Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tom Petty. It was released in July 1989 as the second single from his first solo album Full Moon Fever. The song surprisingly only reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, but I remember it quite well and that might be because of its cool music video.
The music video for "Runnin' Down a Dream" was directed by Jim Lenahan. He had previously worked with Petty on several videos including the duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" he did with Stevie Nicks in 1981. The video was animated by Pittsburgh-based companies Allan & Wilson Animation Studio and Anivision Ltd. It featured animation inspired by a comic strip called Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay which originally ran from 1905-1927. The video is done in black and white but includes a drawing style reminiscent of the comics depicting Tom Petty and a character who resembles the rascal clown Flip from the comics travelling through Slumberland complete with a flying bed. In the comics, each strip told the story of one of Nemo's dreams, and at the end, he always woke up. For the video, it starts and ends with a live action Tom Petty opening and closing a book, but the rest is animated. Enjoy the music video for "Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tom Petty...
In addition to paying tribute to the Little Nemo comic, the video also briefly acknowledges the 1933 film King Kong when it shows Petty on top of the Chrysler Building attempting to swat at attacking oversized mosquitoes. Even though this was considered a solo hit for Tom Petty and Petty is the only one featured in the video, it was co-written by Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell (who also plays on the track) along with Jeff Lynne (formerly of ELO) who also plays bass and keyboard.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!