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Did John Mayer Ruin Petty's "Free Fallin"?

Did John Mayer Ruin Petty's "Free Fallin"?

Last week's release of John Mayer's live performance at L.A.'s Nokia Theater included an acoustic cover of Tom Petty's classic song "Free Fallin," and at first I thought I would probably enjoy it. Because what's not to like? At first blush it sounds pretty, I already know the lyrics, etc.

But then I happened to hear the original version on the radio the other day and was reminded of how great it is, and I started to have sour feelings toward Mayer for laying his paws on such a classic. But then I thought, "Maybe it's just different and maybe that's OK." So, now I'm torn.

Take a listen for yourself and weigh in!


Join The Conversation
dabuzz dabuzz 8 years
I signed up just to comment on this question. First of all, I'm a huge Petty fan - but, Mayer completely blows Petty away on his remake of a Petty classic. His command of the acoustic guitar is remarkable and adds new depth and complexity that Petty never achieved.
valleydiva valleydiva 8 years
To be honest I haven't heard the original and maybe one day I'll get around to - but I love John's version to the point of adoration. His voice, the acoustics - love it all!
hellolover hellolover 9 years
Love the original, adore this version!
Rainey-4-Pres Rainey-4-Pres 9 years
i liked it so much, i added it to my myspace page, lol!
xopmzox xopmzox 9 years
i TOTALLY love mayer's version of the song! i bought it on itunes and i basically listen to it over and over. it's just so relaxing and chill it's great!
lexie4 lexie4 9 years
He didn't ruin it. It's great to listen two versions of the same song, both amazing.
rivrchild rivrchild 9 years
He did not ruin it at all. I love Tom Petty, and I will always love the original. But John's version gives me goosebumps and I've been listening to it constantly since I got my WTLI cd. I love his voice, and I love what he did with this song. It's so simple and pure, and the way he sings it gives the song a totally different feeling/meaning to me than the original. Both are great. It's too bad for the people who don't appreciate his music because they are missing a lot. I just saw him in concert last night, and no matter what people may think of him from what he does/says off stage, he is so, so generous and humble to his fans.
azbezzy azbezzy 9 years
i rather love it.
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
I loved it!!! I love the original, and John's is great. It's just his own personal, acoustic take on it which he pulls off quite nicely!!! :)
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
surprisingly like the Mayer version but Tom is still the winner!!
La-Rubia-Verano La-Rubia-Verano 9 years
Despite his pop lifestyle, John Mayer is a BRILLIANT musician.
ashleykins ashleykins 9 years
I couldn't even bother to hear over John's wacko faces.
Jatra Jatra 9 years
He totally sucked the life out of Tom's song. I love "Free Fallin" and just didn't cut it.
Audrey1974 Audrey1974 9 years
I love Tom Petty, and I love John Mayer. I love that John did it acoustic rather a full on cover. (Much as he did with The Police on his Any Given Thursday dvd.) He didn't make it better or worse, just different. His take on it is just more to the gut, and I think Tom Petty's is right at the heart. John's digs deeper, but that doesn't detract from Mr. Petty.
saraleann saraleann 9 years
It would be one thing if John Mayer didn't have a large number of original songs that he has written, but he does. He doesn't have to cover other artists' work, but he can. I like this version. Tom Petty's is better because it is the original and amazing without it ever being reworked. John Mayer covered "Message in a Bottle" by the Police and he didn't do an amazing job on that cover. He did better this time around.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
John Mayer did a wonderful version of Free Fallin; it's just a matter of what style music you prefer. Personally I like Mayer's version better however the orginal is also a classic.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
The verses in John Mayer's version were good, but I didn't like the chorus.
lmf271 lmf271 9 years
Of course Tom Petty is awesome but I love John Mayer and I think what he did with this song is prett amazing! Not ruined for me one bit it's completely acoustic what can be better :)
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
Ummm ... no way. Leave Tom Petty's stuff alone - you do quite well with your OWN stuff. But this ... this is just wrong, dude.
redsilkshoes redsilkshoes 9 years
I don't mind it at all.
ilikeatea ilikeatea 9 years
That was a nice spin on it. I always enjoy when artists do creative interpretations of classics (when done well...*ahem* not so much Avril's Knocking on Heaven's Door a while back.)
Cupcake0110 Cupcake0110 9 years
As a Mayer lover, I feel my opinion would be a little biased. But here goes anyway. To me the whole point of doing a cover is putting your own spin on it. Or else it's just a waste of time and money. It shouldn't be the same, is what I'm saying. And Mayer's version is also completely acoustic, so it could never have that "rock out" feel that Petty brought to the song. Petty's version was/is awesome. That goes without saying. But think about Mayer's version. My little sis, who has no idea who Tom Petty is loves Mayer's version on it's own. So she doesn't like it because it's a Tom Petty cover. She likes it because it's a good song. And I think that really highlights Mayer's artistic abilities.
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
Well, Mayer didn't "ruin", ruin the song, but he took an amazing Tom Petty song and turned it into an generic John Mayer song. I've never liked John Mayer, I think all his music sounds the same, and his version didn't excite/fill me in the same way Petty's does. Mayer is good at whatever it is that he does to sale concerts- but Petty was/is amazing. While covers/reworkings are fun, I don't agree with too many of the ones out there.. don't mess with my favorites, it hurts me. ha.
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
I thought it was a beautiful version, though obviously not as good as the original. As a musician, I love to hear other musician's takes on other musician's songs. To me, it is almost like paying homage to a great like Tom Petty. John Mayer probably loved that song, and wanted to show Petty respect by re-working in his own way. And, Petty probably feels flattered when someone takes his music and arranges it in a way that has meaning for that person. It shows that Petty's music has inspired them in some way, and isn't that what creating art and music is about?
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