Tom Petty had a unique connection with Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks. The two crossed paths in the late 1970s as both the Mac and the Heartbreakers were on the rise, and Nicks felt a spiritual connection with the heartland rock that Petty and his band were creating. The two directly crossed paths for the first time on the song ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’, but the team up was not originally a happy merger on either side.
“I had seen Fleetwood Mac play, and with Stevie, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t know what was going on with the top hat and the twirling and the witchy stuff,” Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench told Classic Rock in 2021. “But then I bought the single to ‘Go Your Own Way’ and flipped it over, and there’s ‘Silver Springs’. Good Lord, what a song. The second I heard that I went: ‘Now I get it. That’s Stevie. She’s not faking. She’s for real. She’s not a poser in the least. She’s a creative perpetual-motion machine. This is somebody I’d really love to play music with.’”
During the same interview, Nicks claimed that she was initially furious with producer and then-boyfriend Jimmy Iovine for bringing in a Petty song for her to record on her solo debut Bella Donna, which had otherwise been a showcase for her own songwriting. Petty had a similar reaction, feeling that Iovine had purposefully taken a Heartbreakers song from him.
“He [Iovine] plays me ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’, the same track, with her singing,” Petty recalls in the Classic Rock article. “I go: ‘Jimmy, you just took the song?… His comeback was, like: ‘This is gonna buy you a house.’ But it pissed me off because it came out at the same time as our single [‘A Woman In Love’], and I think ours suffered.”
Even though it was a rough birth, all parties were eventually satisfied with ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’, and Nicks became “the Heartbreakers’ little sister”, frequently performing with the band all the way up until Petty’s death in 2017. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Petty was eager to work with Nicks for a simple reason: he was a megafan of Fleetwood Mac, just not the version fronted by Nicks.
When the Heartbreakers embarked on their 30th anniversary tour in 2006, they decided to incorporate songs from some of their early heroes, including Van Morrison’s early garage rock outfit Them and some early songs from The Rolling Stones. One song that saw frequent play was ‘Oh Well’, the riff-heavy Fleetwood Mac track that originated during the Peter Green era of the band.
The Heartbreakers’ performances of ‘Oh Well’ turned out to be prescient. After Lindsey Buckingham’s firing from Fleetwood Mac in 2018, Heartbreakers’ guitarist Mike Campbell joined the band and began performing ‘Oh Well’ during concerts, taking his love of the song from the Heartbreakers directly to the band that originated it in the first place.
Check out Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers covering ‘Oh Well’ down below.