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Revisit Stevie Nicks' tribute to Tom Petty with her cover of 'Free Fallin''

There is no denying that Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty are rock icons cut from the same cloth. From their flowing golden locks down to their crackling powerpack vocals and a shared ability to craft a singalong chorus more infectious than a chirp to a blackbird, the pair simply share a hand in glove musical kinship.  

It goes without saying, this cosmic similarity wasn’t lost on the pair either. Stevie Nicks was so enamoured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that she once asked to join the band, to which Petty famously replied: “Sorry, no girls allowed”. However, that did not stop a friendship from flourishing, one that was built on the solid foundations of love and mutual respect.

It might not have been a friendship entirely without its hitches, however, as Nicks very nearly ripped off ‘Runaway Trains’ after picking up a cassette from Petty’s house, accidentally believing it to be one of her own. However, for the most part, the two songsmiths shared an endearing bond. And what’s more, the very fact that both Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty were prone to leaving potential million-dollar singles casually tossed around the house is indicative of just how easy hit songs arrived their consciousness. 

Petty once even gave Nick’s what she would refer to as life-changing advice, as she later recalled: “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.'”

The advice that Nicks was given would result in her 2014 song ‘Hard Advice’, a thank-you note to Petty’s method of tough love that subsequently helped recapture her creative mojo. She also revealed: “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,” Nicks said. “That’s how well I know him.” Sadly, with Petty’s death, Nicks would be left without her de facto mentor and was set to take his advice with her wherever she went.

In 2019, while performing in Baltimore, Nicks took on Petty’s iconic track ‘Free Fallin” while touring with Fleetwood Mac. The homage is befittingly upbeat of brilliance that sees Nicks’ vocal style fit perfectly with the sanguine melody that her mentor crafted way back in 1989 with the help of Jeff Lynne. The song was Petty’s highest and longest-charting hit. 

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