it is probably going to include her. He points out that it is that way for a lot of people. He believes and is content with whatever happens. The reality is, there is nothing much he can do to change things. He feels a bit helpless but accepts that this is the way things are in his life. He's freefallin'.


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    Jun 22nd, 2012 6:20am report

    I'm pretty sure that there's a reference to drugs here... Tragedy struck with the girl...didn't go well. Oh well, who cares. Now I'm gonna go "trippin" and thus the FREE FALLING chorus rides on with no attachment to any of the rest of the song.


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    May 4th, 2012 5:54am report

    There is also a socio-economic side to this song. Reseda is where poor people live. Up far above are the mansions on Mulholland. The guy "used" the good, poor girl and didn't even miss her, broke her heart, but he is consumed with guilt that he did so.


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    Mar 5th, 2012 3:19pm report

    For me it is about a guy who finds the girl of his life, but he thought he is missing something... so he broke her heard for being free. And know he is on his own and realizes that losing her means losing ground.


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    Jan 19th, 2012 1:00pm report

    Its about how a guy feels after dumps a girl, he's pretty much cold hearted but hes happy to be single again


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    Oct 30th, 2011 10:45pm report

    I feel he fell in love with her. She was simple, easy to understand, but he wanted adventure, freedom, no connections. He breaks her heart and claims not to miss her, but he wants to write her name in the sky. And free fallin, wouldn't that hint at falling in love with her. The vampire verse is confusing to me but perhaps it's his way of saying you can't change where you belong, the girls belong in homes, not houses, but homes, and bad boys like him in shadows and regret for using the girls for "blood". And at the end leaving the world maybe he just wants to escape the regret and the confusion and he wants freedom of falling with nothing stopping him


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    Jul 1st, 2011 7:12pm report

    "Free Falling" is, of course, a metaphor.

    It's a way of understanding 'no longer being in a relationship.' Free falling is jumping without deploying a parachute. So Petty is writing about the emotional state of being without someone you've established ties to...like the lines to ones 'chute -- the person that keeps you from spinning out of control in a free fall.

    I don't think you want to be too literal on the particulars.


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    May 31st, 2011 5:49am report

    Anyone who's ever wrote a song knows there usually is a simpler answer...and the people that listen to songs basically take it and transform it to fit into their own realities. Thought Tom Petty might know why he wrote it...see the link below



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    Apr 22nd, 2011 4:16am report

    I appreciate the above interps but what about the song being about a father who is estranged from his daughter? It's written in a way that sounds like a father talking about his daughter, there is even the line "she's a good girl crazy 'bout Elvis, loves horses and her boyfriend too" as if he's not her boyfriend but rather her father. He's worried (as most fathers are) of the big bad world (ie LA) corrupting his darling little girl.


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    Dec 22nd, 2010 12:57pm report

    I think it's about a guy who breaks up with a girl, breaks her heart, and tells himself he doesn't even miss her. He thinks he's free, but then he's realizes he's just falling. Free falling with nothing to hold no to. Because he really does love her. He want's to write her name in the sky, he wants to leave this world for awhile.


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    Dec 13th, 2010 12:23am report

    I always took vampires in this song to be the name of a gang, supporting the popular interpretation of the song that he is a bad boy who regretfully broke up with a good girl.


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    Nov 30th, 2010 11:07pm report

    i've stopped trying to read between the lines of songs a while ago, maybe i'm getting old for i don't recall ever hearing most of the songs on the list every week. or maybe it's my time to stop and smell the roses. what does free fallin mean to me? it great music good lyrics and petty has always amused me with his stage presence. he's been a pro for many years, and it shows


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    Nov 23rd, 2010 11:50pm report

    I like to think it s about a good, traditional, conservative and innocent girl who lives in a little boring town, there s a freeway running nearby but nobody stops. She has a boyfriend (i think not the man who writes the song) and her life would have been just like this but then this guy shows in town. He s the opposite, he comes from the city, maybe a musician touring or a stoner and he seduces her and she falls in love but after sharing a night with her the guy returns to his life, goes away. He doesn t miss her at all, she s just one among hundreds. He s aware of this and it makes him feel empty. Free falling. He s the vampire and the bad boy.


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    Jun 30th, 2010 6:37pm report

    I belive that Tom broke up with her and Tom is the "bad boy cause I don't even miss her" but he's missing her he is really felling bad for her. He is "gonna leave this world for a while" 'cuz he feels bad and just can't 'write her name in the sky"


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    May 24th, 2009 5:19pm report

    Originally I thought this song was about a man who had a girlfriend, and then he broke her heart without a care in the world. I thought that he originally didn't care about her anymore, then he realized that he did truly love her and now he feels horrible. Then I saw a suggestion about a father and daughter, so I listened to the song again. I think that is another possible interpretation. Maybe a father who left the family, or divorced and wanted to come back. I'm not sure I'm still going with my original thought, but this one's good too.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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