Year: 1989

Notable Tracks: “I Won’t Back Down”, “Runnin’ Down a Dream”, “Free Fallin”, “A Face in the Crows”, “Yer So Bad”

Album MVP: “I Won’t Back Down”

Why I Love It: It doesn’t get more heartland U.S.A than Tom Petty and that’s very evident on this album, as was the case on several works of one of the great musicians of this or any era. “Free Fallin'”, “I Won’t Back Down” and “Runnin Down a Dream” are all positively essential songs to any serious 80s collection – you’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

Full Moon River mixes stereotypical rock n’ roll with  catchy choruses and thought-provoking lyrics. Petty was never the type of vocalist that was going to leave you in awe when hearing or him and knew that –therefore staying in his lane and creating what is in my opinion a classic American rock record for the 80s –and far beyond.  

Commercial Success: After being the lead in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for a long time this was technically Petty’s debut solo album although it featured contributions from band members among others.  As you’d expect the album did well commercially, peaking at number-three on the Billboard Top 200 and finishing the last year of the decade ranked 19th on the year-end Billboard Top 200.  While only one song, “Free Fallin” (seven) would be a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, Petty did reach the top of the Mainstream Rock Tracks three times, with “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and “I Won’t Back Down” joining the party. Clearly Moran-Alytics liked this album more than Rolling Stone magazine, as Rolling Stone only ranked this 92nd on their 100 Beset Albums of the 1980s.  In total Full Moon River would sell more than five million copies in the United States.

Fun Fact:  Courtesy of CBC Radio: Tom Petty was born in Gainesville, Fla., on Oct. 20, 1950. His father was an insurance salesman who reportedly beat Petty, but music provided an escape. His love of rock ‘n’ roll officially began in the summer of 1961, when he was just 11 years old, and met none other than Elvis Presley, who was shooting a film in nearby Ocala. Petty’s uncle, Earl Jernigan, owned a film-developing business and worked on location shoots when they came through town, and his aunt picked up Petty so he could go to the set. Hundreds of fans screamed as The King pulled up in a line of white Cadillacs.

“He stepped out radiant as an angel. He seemed to glow and walk above the ground. It was like nothing I’d ever seen in my life. At 50 yards, we were stunned by what this guy looked like. And he came walking right towards us,” remembered Petty, who stayed on set to watch the filming for the rest of the day. He was smitten by all of it — the cars, the fans, but mostly Elvis’s swagger.

After that, he listened obsessively to Elvis records. “That’s what kicked off my love of music. And I’d never thought much about rock ‘n’ roll until that moment.”


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

49. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie 

48. Men at Work – Business As Usual

47. Run DMC – Run DMC

46. Richard Marx – Richard Marx

45. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl 

44. Rocky IV – Movie Soundtrack