stevie nicks

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Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty
If Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers had said “leave Fleetwood Mac and come and join us,” I probably would have joined Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. — Stevie Nicks
Stevie came to me around ‘78. And she was this absolutely stoned-gone huge fan. And it was her mission in life that I should write her a song. And we were a little wary of Stevie. We didn’t quite know whether to like Stevie or not, because we kind of saw this big corporate rock band, Fleetwood Mac, which was wrong, they were actually artistic people. But in those days, nobody trusted that sort of thing and we just kept thinking, “What does she want from us?” And then, of course, she turned into one of my great, great friends forever. But Stevie was really adamant about me writing her a song. — Tom Petty
Stevie Nicks always joked that if she had the opportunity to join one band, it would have been The Heartbreakers. The result of Nicks and Petty’s friendship is a handful of absolutely fantastic tracks.

Petty initially wrote “Insider” for Nicks, but ended up falling hard for the song and kept it for himself, releasing it on 1981’s Hard Promises (which is named after a lyric from the track) with Nicks supplying the harmonies. Petty made up for that snub with "Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around," one of the all-time great rock ‘n’ roll duets, released on Nicks’ 1981 solo album, Bella Donna. Petty wrote another track for Nicks, "I Will Run To You,” which she released on her follow-up, 1983’s Wild Heart.
My personal favorite though is a demo version of Petty’s playful Full Moon Fever ditty, "Apartment Song." Nicks stopped by one day, liked the song, they had a few drinks, and cut the vocals over a single take. Her harmonies really are tremendous here: playful, raw, and powerful. That vibrato she lays down on the line “I’m okay most of the time” is out of this world. Unfortunately, Petty opted to release the version without Nicks, and relegated her contribution to the eventual Playback boxset. 
Nicks also appears on The Heartbreakers’ live album Pack Up The Plantation to perform “Insider” and the mid 1960s Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche song, “Needles and Pins.” She’s performed several Petty songs herself in concert over the years, including “I Need To Know” as far back as 1981. Below, check out Nicks taking the lead on “I Need To Know” with The Heartbreakers at Bonnaroo in 2006.

Lastly, I leave you with “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” a song that both features Nicks on backup harmony and was inspired by her.  
Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, in town to write songs for Nicks and other musicians, went to a party at Nicks’ house the night after she had broken up with Joe Walsh of The James Gang and Eagles. According to Stewart, when all the partygoers disappeared to do coke in a bathroom, he went upstairs to bed. He awoke early the next morning to find Nicks in his room trying on Victorian clothing. In a Howard Stern interview, he related the scene to something out of Alice in Wonderland. Later that morning, he heard Nicks tell Walsh, “Don’t come around here no more.”
Stewart wrote the song and initially attempted to have Nicks record it, but after tensions with producer Jimmy Iovine (another former lover of Nicks) boiled over, Iovine passed it on to Petty. High-res

Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty

If Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers had said “leave Fleetwood Mac and come and join us,” I probably would have joined Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. — Stevie Nicks

Stevie came to me around ‘78. And she was this absolutely stoned-gone huge fan. And it was her mission in life that I should write her a song. And we were a little wary of Stevie. We didn’t quite know whether to like Stevie or not, because we kind of saw this big corporate rock band, Fleetwood Mac, which was wrong, they were actually artistic people. But in those days, nobody trusted that sort of thing and we just kept thinking, “What does she want from us?” And then, of course, she turned into one of my great, great friends forever. But Stevie was really adamant about me writing her a song. — Tom Petty

Stevie Nicks always joked that if she had the opportunity to join one band, it would have been The Heartbreakers. The result of Nicks and Petty’s friendship is a handful of absolutely fantastic tracks.

Petty initially wrote “Insider” for Nicks, but ended up falling hard for the song and kept it for himself, releasing it on 1981’s Hard Promises (which is named after a lyric from the track) with Nicks supplying the harmonies. Petty made up for that snub with "Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around," one of the all-time great rock ‘n’ roll duets, released on Nicks’ 1981 solo album, Bella Donna. Petty wrote another track for Nicks, "I Will Run To You,” which she released on her follow-up, 1983’s Wild Heart.

My personal favorite though is a demo version of Petty’s playful Full Moon Fever ditty, "Apartment Song." Nicks stopped by one day, liked the song, they had a few drinks, and cut the vocals over a single take. Her harmonies really are tremendous here: playful, raw, and powerful. That vibrato she lays down on the line “I’m okay most of the time” is out of this world. Unfortunately, Petty opted to release the version without Nicks, and relegated her contribution to the eventual Playback boxset. 

Nicks also appears on The Heartbreakers’ live album Pack Up The Plantation to perform “Insider” and the mid 1960s Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche song, “Needles and Pins.” She’s performed several Petty songs herself in concert over the years, including “I Need To Know” as far back as 1981. Below, check out Nicks taking the lead on “I Need To Know” with The Heartbreakers at Bonnaroo in 2006.

Lastly, I leave you with Don’t Come Around Here No More,” a song that both features Nicks on backup harmony and was inspired by her.  

Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, in town to write songs for Nicks and other musicians, went to a party at Nicks’ house the night after she had broken up with Joe Walsh of The James Gang and Eagles. According to Stewart, when all the partygoers disappeared to do coke in a bathroom, he went upstairs to bed. He awoke early the next morning to find Nicks in his room trying on Victorian clothing. In a Howard Stern interview, he related the scene to something out of Alice in Wonderland. Later that morning, he heard Nicks tell Walsh, “Don’t come around here no more.”

Stewart wrote the song and initially attempted to have Nicks record it, but after tensions with producer Jimmy Iovine (another former lover of Nicks) boiled over, Iovine passed it on to Petty.

Tom Petty: The Hair
"I got my ass kicked a lot because of my hair—threatened all the time. I remember driving on the interstate, pulling into truck stops. Our band would walk in, and the whole room would laugh. Some of them plain-ass wouldn’t serve you: ‘You gotta leave.’"
"One time, our van broke down. We pushed it into a gas station, and they made us push it off, just because we looked the way we did."
"The shit I went through — there were probably four or five guys in all of Gainesville with long hair in 1964. I got booted out of school so many times, told to get a haircut before I came back — all that furor if your hair came down over your ears a bit or was kind of thick in the back." — Tom Petty, as told to Rolling Stone in 2009.
Just like his music, there’s something very inclusive and charming about Thomas Earl Petty’s sun-kissed golden locks. You really can’t talk about Tom without mentioning the hair that has ‘mass appeal’ written all over it. Being both a native Floridian and adopted Californian, Petty (depending on the period) settled remarkably effortlessly into the backwoods hillbilly, acid-dropping hippie, clean cut no-nonsense American, and stoned-out-of-his-gourd surfer looks. There were a few missteps along the way (see: futuristic cowboy and mad hatter), but there were also sublime moments of true hall-of-fame hair glory (this feathery 1980s blow dried do probably made Stevie Nicks very proud).  High-res

Tom Petty: The Hair

"I got my ass kicked a lot because of my hair—threatened all the time. I remember driving on the interstate, pulling into truck stops. Our band would walk in, and the whole room would laugh. Some of them plain-ass wouldn’t serve you: ‘You gotta leave.’"

"One time, our van broke down. We pushed it into a gas station, and they made us push it off, just because we looked the way we did."

"The shit I went through — there were probably four or five guys in all of Gainesville with long hair in 1964. I got booted out of school so many times, told to get a haircut before I came back — all that furor if your hair came down over your ears a bit or was kind of thick in the back." — Tom Petty, as told to Rolling Stone in 2009.

Just like his music, there’s something very inclusive and charming about Thomas Earl Petty’s sun-kissed golden locks. You really can’t talk about Tom without mentioning the hair that has ‘mass appeal’ written all over it. Being both a native Floridian and adopted Californian, Petty (depending on the period) settled remarkably effortlessly into the backwoods hillbilly, acid-dropping hippie, clean cut no-nonsense American, and stoned-out-of-his-gourd surfer looks. There were a few missteps along the way (see: futuristic cowboy and mad hatter), but there were also sublime moments of true hall-of-fame hair glory (this feathery 1980s blow dried do probably made Stevie Nicks very proud). 

And that’s all!

I want to say thank you to Hendrik for letting me run wild with this thing.  Thank you to Dave for helping me figure it all out, and Isabel for the read.  I relied so much on Stevie Nicks in Her Own Words, The Nicks Fix, and The Ledge to help me dig up details and photos and quotes — if I’ve succeeded in getting you to love Stevie like I love Stevie, you’ll want to check those out, too.  And thanks to everyone who read, liked, reblogged, and replied with cool thoughts and kind words.  It’s been an amazing week.

I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Stevie Nicks is a queen, a witch, a dragon; she’s in control. Stevie Nicks is there for us.

I told you yesterday about this thing that happens, where men decide what’s cool, what’s smart, what’s better, and at the top of the list is them and the things they like, and at the bottom is young women, and the things young women want to talk about.  And at the bottom is Stevie Nicks.

They brush her off the way women are always brushed off.  Too emotional.  Too dramatic.  Talks too much about love, and about things that aren’t real.  She doesn’t play an instrument, doesn’t really make music — fuck a woman’s voice, a woman’s voice isn’t important.  She’s too full of herself.  Too concerned about whether she’s pretty, too willing to call herself a star.  Too convinced that the men in her life love her.  And her fans.  They’re obsessed.  They’re delusional.  They’re crazy.  They’re girls.

Stevie Nicks was the first woman I ever heard say she had chosen not to have children because she cared more about her career.  The first I ever heard talk about it honestly — depending on the day, she might tell you she made that choice gladly, or she might tell you she still wonders what if.  The first that ever warned me men might not like it if there are things more important to me than they are.  The first that ever said that that was fine: sometimes, you have to leave them behind.  

When you grow up as a girl, the world tells you the things that you are supposed to be: emotional, loving, beautiful, wanted.  And then when you are those things, the world tells you they are inferior: illogical, weak, vain, empty.  The world teaches you that the way you exist in it is disgusting — you watch boys cringe backward in your dorm room when you talk about your period, blue water pretending to be blood in a maxi pad commercial.  It is little things, and it is constant.  In a food court in a mall, after you go to the gynecologist for the first time, you and your friend talk about how much it hurts, and over her shoulder you watch two boys your age turn to look at you and wrinkle their noses: the reality of your life is impolite to talk about.  The world says that you don’t have a right to the space you occupy, any place with men in it is not yours, you and your body exist only as far as what men want to do with it.  At fifteen, you find fifteen-year-old boys you have never met somehow believe you should bend your body to their will.  At almost thirty, you find fifteen-year-old boys you have never met still somehow believe you should bend your body to their will.  They are children.  They are children.

It isn’t just you: other girls are stared at.  Other girls are groped.  Other girls hear what the world is telling them.  

Stevie Nicks surrounds herself with girls.  Wherever she goes, she brings girls.  “I can’t imagine you in a bathing suit,” someone says in an interview for Rolling Stone, when Stevie says she likes to play in the pool in her backyard.  “Yeah, well, you never will,” Stevie says.  “And there is never — ever — a man in the backyard. If there is, he is banished to the front of the house.”  Men don’t get to look at Stevie Nicks unless Stevie Nicks wants men to look at Stevie Nicks.  

In her songs, sometimes, love is actually a competition — a race that she wants to win.  She is a queen, she is a witch, she is a dragon, she is in control.  Even when she’s talking about how she has to change, she proclaims her power, her ability, her worth.  Time cast its spell on you, but you won’t forget me.  I know I could have loved you, but you would not let me.  I need you because you let me breathe, well you’ve taken me away.  But never take me lightly, for I could never stay.  I’m not a child anymore, I’m tall enough to reach for the stars.  But if I was a child, then a child was enough.  She’s the vine, but she’s also the flower.  She knows it.

She talks about how hard it is to get old.  How hard it is to not be valued the way you were valued when you were young.  How much it sucks when a photographer tells you to take your shirt off.  She talks about cramps, and hot flashes, and how shitty it is.  She isn’t polite.  She’s competitive.  She’s bossy.  She claimed all the things the men around her claimed — she spent as much money as they spent, had as much sex as they had, was as reckless as they were, stood at the front of the same stage — and never questioned that that was her right.  I didn’t know until recently that she ever even thought about the fact that they might treat her like she was less.  She didn’t show it.

But what I love, what I love, is she does it without ever giving in to the men that dismiss her.  She’s emotional.  She’s dramatic.  She raises her voice as much as she can.  She thinks she’s pretty, she thinks she’s a star, and when her fans crowd up to the edge of the stage, crazy, she welcomes them, with open arms.  She revels in it.  She revels in it.  She’s too much of a girl for you?  She revels in it.

I love Stevie Nicks.  I love that the world tells us women are there for men, but despite all the boyfriends and the jokes about how she’s so easy and the sex-symbol status, she isn’t there for men at all.  She’s there for us.

Stevie Nicks, “Gold Dust Woman,” live with Bob Welch and friends, 1981.

There are a few copies of this on YouTube, but this one is the Featured Video alongside a live version of Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly.”  It sits up at the top of the page with the title “Stevie Nicks wearing a mini-skirt, performing Gold Dust Woman with Bob Welch.”  The summary from the uploader: “A very special, and rare, performance of Stevie Nicks performing her Fleetwood Mac classic ‘Gold Dust Woman.’ It’s rare, not because she’s a guest at Bob Welch concert, but because she’s wearing a short skirt.” 

Among the 225 comments (the other copies of this only have a handful of comments each): “She’s so pretty. I love her hair. And the skirt is charming. And she can SING.”  “Stevie was such a babe — and what a voice!”  “How has this not gotten 50 million views?  As soon as I saw ‘Stevie Nicks in mini skirt’ I came running. Of course she’s a great talent, but you had me at ‘miniskirt.’”  “Jesus she’s sexy.”

"I was very selfish and was not willing to give up my art for a family and a husband. Now, at this point in my life, I am really glad, because I see so many of the people that did get married and did have relationships—they’re all divorced, they’re all miserable, their children are miserable, and it’s like I’m thinking to myself: ‘You made the right decision.’  I guess for me, as a woman, there was nobody who would tolerate my lifestyle. […] At some point or another, my life was too much for ALL of them. They started to make demands. Like, ‘Where are you going? And what do you mean you’re coming home from your tour but you’re stopping over in England for a month?’  That kind of thing doesn’t go over well. The long black limousine drives up the long path to your house to pick you up and your boyfriend is waving goodbye to you. It’s never fun to be left. It wouldn’t be for me."
- Stevie Nicks, Vice, 2006

"Nicks ‘pretty much sold my soul to the devil a long time ago’, as she puts it, so that ‘I could follow this dream fully and completely, and not be wrapped up in children and husbands and boyfriends and all of that. I chose not to have children.’"
- The Telegraph, 2007

"I don’t really need children. […]  I’m gonna just work on my work. I don’t think the world is going to have that much of a problem with me not being married or having a family. I don’t think that’s why I came here. I have something that’s really important to do, and I don’t think I’ve done that yet."
- Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, 1998