Stevie Nicks and Prince Had a Falling Out Over a Scene From ‘Purple Rain’

Two of the biggest artists in music history, Stevie Nicks and Prince, formed a friendship based on musical collaboration. Though Nicks said they had a “strange” relationship, they were close. At one point, though, they went a while without speaking because of Nicks’ reaction to a scene from Purple Rain. Nicks described the scene and explained why the falling out upset her.

Stevie Nicks wears a black tank top and stands in front of a microphone. She wishes she could have performed with Prince.
Stevie Nicks | Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks and Prince formed a friendship

Nicks and Prince first became friends because of their music. The Fleetwood Mac artist based her song “Stand Back” on Prince’s “Little Red Corvette.”

“I called him and said, ‘Can you come to the studio and listen to this song? I’ve sung over your song and written another song and you may hate it and if you do, I won’t do it,’” she told Rolling Stone. “He came over to Sunset Sound and he loved it — he played piano and guitar on it.”

After forming a friendship — and avoiding a romantic relationship — Prince pushed Nicks to include more overtly sexual lyrics in her music.

“You have to write about sex, so you must not be intrinsically sexy,” Nicks told him, per The New York Times Style Magazine. “I don’t have to write about sex because I am intrinsically sexy.”

The two musicians had a falling out over a scene from ‘Purple Rain’

In 1984, Prince made his acting debut in Purple Rain, a musical drama that received high praise. The July premiere drew many of the era’s major celebrities, including Nicks. The film was groundbreaking and sometimes uncomfortable to watch, maybe too much so for Nicks. During the scene where Prince’s character slaps Apollonia Kotera, Nicks “freaked out.” She left the theater to take a breather in the bathroom, where she remained for the rest of the film.

Afterward, Prince, who had noticed her empty seat, confronted her about leaving the theater. When Nicks explained, Prince looked at her as if “it killed him.” After this, they went a long time without speaking to one another. 

“It’s a shame really,” Nicks said in the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoë Howe. “We were alike in so many ways. For one thing, we both liked wearing black chiffon around the house.”

Stevie Nicks still talks to Prince 

Eventually, Nicks and Prince made up. Still, they never had a chance to perform together onstage, something Nicks still regrets.

“The saddest thing of all is Prince and I never played that song onstage together,” she said. “And that just breaks my heart. I guess we all think we’re immortal — I always thought we had plenty of time. I should have told Prince 10 years ago or 15 years ago, ‘Hey, Prince, we should do this song onstage together — some night, some city, call me.’”

Despite this, Nicks speaks to Prince when she’s nervous about performing. She believes that this helps foster a closeness with him, even beyond the grave.

“I feel that connection is still there, maybe more now than before he died — with Tom [Petty] and with Prince.”

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