‘Rock yourself into the stars’: Stevie Nicks doing it for Tom Petty

When Stevie Nicks closes the shows on her Australian tour with her 1981 hit Edge of Seventeen, it will hold a particularly special meaning for the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

“There was a whole verse written about Tom Petty that I never really referred to,” Nicks said.

Petty, who died in October, was a long-time friend and collaborator of Nicks and she credits him with helping her launch her solo career.

But it was a misheard conversation Nicks had with Petty’s wife Jane that inspired the song’s famous title.

“The verse ‘he was no more than a baby then, well he seemed broken hearted, something within him, but the moment that I first laid, eyes on him all alone, on the edge of seventeen’ that was about Tom,” Nicks says.

“Jane has a real Florida accent and she said something about him being around the age of 17 and I thought she said the edge of 17 and I just thought that was so poetic.

“She corrected me when I asked her about it, but I didn’t care. I kept it.”

Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty
(Scott Weiner)

Nicks said she would normally be spending this difficult time with Petty’s family and going through her grief privately, but wanted to fulfil her Australian tour commitments, mostly because it’s ‘what Tom would want’.

“I am going to be going over the loss of Tom while I am on this tour. Since he just died and I am actually here in my time when, under normal circumstances I would be with his family and going through my grief. But I am here in the arms of Australia and if I was going to be anywhere I want to be here,” Nicks said.

“Its going to be an interesting thing to perform Edge of Seventeen and all the other songs Tom was part of but he would not want me to change my show one little bit because of him. He would say ‘do your show exactly as you did it 55 times in the United States, rock yourself into the stars’.”

Nicks current Australian tour, which kicks off in Perth on November 2, is just two years after she was last here with her band Fleetwood Mac, and comes on the back of her 2014 solo album 24 Karat Gold.

“Honestly, after I delivered the album to the record label I didn’t listen to it again for almost two years because I had to go straight into rehearsals for the Fleetwood Mac tour,” Nicks said.

“So we did 110 shows on the first tour and then Chris (Former Fleetwod Mac songwriter Christine McVie) said she wanted to come back, so we did another 110 shows with her.

“When I got back I literally didn’t even take a day off, I went to my managers and said ‘I know it’s been 18 months since we released the album, let’s book a tour’.”

The original 28 show tour was extended to 55 dates and then an Australian leg of the tour was added.

Now, she admits, she is ready for some time off.

“This is the most successful tour I have ever done, so it is really worth it,” she said.

“I have a Fleetwood Mac show in January and then I am taking some time off to go to Hawaii.”

But she already has her eye on more touring as soon as she can after the holiday ends.

“You just have to,” she said. “Especially what has happened to me with Tom, you can’t take anything for granted, if you have music to play that you love, why not?

“I don’t want to not play Edge of Seventeen again.”

Stevie Nicks plays Perth Arena on November 2, Botanic Park, Adelaide on November 4, ICC Sydney Theatre on November 7 and 8, Bimbadgen, Hunter Valley on November 11, Sirromet Wines, Mt Cotton on November 12, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne on November 16 and Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley on November 18.

Tickets are available through livenation.com.au

Nathanael Cooper / WA Today / Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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Stevie Nicks, Stand Back 1981-2017, compilation

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