Tom Petty – Breakdown

Breakdown is one of the first songs that I ever heard by Tom Petty. In my band days, my friend Chris showed me the intro to this on guitar…I still know most of it. The dynamics of this song makes it a great song to hear live.

At first, Mike Campbell’s guitar lick was only used at the end of the song. Dwight Twilley came by the studio when Petty was playing it back and suggested they use it throughout the song. Petty liked the idea and called the band back to the studio in the middle of the night to re-record it.

This was Petty’s first single. When it was first released in January 1977 it went nowhere, but after months of touring, it was re-released in October and it hit. It peaked at #40 in the Billboard 100 and #40 in Canada in 1977.

From Songfacts

Dwight Twilley, who had a hit in 1975 with “I’m On Fire,” was signed to the same label as Petty, and was on the same career path for a while. Petty sang on some of Twilley’s songs, including his 1984 hit “Girls.”

Lyrically more sparse than most Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers tracks, “Breakdown” finds Petty ready to end a union that has become toxic. “Go ahead and give it to me,” he tells her.

When the band first recorded this song, it was 7-minutes long, with an extended guitar solo at the end. The final version clocks in at a tidy 2:43.

This was featured in the 1978 movie FM. About a radio station in California, the movie was the basis for the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati. This was also included on the soundtrack.

Breakdown

It’s alright if you love me
It’s alright if you don’t
I’m not afraid of you runnin’ away, honey
I get the feeling you won’t

You see, there is no sense in pretending
Your eyes give you away
Something inside you is feeling like I do
We said all there is to say

Baby, breakdown, go ahead, give it to me
Breakdown, honey, take me through the night (baby, baby, breakdown)
Breakdown, now I’m standin’ here, can’t you see?
Breakdown, it’s all right
It’s all right
It’s all right
Yeah, it’s all right
It’s all right

Breakdown, go ahead, give it to me
Breakdown, honey, take me through the night (baby, baby, breakdown)
Breakdown, now I’m standin’ here, can’t you see?
Breakdown, it’s all right
It’s all right
It’s all right
Yeah, it’s all right

Gotta feelin’ it’s all right
Yeah, it’s all right
It’s all right
Well, is it all right?
I wanna hear you in the studio
Way back there
Is it all right?
Is everybody sure it’s all right?
Yeah, it’s all right
‘Cause if you leave if you want to
Baby, I don’t mind
Been standin’, facin’
Livin’ with it every day of my life
It’s all right
Can walk on out that door, baby
It’s all right
Baby, breakdown
It’s all right
And if you want to leave
It’s all right
I don’t mind
It’s all right
It’s all right

 

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Tom Petty – Breakdown”

  1. funny, I just heard that yesterday in the car on radio and thought ‘well, that’s a decent enough Tom Petty song you rarely hear!’.
    didn’t know that ‘FM’ was the inspiration for ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’… I’ll keep myeyes open for that one if I come across it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we played this song…those damn backup vocals were hard doing them live… but on a Karaoke version there is no excuse.
      I looked for that long studio version.

      Like

  2. I need to get some Petty on vinyl. Greatest Hits and Full Moon Fever would be the first two I would want for sure. Need to plant the seed in my wife and daughters ears lolol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought you would like this one. I have never seen FM…WE will be able to soon…When I get it I’ll tell you

      Like

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