The Wild Heart @ 30: ‘First he took my heart then he ran’

We lived in two different worlds," says Nicks about her relationship with Prince. "That’s when I was totally a drug addict and Prince is the other side of drug addict."

Kicking off side two of The Wild Heart is Stevie Nicks’ massive hit “Stand Back.” Though it’s not her highest charting single (that honor goes to “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which peaked at number three in 1981), “Stand Back” is clearly her most recognizable solo hit, having been performed on every solo and Fleetwood Mac tour (that Nicks has been a part of) since the song’s release in 1983.

Kicking off Side 2 of The Wild Heart is Stevie Nicks’ massive hit “Stand Back.” Though it’s not her highest charting single (that honor goes to “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which peaked at No. 3 in 1981), “Stand Back” is clearly her most recognizable solo hit, having been performed on every solo tour and almost every Fleetwood Mac tour (that Nicks has been a part of) since the song’s release in 1983. (Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” is another song that has been performed on every tour since its release.)

The story of “Stand Back” is now legendary among fans, but few know that, musically, the song was actually inspired by the opening chord progression of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” — not the entire song.

‘Little Red Corvette’

“Right after I got married, I heard this wonderful song Prince had done called ‘Little Red Corvette,'” Nicks said in 1983, “And as soon as I heard it I went, ‘Boy, I love that.’ And I just started humming to myself, and in a matter of minutes, I had hummed along a very different melody than what Prince had done. Anyway, me being one of the more honest people you’ll ever meet, I immediately call Prince and tell him what I had written and how and he, against everybody’s thinking he wouldn’t, came down and played on this song! My intuitions are usually right and since he told me he was doing the video of ‘Little Red Corvette’ that day, and since I know videos and films always take a lot longer than anybody thinks, I didn’t think he’d show up. But [songwriter/musician] Sandy [Stewart] and I rushed to the studio anyway, thinking ‘what if he comes, what are we going to show him. We’ll both get out there live and try to play the song for him and start to giggle,’ right? I mean, no chance. So under pressure of fire, we did it in one take, one time, and that’s what you hear; me singing live, Sandy on her synthesizer, Prince playing that dahdahdahdahdah, very kind of ‘Edge of Seventeen’ thing, and a drum machine.

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Between then and now, Steve Lukather put an incredible guitar solo in the middle and David Williams, who played all over [Michael Jackson’s] ‘Billie Jean Is Not My Lover,’ played on this. Anyway, ‘Stand Back’ become a real anthem, a real ‘I’m tired of listening to all your great advice, ’cause it’s gotten me nowhere, so I’m listening to myself now kind of anthem.’ So it came slightly out of strength, slightly out of being in love, slightly out of being married, and ever so slightly out of hearing the first three chords of ‘Little Red Corvette!'”

‘My favorite song onstage’

“[‘Little Red Corvette’] just gave me an incredible idea,” Nicks said in 1991, “So I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs. I’ve been doing this song for years. Fleetwood Mac does it also, and I never get tired of it. ‘Stand Back’ has always been my favorite song onstage because when it starts, it has an energy that comes from somewhere unknown, and it seems to have no timespace. I’ve never quite understood this sound, but I have never questioned it. I become a different person, and I like that, because usually I make up my own characters, but the lady in ‘Stand Back’ was not my idea. By the way, Prince did come into the studio the night I called him and told him about this song, and he played incredible synthesizer on it. And then he just walked out of my life, and I didn’t see him for a long time. It was extraordinary.”

Stand Back 1983

Musicians

OBX-A & DMX drum machine programming: David Bluefield
Drums: Marvin Caruso
Percussion: Bobbye Hall
Drum overdubs: Russ Kunkel
Guitar: Steve Lukather
Synthesizer, guitar: Prince (uncredited)
Synthesizer: Sandy Stewart
Guitar: Waddy Wachtel
Percussion: Ian Wallace
Guitar: David Williams
Background vocals: Sharon Celani & Lori Perry

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Recorded at Studio 55, Los Angeles.

Billboard charts

Pop Singles: 5
Mainstream Rock: 2 (June 4, 1983)

Main version

Scarlett version

Stand Back (Instrumental)

Stand Back, US Festival 1983 (overdub)

[soundcloud url=”https://soundcloud.com/scottrek67/stand-back-stevie-nicks-live” params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

VIDEO: Stand Back – The Prince Connection (2009)

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Lyrics

No one looked as I walked by
Just an invitation would have been just fine
Said no to him again and again
First he took my heart then he ran

No one knows how I feel
What I say unless you read between my lines
One man walked away from me
First he took my hand
Take me home

Stand back, stand back
In the middle of my room
I did not hear from you
It’s alright, it’s alright
To be standing in a line
(Standing in a line)
To be standing in a line
I would cry

La, la, la-la, la, la, la, la-la, la-la…
La, la, la la-la, la…

Do not turn away my friend
Like a willow I can bend
No man called my name
No man came

So I walked slow down away from you
Maybe your attention was more than you could do
One man did not call
He asked me for my love
That was all

Stand back, stand back
In the middle of my room
I did not hear from you
It’s alright, it’s alright
To be standing in a line
(Standing in a line)
To be standing in a line
I would cry

La, la, la-la, la, la, la, la, la…
La, la…
La, la, la-la la, la, la…
Ju-ju, ju-ju!
Oh…
La, la, la-la, la, la, la, la, la…
Da-da-da-da…
La, la, la-la, la…
Wa-ah!

So I walked on down the line away from you
Maybe your attention was more than I could do
One man did not fall
Well, he asked me for my love
That was all

Stand back, stand back
In the middle of my room
I did not hear from you
It’s alright, it’s alright
To be standing in a line
(Standing in a line)
To be standing in a line
I would cry

Feel I need a little sympathy
Well, I need a little sympathy
(Cry…)
Well, I need a little sympathy

Well, you could be standing in
(Stand back)
Well, you could be standing in
(Stand back)
Well, you could standing in
(Stand Back)

Take me home
Take home
(Stand back)
Why don’t you take me home

Well, I need a little sympathy
(Stand back)
Well, you could be standing in
(Stand back)
Why don’t you take…
(Me home)

Why don’t you take me home
(Stand back)
Take me home
(It’s alright)
Take me home
(It’s alright)
Oh, yeah…
Take me home

(Stevie Nicks/Prince Rogers Nelson)
© 1983 Welsh Witch Music (BMI) / Admin. by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI) / Controversy Music (ASCAP)

BONUS: Unreleased Stevie Nicks/Prince demo ‘All over You’

References

Modern Records. (1983). Stevie Nicks: The Wild Heart [Press release].
Nicks, S. (1991). [Liner notes]. Timespace: The best of Stevie Nicks [CD].

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