Stevie Nicks talks about Tom Petty and the greatest advice he ever gave

Music 17/10/2017

Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty were friends for many years before he sadly died earlier this month.

After his unexpected death at the age of 66, Stevie stayed away from social media to grieve the loss of her good friend.

In an interview with Rolling Stone a week after Petty's death, Nicks talked about opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at London's Hyde Park in July.

Nicks performed Stop Draggin' My Heart Around from her 1981 debut solo album, Bella Donna, with some of the men who wrote it, Petty and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell.

"When I went into the dressing room before the Hyde Park show, it was me, the Heartbreakers, the Webb Sisters [Petty's backup singers], some other friends," she said. "We stood there and rehearsed it with [drummer] Steve Ferrone beating on the couch, everybody sort of humming their parts. Tom and Mike played guitar. Ron Blair dragged out a bass but didn't play it very loud because it wasn't plugged in. We went through it a couple of times. It was funny – you play a wrong chord, and everybody's eyes go straight up. We didn't know it as well as we thought we did."

Nicks first met Petty in 1978 and they've been friends ever since.

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," Petty said. "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."

Petty was always giving Stevie advice.

"He gave me a lot of advice about stuff," she said.

He was the kind of person who said, 'Here's my advice. If you take it, great. If you don't, that's fine too.'

"He was never going to shake a finger in your face and make you feel bad if you didn't take his advice."

In 1994, following her stint in rehab Petty and Nicks caught up for dinner and Petty offered some advice.

"I had a visitation from an old boyfriend, right after my rehab, and it had shaken me," Nicks recalled. "I asked Tom if he would help me write a song. And he said, "No. You are one of the premier songwriters of all time. You don't need me to write a song for you." He said, "Just go to your piano and write a good song. You can do that."

In her song 'Hard Advice' from her 2014 album 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault the chorus goes, 'Sometimes he's my best friend.' It was really "Sometimes Tom's my best friend." I changed it because I knew Tom would not want me to say his name," Nicks said. "That's how well I know him."

RIP Tom Petty.

Society of Rock