Stevie Nicks Said It Was ‘Fascinating’ to Watch Bob Dylan and Tom Petty Bicker

In the 1980s, Stevie Nicks joined Tom Petty and Bob Dylan on tour. She wasn’t there to perform but to provide Petty with moral support as he was in a challenging position with his marriage and mental health. While with them, she watched the shows and observed the dynamic between Petty and Dylan. She didn’t see them get into screaming matches, but Nicks said she witnessed some minor disagreements between the other two musicians. 

Stevie Nicks wears a shawl and sings into a microphone. Tom Petty and Bob Dylan play guitar and sing into the same microphone.
Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan | Clayton Call/Redferns; Ron Pownall/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks joined Bob Dylan and Tom Petty on tour

Petty and Dylan toured Australia in the 1980s, and Nicks went along for the ride. Initially, Petty refused to go on tour if his wife didn’t join him, but Nicks convinced him. As his wife didn’t want to go, Nicks said she would follow along as a sidekick. 

While she was content watching the show from backstage, Dylan invited her to join them during one performance.

“He put me between him and Tom and started a song and then backed off so I could sing. I was completely and utterly stupefied,” she told the Austin American-Statesman. “Thank God, my voice worked.”

She sang “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Like a Rolling Stone” with them.

She said she saw some minor disagreements between the two musicians

Petty spoke glowingly about his collaboration with Dylan. He had become familiar with Dylan’s music as a teenager and learned much from him as an adult.

“I learned so much from Bob Dylan,” he told The Daily Telegraph in 2012. “He gave us a kind of courage that we never had, to learn something quickly and go out on stage and play it. You had to be pretty versatile because arrangements could change, keys might change, there’s just no way of knowing exactly what he wants to do each night. You really learned the value of spontaneity, of how a moment that is real in a concert is worth so much more than one you plan out.”

From Nicks’ perspective, though, the two didn’t always get along perfectly. While she said she never witnessed any angry fights, she watched them disagree. 

“I got to watch them put their personalities together, and it was fascinating,” she recounted in 1989. “I watched some — well, not exactly rows — but a little bit of going back and forth between them.”

Stevie Nicks fought with Tom Petty

Nicks and Petty got into more heated disagreements than Petty and Dylan on the Australia tour. Petty recalled one particularly rancorous argument. He told her that he didn’t think Fleetwood Mac was a rock ‘n’ roll band.

“How dare you say that to me?” Nicks said, per the book Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis.

“And this long debate ensued about how you get those credentials,” Petty explained. “And I love that band, have the greatest respect for Lindsey [Buckingham] and Mick [Fleetwood], but I didn’t see them as a rock & roll band. I thought her journey was different than mine. I didn’t always agree with her musical taste, and she didn’t always agree with mine. My frustration with her was, ‘You need somebody to remind you what you’re capable of. You get too easily distracted by bulls****ers that want to make a hit. I don’t know why you’re doing all this synthesizer rock.'”

Despite the argument, Nicks and Petty remained close friends for decades.

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