Stevie Nicks met fellow rock legend Tom Petty in the ’70s, and they’ve worked together multiple times since then, including on the 1981 Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers album Hard Promises and Nicks’ single from the same year, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Nicks shares some memories about her late friend, including standing side-stage with Shania Twain to watch Petty perform, and how the strong women in Petty’s life informed his songwriting.
She also spoke about the advice Petty gave her over the years, and how “he was never going to shake a finger in your face and make you feel bad if you didn’t take his advice.” Nicks recalled one time in 1994 when she had dinner with Petty at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix, shortly after a stint in rehab, and he refused to help her write a song:
“I had a visitation from an old boyfriend, right after my rehab, and it had shaken me. 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.’
When I walked out of the Ritz-Carlton, I had that feeling that he would be waiting to hear it. The song is called “Hard Advice.” It ended up on [Nicks’ 2014 album] 24 Karat Gold. 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. That’s how well I know him.”