Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well, the good ol' days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn

I'm learning to fly (learning to fly) but I ain't got wings (learning to fly)
Coming down (learning to fly) is the hardest thing (learning to fly)

Well, some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I've started out for God-knows-where
I guess I'll know when I get there

I'm learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up (learning to fly) must come down

I'm learning to fly (learning to fly), but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

I'm learning to fly (learning to fly), around the clouds
But what goes up (learning to fly) must come down

I'm learning to fly (learning to fly)
(Learning to fly) learning to fly
(Learning to fly)
(Learning to fly)
(Learning to fly)
(Learning to fly)

Lyrics submitted by oofus

Learning To Fly Lyrics as written by Tom Petty Jeff Lynne

Lyrics © Gone Gator Music, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave

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Learning to Fly song meanings
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  • +11
    General Commenti found an explination of this song in a book about tom petty

    "I think i was coming to grips with the view that you can be optimistic, hopeful and as good a person as you want to be, but its not going to make life simple for you. Nothing will. You can have all the success you want and its not going to make your life-really your personal life-much easier than anyone else's. The song was also influenced by the Gulf War. It was written during the time the war was breaking out, everything was very grey, and there were burning oceans and oil fires. I was disappointed by the war and the attitude of the American people. I certainly didn't blame the soldiers for going there, but I felt that few people wanted to challenge the Bush administration on its lies. It was a bad time and I really think it influenced the tone of the album(Into the Great Wide Open)."
    shed27on June 25, 2003   Link
  • +8
    My InterpretationProbably one of his most appealing songs of all time. This song basically states that although sometimes 'life' may beat you down, 'break' your heart and steal your crown we can all 'Learn to fly'. Despite anything and everything that has happened to me over the past ten years, two near fatal car accidents, two previous engagements both ended after each of the car crashes (where 'some say life will beat you down') I've been lucky to have managed to pull through all of these misfortunes and artists like Tom Petty have been such an inspiration to me during my months and years of recovery!
    Plonkaon December 15, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Commentuhhhh, i think you guys are trying to look for metaphors that arent there. This song isnt about drugs, or religion. Its simply about life. He's learning to fly, meaning, he is learning how to live. Coming down, like he gets hurt in different ways, but he still gets back up. And god damn, the most obvious part where it talks about life beating you down, HELLO! DOES ANYBODY HAVE A BRAIN? He finishes off by saying he doesnt know where he will end up, until he gets there. Damn i thought there were more smart people out there, guess not.
    vipergt196on June 06, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Commentdefinitely not about weed, "rocks may melt" probably about crack. Pot doesn't make you able to fly. unless you got some real expensive weed. love this song.
    drummerpenguinon March 06, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think the song is multilayered/ambigious,although inspired by him seeing a plane flying it's obviously still works on metaphor.Yes i'm aware there are strong drug references in it but it can also be read as a drug free song.It can be about life in general and its many hardships-losing things you know you can never get back like youth,a person you are in love with after a relationship,good health if you had an accident or illness....It's about acceptance of what is and embracing it and learning to deal with it cos sooner or later we all lose things/people we love be it through death/relationship breakup and just through general situation changes.
    billythepubon October 18, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about Tom's descent into heroin addiction. It was written early in the process, before he became a slave to it.
    Arcata1on August 03, 2021   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have never liked Petty's voice, but I've always liked this track. Obviously flying is not literal. It's about learning to fly (be independent, I suppose) and all the ups and downs that go along with being free. Sometimes you soar and other times you flop, but it's a great feeling to know that it's within you to either make the most of your life or die trying:)
    SweetCheeks2on February 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Lyric Correction"Well some say life will beat you down" should be, "The sensory life will beat you down."

    The song is about rising above the baser world and how no matter how hard you try there will always be times when you sink back down into it.
    Zenmervolton July 17, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song may be obvious, but i would say it is definetly about getting high. And thats about it.

    Cory_420on April 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is one of my favourite Tom Petty songs.

    definitely about weed. amen!
    roger wilcoon May 19, 2002   Link

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