Chords to Free Fallin – Easy Guide

Published Categorized as Acoustic Guitar Songs, Chords, Songs

This is a near ubiquitous classic throughout the annals of popular music, a fact especially amazing seeing as the song has only been around since the very end of the 1980s. This is a song cherished by nearly all who feast their ears upon it, so much so that it’s hard to imagine a time when this wasn’t the case.

If you in any way plan to assume the reins of this classic and take it out for a spin on the ceaselessly spanning highways of the rock music star stream, then you will most certainly need to learn the chords to Free Fallin, by none other than Tom Petty himself.

With a series of lyrics and musical themes that many can relate to and find contention with, they provide a perfect basis for a pop song, providing an ever so slightly distorted looking glass in which the listener can see elements of themselves reflected through the means of the lyrics and the music.

Even if a chief element of the demographic of this tune comes from those who would have heard the song and bonded over it back in the day that it was released, there is still an ever present quality imbibed within that means the song lives on, in generation upon successive generation.

Table of Contents

The Story of Free Fallin’

‘Free Fallin’ is the opening track from American musician Tom Petty’s debut solo album, Full Moon Fever, released in the winter of 1989. The song was written by Petty and his writing partner for the album, Jeff Lynne, featuring Lynne on backing vocals and bass guitar. The duo wrote and recorded the single in two days, making it the first song completed for Full Moon Fever.

Free Fallin has since become one of Tom Petty’s most famous and most popular songs, not to mention one of his signature songs as appreciated in the studio version capacity or as heard live. The song was more or less an instant hit, peaking at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 11 singles chart early in January of 1990. Tom Petty’s old backing The Heartbreakers performed the song alongside him at the MTV Video Music Awards on the year it was released, likely contributing to the popularity of the single when released like a bird into the world.

Petty explained in an interview with Billboard magazine that he and Jeff Lynne were sitting around trying to come up with a song, and Lynne got him to say the phrase ‘free falling’. Then the next day they allegedly recorded the song.

Petty did not write the song about a specific person, but instead about what he saw during his frequent drives along Ventura Boulevard, as proven by the various references to Los Angeles throughout the song:

  • Reseda – a neighbourhood in the San Fernando Valley
  • 101 ‘Ventura’ Freeway – the lyrics mention ‘a freeway runnin’ through the yard’ of the subject’s home in Reseda, which is believed to refer to the 101 Freeway, which has an exit for Reseda Boulevard.
  • ‘The Valley’ – what many in the area would colloquially use to refer to the San Fernando Valley as a whole.
  • Ventura Boulevard – a primary east – west thoroughfare that runs along the southern border of the San Fernando Valley.
  • ‘Mulholland’ – a reference to Mulholland Drive, a road that follows the ridgeline of the eastern Santa Monica Mountains and the Hollywood Hills between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.

Lyrics and Chords to Free Fallin

Given that the entirety of the song can be played with just four chords, it would be pertinent to explore the lyrics in more detail, though before we go on the chords will be detailed below, without of course having catered for the need to use a capo on the 8th fret of course:

The Actual Lyrics to Sing Along to

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

And it’s a long day livin’ in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

All the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura Boulevard
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
And the good girls are home with broken hearts

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’
Now I’m
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while

And I’m free (free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)
Free fallin’ (free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)
Yeah I’m free (free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)
Free fallin’ (free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)
(Now I’m)

Yeah, I’m free, free fallin’
Oh! Free fallin’
Now I’m free fallin’
Free fallin’
(Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)
And I’m free
(Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)
Oh, free fallin’
(Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’)

Final Tones

So, there you have it, all you need to know to get started learning this world beating classic about the ephemerality and ceaseless cycling round of love and love affairs, of broken hearts and the fools who are foolish enough to think they aren’t going to break them.

For more easy love songs, check out my blog post: 8 Easy Guitar Love Songs.

FAQs Chords to Free Fallin

Is Free Falling easy to play on guitar?

Though the chords to Free Fallin are relatively straight forward, it is precisely this quality that encourages many who don’t quite have the knack to take the song on head first without any feeling whatsoever. For it is in the feeling that many of these simple but heartfelt songs really come into their own; their elements are bare and few and yet within they harbour truths and essences of what makes us all human.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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