Stevie Nicks originally wanted nothing to do with the Tom Petty song that launched her solo career

 Stevie Nicks joins American singer-songwriter and guitarist Tom Petty (1950-2017) onstage as his band, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
(Image credit: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

First impressions can be tricky business, especially when the wrong judgement can have the power to make or break an entire career. 

This was most certainly the case when Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks was first offered to duet on the Tom Petty track Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around for her 1981 debut album Bella Donna.

In the latest issue of Classic Rock, it’s revealed that Nicks actually originally wanted no part of the collaboration, on the basis that she wanted all the material on the album to be her own. However, it would be that song that Nicks would eventually credit the launch behind her successful solo career. 

In fact, Nicks stormed out the studio when producer/boyfriend Jimmy Iovine proposed the idea of recording the duet with Petty, but thankfully she had a change of heart. Revealing the moment she returned into the studio to agree to the definitive collaboration, she admits, “‘Okay, you’re absolutely right. I’m sorry for being so bitchy about this, it’s just that I’m so protective of my songs.’ And because of that song, I have a solo career to this day.”

Tom Petty initially wasn't too thrilled about the duet either, as he had plans to re-cut the track, rather than keeping the original. He said, "He [Iovine] plays me Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, the same track, with her singing. I go: ‘Jimmy, you just took the song?...His comeback was, like: ‘This is gonna buy you a house.’"

"But it pissed me off because it came out at the same time as our single [A Woman In Love], and I think ours suffered.”

In another questionable moment of judgement, it's revealed that Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Trench, the 'musicial director' of Bella Donna, wasn't exactly a fan of Nicks on their first meeting when his band backed her on the recording of Outside The Rain. He says “I had seen Fleetwood Mac play, and with Stevie I just didn’t get it. I didn’t know what was going on with the top hat and the twirling and the witchy stuff”.

But again, discernments were revised, and Tench ended up working with Stevie Nicks on her first album. The change in judgement came about when he decided to go out and buy a Fleetwood Mac record. He explains, “But then I bought the single to Go Your Own Way and flipped it over, and there’s Silver Springs. Good Lord, what a song.”

“The second I heard that, I went: ‘Now I get it. That’s Stevie. She’s not faking. She’s for real. She’s not a poser in the least. She’s a creative perpetual-motion machine. This is somebody I’d really love to play music with.’”

Stevie Nicks would go on to form a lifelong friendship with Petty, eventually dubbing her a "honorary heartbreaker". They last played together in 2017, when Nicks joined Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on stage for British Summer Time in London's Hyde Park.

For the full interview, pick up the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which hits the shops (and online) on April 29.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.