Into The Great Wide Open

Album: Into The Great Wide Open (1991)
Charted: 92
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • "'Into The Great Wide Open' had a lot of dark humor," Tom Petty told Mojo in 2009.

    The song tells the story of a guy named Eddie who moves to Los Angeles, meets a girl and becomes a rock star. On their journey, there is struggle, but always possibility, as the future is wide open. Eddie plays from the heart, and it pays off with a record deal and a hit. But once he's achieved his dream, the sky is no longer the limit, as his A&R man spouts that industry cliché, "I don't hear a single."

    Petty, who knows a thing or two about record company machinations, leaves it to the listener to decide what happens next. There's a good chance it doesn't go so well for Eddie.
  • In the music video, Johnny Depp stars as Eddie. It was directed by Julien Temple and also features Faye Dunaway as Eddie's manager, Gabrielle Anwar as his girlfriend, and appearances by Matt LeBlanc, Terence Trent D'Arby and Chynna Phillips. As in many of his videos, Tom Petty opens the book to reveal the story. In this one, Petty also plays the roadie Bart, the tattoo artist, and the reporter.

    In the video, Eddie becomes a boorish narcissist, and his career tanks. Dropped by his label, he goes into the same tattoo parlor where he started, and sees himself inking up a newcomer (LeBlanc).
  • This was the first music video in which Johnny Depp starred. He was a big deal at the time (it was after Edward Scissorhands but before What's Eating Gilbert Grape), and Petty remarked, "I never met so many women in my life as when we had Johnny Depp in this video."

    Depp later featured in videos for Lemonheads ("It's A Shame About Ray"), Johnny Cash ("God's Gonna Cut You Down") and Alice Cooper ("I'll Bite Your Face Off"). He also played guitar on songs by a number of high-profile artists, including Oasis ("Fade In-Out"), Patti Smith ("Banga") and Paul McCartney ("My Valentine").
  • This was used in the 2013 Family Guy episode "12 and a Half Angry Men."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Chris from Germany Great song and great video. The video is a masterpiece and had a lot of airplay in 1991. On both the US and the UK. it is a very long Video but really funny and awesome. So many celebrities. Faye Dunaway, Johnny Depp and the guy from Friends at the end. Faye Dunaway worked on at least two movie projects with Johnny Depp. Even Tom Petty is in this story playing the roadie haha.

    I wonder why this song reached only #92 on the Hot 100. In Germany it reached only a low position but it spent more than 16 weeks on the Top 100. And the song is still being played on German radio.
see more comments

Benny MardonesSongwriter Interviews

His song "Into The Night" is one of the most-played of all time. For Benny, it took him to hell and back.

Jimmy WebbSongwriter Interviews

Webb talks about his classic songs "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park."

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?

Hawksley WorkmanSongwriter Interviews

One of Canada's most popular and eclectic performers, Hawksley tells stories about his oldest songs, his plentiful side projects, and the ways that he keeps his songwriting fresh.