'Love Is A Long Road': Tom Petty's song on the Grand Theft Auto VI trailer explained

6 December 2023, 15:22

Tom Petty’s 'Love Is A Long Road' in the Grand Theft Auto VI trailer

By Mayer Nissim

An album track (and UK B-side) gets a load of new ears on it after nearly 35 years.

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The wait for Grand Theft Auto VI has been a long, long one.

Despite umpteen spinoffs and expansions, the last "main" release in Rockstar Games' massive franchise was Grand Theft Auto V way back in 2013, so it'll be a full 12 years when the sequel finally lands in 2025.

The hype has been ongoing, and has shifted a gear into overdrive this week with the launch of the game's first trailer.

Fans of classic rock will immediately recognise the song soundtracking the spectacular promo – Tom Petty's 'Love is a Long Road'.

The song reads like it's about a tempestuous relationship, though it's been claimed it's about a motorbike. Either way, it's lyrics also feel well-suited to describe fans' eagerness for the game ("I would wait for the moon").

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1989
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1989. Picture: Getty Images

But where does Tom Petty's not-actually-a-hit come from?

'Love is a Long Road' featured on Full Moon Rising in 1989. After seven Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers albums, the record was Petty's first as a "solo" star, though many of his bandmates did pop by to lend a hand.

The album also featured contributions from Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and George Harrison – three of Petty's bandmates from supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.

Love Is A Long Road

So, heartbreaker Mike Campbell is all over the album, as is Lyne and drummer Phil Jones. Campbell even co-wrote 'Love is a Long Road' with Petty.

Also joining the fun on 'Love is a Long Road' is another Heartbreaker – Howie Epstein – with the bassist providing backing vocals. Filling out the sound is session drummer Jim Keltner.

Full Moon Fever went top ten in the UK, top five in the US and spawned the massive hit single 'I Won't Back Down'.

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - I Won't Back Down (Official Music Video)

Five of the album's 12 songs were released as singles, but for all its catchiness, 'Love is a Long Road' wasn't one of them.

Despite that, the song's appeal was obvious, and radio fell in love with it, propelling it to number 7 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.

And while it didn't lead a single anywhere in the world, here in the UK it was available as the flip-side of the 'Free Fallin'' single.

The Traveling Wilburys - Handle With Care (Official Video)

"Grand Theft Auto VI continues our efforts to push the limits of what’s possible in highly immersive, story-driven open-world experiences," said founder of Rockstar Games Sam Houser.

"We're thrilled to be able to share this new vision with players everywhere."

Here at Gold, we're looking forward to the soundtrack most of all.

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