The song Tom Petty struggled to sing and refused to give away

Tom Petty

Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks were two of the most influential figures to emerge in the 1970s. Both artists came from a profoundly American and folkish background.

The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman and The Heartbreakers’ lead singer first collaborated on the former’s debut solo album, Bella Donna, in 1981. This is the album that produced the classic track Edge of Seventeen and features the hit lead single ‘Stop Draggin‘ My Heart Around’ by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. The body of work was an excellent way for Nicks to begin her post-Fleetwood Mac career.

Interestingly, Nicks had planned to record another Petty song before realizing it was too good to give away. He made this difficult decision after working hard to improve his vocal performance.

Nicks explicitly wanted to emulate the sound of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers on her debut album. So it was only natural that she enlisted their leader for a song. Although she eventually released ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,’ it was ‘Insider’ that was initially considered for inclusion on the album.

Petty recalled the significance of ‘Insider’ at that point in his career in Zoe Howe’s book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours. He called it “one of my best songs up until that point.” It was fantastic.” During the recording, he realized he couldn’t give it up. And Nicks’s producer, Jimmy Iovine, reciprocated his feelings about the song.

Petty also stated that the song “hurt” him to sing. It implies that he felt a stronger connection to it than most of his other songs from this period because he poured so much of himself into it through pure struggle. “I remember bringing it to him. And he said, ‘God, when I asked for a song, I didn’t expect this!'” he explained. AI had a strong attachment to it. And it hurt me a lot when I did the track and the vocals.”

Petty did the right thing by revealing that he had told Nicks personally that he would be keeping track for himself. She understood where he was coming from out of respect for the Floridian. “And I said, [softly] ‘Stevie, I can’t give you this,’” he expressed. “And she said, ‘Well, I can relate to that. I completely understand. I’ll take something else.’”

Years later, in an interview with NPR, Petty recalled that both songs were released around the same time. It was an “awkward position” for him and The Heartbreakers. That was because many radio stations didn’t want two of his songs on the air at the same time. This made it more difficult for the band because one of their songs received what he described as an “extreme amount” of airplay.

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