Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty were very successful musicians who were very close friends. They were also two highly proud people, especially when it came to their music. Like any other artist, they would never stand for anyone insulting their work, no matter the relationship.
Nicks refused to make an exception when Petty made the insults. During a conversation about music styles, Petty commented about Nicks and Fleetwood Mac’s style of music. Nicks took it as an insult.
She was immediately furious with her friend about what he said, and it caused a rift between the two stars. Petty spoke about the incident during an interview for a biography of Nicks. Read on to find out what exactly he said that was so offensive.
Nicks Was A Big Fan Of Petty
When Nicks began working on her solo career, she reached out to Petty and expressed that she wanted him to write a song for her. Everyone who knew her knew she was a big fan of his music, and she had previously said that she might have left Fleetwood Mac if she got the opportunity to join the Heartbreakers.
According to the American Songwriter, Petty said in the book “Conversations with Tom Petty” that Nicks “was this absolutely stoned-gone, huge fan and it was her mission in life that I should write her a song.” However, Petty saw her as a corporate songwriter and wasn’t open to her.
In “Petty: The Biography,” he said, “We weren’t really welcoming to her. It wasn’t like she received a lot of warmth. We weren’t impressed by superstars — it just wasn’t our nature.”
Nicks was determined to get her song from Petty despite the frosty treatment, and she eventually won him over. In the biography, he also said, “She came into my life like a rocket, just refusing to go away.”
Petty And Nicks Argued Because Of Music Styles
Petty and Nicks eventually became very close friends, and like all friends, they had their disagreements and arguments. Shortly after she released her third solo album, titled Rock a Little, Nicks decided to hop on Petty’s Australia tour to support her friend. It was during one of the tour nights that they argued.
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According to the book “Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks” by Stephen Davis, Petty said, “She got really mad at me one night in Australia.” The pair were discussing music styles, and Petty made it clear that he thought Fleetwood Mac produced corporate soft rock.
In his eyes, the Heartbreakers were a true rock and roll band, while Fleetwood Mac was a soft rock band with music that was lesser than true rock and roll. His comment infuriated Nicks, who reportedly said, “How dare you say that to me?”
They Had A Debate Over His Statement
After Nicks became offended by his statement, the two friends had a long debate about how a band can claim to be a true rock and roll band. Petty said, “I love that band, have the greatest respect for Lindsey and Mick, but I didn’t see them as a rock & roll band. I thought her journey was different than mine.”
“I didn’t always agree with her musical taste, and she didn’t always agree with mine. My frustration with her was, ‘You need somebody to remind you what you’re capable of. You get too easily distracted by bulls****ers that want to make a hit. I don’t know why you’re doing all this synthesizer rock.’”
By using the term “synthesizer rock,” Petty was referencing and insulting Nicks’s album, Rock a Little, and the music style of the songs in it. His comments affected their relationship because Nicks didn’t take it lightly, but they soon reconciled.
Nicks Also Clashed With Australian Officials During Petty’s Tour
During the Australian tour, Nicks was also nearly permanently banned from Australia. She didn’t have a work permit and, as such, wasn’t allowed to perform on stage with Petty, Bob Dylan, and the other artists.
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However, during one performance, she couldn’t resist and joined them to sing “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” She later said to the Daily Mail, “I was told by the Australian government I would never be allowed back in the country, not with Fleetwood Mac, not by myself as a solo artist, not as a tourist if I did that again.”