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Into the Great Wide Open is the eighth studio album by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, first released in 1991. The album was the band's last with MCA Records. The album was the second Petty produced with Jeff Lynne after the success of Full Moon Fever.

Into the Great Wide Open
Tom Petty ITGWO.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 2, 1991
StudioRumbo Recorders, Studio C, Canoga Park, California and M.C. Studios
GenreHeartland rock
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers chronology
Full Moon Fever
Into the Great Wide Open
Greatest Hits
Singles from Into the Great Wide Open
  1. "Learning to Fly"
    Released: 17 June 1991
  2. "Into the Great Wide Open"
    Released: 9 September 1991
  3. "Out in the Cold"
    Released: 1991
  4. "Too Good to Be True"
    Released: 1992
  5. "Kings Highway"
    Released: 1992
  6. "Makin' Some Noise"
    Released: 1992
  7. "All or Nothin'"
    Released: 1992
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
Blender3/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[5]
Los Angeles Times3/5 stars[6]
Music Story3/5 stars[8]
The New York Times(favorable)[9]
Q4/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[12]

The first single, "Learning to Fly", became the band's joint longest-running No. 1 single (along with "The Waiting" from 1981's Hard Promises) on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, spending six weeks at the top spot. The second single, "Out in the Cold", also made No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, albeit for two weeks.

The music video for the title song starred Johnny Depp, who had moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to seek rock stardom, along with Gabrielle Anwar, Faye Dunaway, Matt LeBlanc, Terence Trent D'Arby and Chynna Phillips.


Critical receptionEdit

Into the Great Wide Open was warmly received by critics. Dave DiMartino, reviewing the album for Entertainment Weekly, said that the album was the closest "classic" album Petty and the band had made in 15 years, saying that the album was a return to their first two albums. He feels that this is due largely to Jeff Lynne and that the songs are better than the ones on Full Moon Fever.[5] Rolling Stone critic Parke Puterbaugh called the album a cross between Full Moon Fever and Damn the Torpedoes, said that it features Petty's best lyrics and that it is much better than Let Me Up (I've Had Enough).[12] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic was less impressed, saying that Into the Great Wide Open sounds too much like Full Moon Fever. He said that the album was "pleasant" but was not his best.[1] In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave the album a one-star honorable mention,[13] indicating "a worthy effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well like".[14]

"Attention, Cassette listeners ..."Edit

At the end of the cassette format of Side One, there is a brief spoken interlude by Tom Petty. It is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "Hello CD Listeners" interlude from Full Moon Fever, this time instructing cassette listeners on how to properly flip over their tape and prepare it for side 2.


The first single "Learning to Fly" was released prior to the album in June 1991, and was a big hit for Tom Petty. The second single, the title track, was released shortly after the album's release and is also one of the bands biggest hits. They were both top 10 singles on various charts.[15] The third single "Out in the Cold" was a minor hit, although it did not achieve the commercial success of the first two. Throughout 1992, four other singles were released; "Makin' Some Noise", "All Or Nothin'" "Too Good To Be True" and "King's Highway".[16]

Track listingEdit

All songs were written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, except where noted.

  1. "Learning to Fly" – 4:02
  2. "Kings Highway" (Petty) – 3:08
  3. "Into the Great Wide Open" – 3:43
  4. "Two Gunslingers" (Petty) – 3:09
  5. "The Dark of the Sun" – 3:23
  6. "All or Nothin'" (Petty, Mike Campbell, Lynne) – 4:07
  7. "All the Wrong Reasons" – 3:46
  8. "Too Good to Be True" (Petty) – 3:59
  9. "Out in the Cold" – 3:40
  10. "You and I Will Meet Again" (Petty) – 3:42
  11. "Makin Some Noise" (Petty, Campbell, Lynne) – 3:27
  12. "Built to Last" – 4:00


Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersEdit

  • Tom Petty – vocals, 6- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, percussion, producer
  • Mike Campbell – lead guitar, 12-string guitar, bass guitar, Dobro, keyboards, slide guitar
  • Howie Epstein – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Benmont Tench – acoustic and electric pianos, accordion
  • Stan Lynch – drums, percussion

Additional personnelEdit

  • Jeff Lynne – guitars, bass, vocals, piano, synthesizer, percussion, sound effects
  • Roger McGuinn – backing vocal on "All The Wrong Reasons"
  • Richard Tandy – synthesizer on "Two Gunslingers"



  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Into the Great Wide Open - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers". AllMusic. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  2. ^ "Tom Petty: Into the Great Wide Open". Blender. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (September 1, 1991). "Through The Years With Tom Petty". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (ed.) (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th edn). London: Omnibus Press. p. 2005. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b DiMartino, Dave (July 19, 1991). "Into the Great Wide Open Review". Entertainment Weekly (75). ISSN 1049-0434. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  6. ^ Cromelin, Richard (June 30, 1991). "SUMMER ALBUM ROUNDUP : A Wilbury's Further Travels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  7. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 870. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Into the Great Wide Open". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  9. ^ Schoemer, Karen (January 1, 1992). "The Pop Life; Top 12's, or So". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  10. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Full Moon Fever". People. 1991-12-08. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  11. ^ "Tom Petty / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Into the Great Wide Open CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Puterbaugh, Parke (July 11, 1991). "Into the Great Wide Open". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers". Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  15. ^ Into the Great Wide Open (song)
  16. ^ Tom Petty discography#Singles
  17. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  18. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  19. ^ "100 Albums (CDs & Cassettes)" (PHP). RPM. 54 (12). August 24, 1991. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  20. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open". (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  21. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  22. ^ "トム・ペティ&ザ・ハートブレイカーズ-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Into the Great Wide Open by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers] (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  23. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  24. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open". VG-lista. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  25. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Into the Great Wide Open -" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  27. ^ "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Artist: Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  28. ^ "Into the Great Wide Open – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  29. ^ "RPM 100 Albums (CDs & Cassettes) of 1991". RPM. December 21, 1991. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  30. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tom Petty – Into the Great Wide Open". Music Canada.
  31. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Tom Petty; 'Into the Great Wide Open')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  32. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  33. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Tom Petty; 'Into the Great Wide Open')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Tom Petty – Into the Great Wide Open". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Into the Great Wide Open in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  35. ^ "American album certifications – Tom Petty – Into the Great Wide Open". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.