The connection between Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks was one that transcended the fact that they were simply two major artists in the 1970s and 1980s. The legendary rock stars were friends and collaborators, with the pair famously dueting on ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ in 1981. The pair would duet again on Petty’s ‘Insider’ and Nicks’ ‘I Will Run To You’.
Over the years, Nicks would become a frequent guest at Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers concerts, with Petty often lovingly referring to her as “The Heartbreakers’ little sister”. At one point during the ’80s, Nicks even asked to join The Heartbreakers during an especially tense period in Fleetwood Mac‘s notoriously torrid history, but Petty declined, telling her that there were “no girls in The Heartbreakers”.
Still, their relationship lasted until Petty’s final days. Nicks joined the band for the final time at The Heartbreakers’ 2017 concert in Hyde Park, just three months before Petty’s untimely death in October of that year. “The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart,” Nicks said as she accepted Fleetwood Mac’s 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year award. “He was not only a good man to go own the river with, as Johnny Cash said, he was a great father and he was a great friend, and he was one of my best friends. My heart will never get over this.”
“He was not well and he fought his way through that tour,” Nicks continued. “He should have cancelled, and he should have just gone home and … gone to the hospital. But not Tom. He was going to go down that river. God bless him. He finished his tour at the Hollywood Bowl – three shows – and one week later, he died. But he got down the river. So Tom, I know you’re standing next to me because you always have been for so many years.”
See Nicks pay tribute to Petty with a performance of ‘Free Fallin’ from a 2019 Fleetwood Mac concert, which also featured Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, down below.