In a break from her own music career, Stevie Nicks decided to travel to Australia with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. The two musicians would be performing together, and Nicks was there to support her friends. During this tour, though, she received notice from the Australian government that they could possibly ban her from the country for the rest of her life.
Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty had a close friendship
Nicks met Petty as a superfan of his work.
“She was this absolutely stoned-gone, huge fan,” American Songwriter reports that Petty said in the book Conversations With Tom Petty. “And it was her mission in life that I should write her a song.”
Despite Nicks’ eagerness, Petty said that he and his band were slightly wary of her. Fleetwood Mac was a “big corporate” band in their eyes.
“We weren’t really welcoming to her,” Petty said in Petty: The Biography. “It wasn’t like she received a lot of warmth. We weren’t impressed by superstars — it just wasn’t our nature.”
Eventually, though, Nicks wore him down. They recorded the song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” together and formed a close friendship.
“She came into my life like a rocket, just refusing to go away,” Petty said.
She nearly received a ban from Australia authorities for performing with Petty
In 1986, Nicks decided to capitalize on her close friendship with Petty by joining him and Dylan on tour to Australia. She initially just planned to support them as they performed.
“I got to have fun just being a fan and had one of the most amazing months of my life,” she told The Daily Telegraph, per the Daily Mail.
Though she intended to watch from the sidelines, Nicks ultimately joined Petty and Dylan onstage to sing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Like a Rolling Stone.” The crowd-pleasing cameo didn’t go over well with the Australian authorities. She had a tourist visa, not a work visa.
“I was told by the Australian government I would never be allowed back in the country, not with Fleetwood Mac, not by myself as a solo artist, not as a tourist if I did that again,” she explained. “I couldn’t even stand on stage to play a tambourine. So that was that.”
Luckily, Nicks did not receive a lifetime ban and has gone on to visit Australia since.
Stevie Nicks said she will ‘never get over’ Tom Petty’s death
Nicks found Petty’s 2017 death particularly devastating. She shared that she would have a difficult time moving past it.
“The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart,” she said while accepting the MusiCares Person of Year Award in 2018. “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.”