The ‘Rock a Little’ Song Stevie Nicks Made With a Friend From Her Teen Years

Stevie Nicks released her album Rock a Little in 1985. On the album, Nicks collaborated with her friend Rick Nowels, a songwriter and producer. Together, Nicks and Nowels made the song “I Can’t Wait” for Rock a Little with Jimmy Iovine and Eric Pressley.

Stevie Nicks holds a microphone stand on stage
Stevie Nicks | Erika Goldring/WireImage

Rick Nowels is Stevie Nicks’ friend

At the start of working on Rock a Little, Nicks was primarily working with Iovine as a producer. The two had also started a romantic relationship when they first began working on Nicks’ debut solo album Bella Donna.

However, Iovine ended up leaving the project while Rock a Little was being made. Because of this, he is only credited as a producer on a handful of songs. One of those songs is “I Can’t Wait,” the album’s opener.

According to Music Spotlight Magazine, Nowels was “a friend from Stevie’s teen years” and the creation of “I Can’t Wait” was kickstarted when he gave Nicks a recording.

In the liner notes for her 1991 compilation album Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks, Nicks wrote that the recording Nowels passed along to her had “this incredible percussion thing.”

How Stevie Nicks made ‘I Can’t Wait’

When Nicks received the recording that was the start of “I Can’t Wait,” she kept the creation of the song a secret at first.

“I listened to the song once, and pretended not to be that knocked out, but the second Rick left, I ran in my little recording studio and wrote ‘I Can’t Wait.’ It took all night, and I think it is all about how electric I felt about this music,” Nicks wrote in the Timespace liner notes about “I Can’t Wait.”

While Nicks loves “I Can’t Wait,” the singer makes a point to not sing it on tour because of how much she prefers the studio version.

“Some vocals are magic and simply not able to beat. So I let go of it, as new to me as it was; but you know, now when I hear it on the radio, this incredible feeling comes over me, like something really incredible is about to happen,” Nicks wrote in the liner notes.

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This kickstarted Rick Nowels’ career as a songwriter

With “I Can’t Wait,” Nowels earned his first ever entry on the Billboard Hot 100. Nowels went on to keep working with Nicks and he started producing high-profile projects for other artists.

He is an inductee in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and he has worked with modern artists including Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa, and Sia.

In an interview with Billboard, Nowels credited Nicks for helping his career get off the ground.

“We had a hit with ‘I Can’t Wait’ in 1986, which led to writing for and producing Belinda Carlisle,” Nowels shared.

He added, “We had a big hit in 1989 called ‘Rooms on Fire’. Stevie opened the door for me in the music business.”