Full Moon Fever is the first solo album by Tom Petty, though it features contributions from members of his backing band the Heartbreakers, notably Mike Campbell, along with Roy Orbison and George Harrison - who would later join Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Bob Dylan in the Traveling Wilburys.

Track listing[]

All songs written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, except as indicated.

  1. Free Fallin – 4:14 
  2. I Won't Back Down – 2:56 
  3. Love Is a Long Road (Mike Campbell, Petty) – 4:06 
  4. A Face in the Crowd – 3:58 
  5. Runnin' Down a Dream (Campbell, Lynne, Petty) – 4:23 
  6. I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better (Gene Clark) – 2:47 
  7. Yer So Bad – 3:05 
  8. Depending on You (Petty) – 2:47 
  9. The Apartment Song (Petty) – 2:31 
  10. Alright for Now (Petty) – 2:00 
  11. A Mind with a Heart of Its Own – 3:29 
  12. Zombie Zoo – 2:56 

Album Background[]

Having earlier in 1987 finished a Heartbreakers tour behind the album "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)", Tom Petty decided to record a solo album without the Heartbreakers (similar to the arrangement between Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at the time); this stirred some controversy among members of the Heartbreakers, although all but drummer Stan Lynch contributed to the album.

Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein initially were unhappy about playing the "Full Moon Fever" songs live during Heartbreakers concerts. Lynch hated playing them right up until his departure from the band, saying it made him feel like he was in a cover band.

The recording process in 1988 was a low-key affair, with many of Petty's friends contributing, including the members of the Traveling Wilburys, minus Bob Dylan.

Recorded mainly in the relaxed atmosphere of Mike Campbell's garage studio, Petty would later say it was the most enjoyable record of his career.

The recording of "Full Moon Fever" was actually interrupted to allow time for recording of the first Wilburys' album.

Two songs recorded during the sessions did not make the album; "Down the Line" and "Don't Treat Me Like A Stranger" were released as B-sides.

During the sessions, Petty wrote the song "Indiana Girl", an early draft of what would eventually become "Mary Jane's Last Dance."


"Full Moon Fever" is noted for being heavily influenced by Jeff Lynne, resulting in a cleaner and glossier version of the Heartbreakers' roots rock from previous albums. Lynne incorporated layers of keyboards and backing vocals, giving it a Beatlesque feel.

The songs show Petty paying dues to his influences with a Byrds cover ("I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better") and a nod to Del Shannon in "Runnin' Down a Dream".

Other songs (such as "Free Fallin'") show Petty addressing nostalgia on his rise to fame. "A Mind With a Heart of Its Own" uses a Bo Diddley-style rhythm, while "The Apartment Song" features an instrumental break with paradiddle drumming reminiscent of Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue."

Chart Performance[]

"Full Moon Fever" became a commercial and critical success peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200.

It was certified 5× platinum in the United States and 6× platinum in Canada.