"Runnin' Down a Dream" is a song co-written and recorded by Tom Petty. It was released in July 1989 as the second single from his first solo album Full Moon Fever. "Runnin' Down a Dream" achieved reasonable chart success, reaching number 23 both in Canada and on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the top of the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It has since garnered significant airplay on classic rock stations, and lent its name to the 2007 documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.


The song was co-written by Mike Campbell, along with Petty and Jeff Lynne. It was a nod to Petty's musical roots, with the lyric "me and Del were singin' 'Little Runaway'" making reference to Del Shannon and "Runaway".





The music video for "Runnin' Down a Dream", directed by Jim Lenahan, featured animation, based on several episodes of the classic comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay, featuring a drawing style reminiscent of McCay's and showing Petty and a character who resembles Flip travelling through Slumberland. The 1933 film King Kong is also briefly referenced when Petty, atop the Chrysler Building, attempts to swat at attacking oversized mosquitoes, much like Kong swatting at the biplanes in the film.





Lyrics


It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down

I had the radio on, I was drivin'

Trees went by, me and Del were singin'

Little Runaway

I was flyin'


Yeah, runnin' down a dream

That never would come to me

Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads

Runnin' down a dream


I felt so good, like anything was possible

Hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes

The last three days the rain was unstoppable

It was always cold, no sunshine


Yeah, runnin' down a dream

That never would come to me

Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads

Runnin' down a dream


I rolled on, the sky grew dark

I put the pedal down to make some time

There's something good waitin' down this road

I'm pickin' up whatever's mine


I'm runnin' down a dream

That never would come to me

Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads

Runnin' down a dream

Yeah, I'm runnin' down a dream

That never would come to me

Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads

I'm runnin' down a dream