Although Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks sometimes collaborated, Nicks decided she didn’t want to record one of Petty’s classic rock songs. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released it instead. Interestingly, the song in question was co-written by a member of a famous 1980s new wave band.
Tom Petty was supposed to write a song for Stevie Nicks around the same time he was having fun with this star
Producer Jimmy Iovine tasked Petty with writing a song for Nicks. Around the same time, Petty spent time with Dave A. Stewart, a member of the Eurythmics. According to the book Runnin’ Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Petty and Stewart had a lot of fun together.
“Truth of it was that Dave was one of the only bright lights in that period,” Petty recalled. “He was sober and funny and crazy. And quite a dresser. Each day he’d arrived in a different outfit. I remember the two of us going to a rodeo tailor and buying expensive cowboy boots and hats, just wearing these clothes and hanging around town. He kept things lively.”
Why Stevie Nicks didn’t want to record ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’
Petty revealed a song he wrote with Stewart caught Nicks’ ear. “The song we wrote for Stevie, or meant to write for Stevie, was ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More,'” Petty recalled. “We wrote it and started to record it when Stevie wasn’t around. When she finally came in and heard it with my vocal on it, she was put off by it. It was like ,’I can’t sing that. You’ve already done it. It sounds good with you singing it. I don’t think I could make it better.’ She took a pass, but it wasn’t for her. It was for me.”
Petty released “Don’t Come Around Here No More” himself. The song appeared on his album Southern Accents, a controversial concept album about the American South. He said the song had a major impact on him. Petty revealed Stewart moved to a house near his house. Petty said Stewart essentially became a part of his family.
The way the world reacted to Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s version of the song
“Don’t Come Around Here No More” became a hit. The track reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 14 weeks. Southern Accents became a hit as well. It reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 32 weeks.
“Don’t Come Around Here No More” became a more modest hit in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports it reached No. 50 in the U.K., remaining on the chart for five weeks. Southern Accents reach No. 23 in the U.K., lasting on the chart for six weeks. Nicks decided she didn’t want to sing “Don’t Come Around Here No More” — and the song became a hit anyway.