During a turbulent period in Stevie Nicks’ life, Tom Petty and the Fleetwood Mac vocalist became friends. Nicks would have liked to join The Heartbreakers as a solo artist, but since that wasn’t an option, she set out to penetrate their inner circle instead, and she was a resounding success.
Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks had a special friendship that spanned over four decades. The two first met in the mid-1970s and quickly became close friends, often collaborating on music together.
According to Jimmy Iovine, who collaborated with Petty on his third album, Damn The Torpedoes, their paths first crossed in 1981, and they remained close after that. Nicks realized that was the model she wanted to follow when she decided to record music independently of Fleetwood Mac and accordingly enlisted Iovine for her debut. Stevie Nicks even briefly dated the producer, which paved the road for her to have a strong relationship with Petty. Nicks had to hide her youthful joy when the Americana superstar would frequently visit the studio while she was working on Bella Donna.
The album’s main track, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” was actually written by Petty, giving Nicks her biggest hit outside of Fleetwood Mac. The two artists frequently performed together over the years, with their farewell show taking place in 2017 in front of 60,000 spectators in London’s Hyde Park.
In front of jubilant crowds in London’s Hyde Park, Petty and Nicks gave a performance to remember, interacting with one another as only close friends and collaborators can, with Nicks even shouting out at one point, “You know that Tom Petty is my favorite rock star!”
She also talked about her love for Petty in Petty: The Biography. She said, “I just fell in love with his music and his band. I would laughingly say to anyone that if I ever got to know Tom Petty and could worm my way into his good graces, if he were ever to ask me to leave Fleetwood Mac and join Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I’d probably do it — and that was before I even met him.”
She eventually got to know him, and her affection only grew. His passing still bothers Nicks to this day, so she made sure to honor her late buddy during her address at the 2018 MusiCares Awards. She said, “The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart. He was not only a good man to go own the river with, as Johnny Cash said, he was a great father, and he was a great friend, and he was one of my best friends. My heart will never get over this.”
This is them performing together for the last time.