Stevie Nicks Said Tom Petty Wasn’t Afraid to Tell Her to ‘Shut Up’

Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty were close friends for years, beginning with their musical collaboration at the end of the 1970s. While their friendship began on the basis of music, Nicks said that Petty became a trusted confidant over the years. She reached out to him whenever she needed advice. Nicks said that she turned to Petty because he felt comfortable being bracingly honest with her.

Stevie Nicks stands next to Tom Petty who has a guitar and adjusts a microphone.
Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty | KMazur/WireImage

Tom Petty didn’t initially know what to make of Stevie Nicks

When Nicks and Petty met, she was such a fan of his work that she might have left Fleetwood Mac to join the Heartbreakers. He wasn’t as sold on her at first.

“She was this absolutely stoned-gone huge fan,” Petty said in the book Conversations With Tom Petty by Paul Zollo. “And it was her mission in life that I should write her a song. And we were a little wary of Stevie. We didn’t quite know whether to like Stevie or not, because we kind of saw this big corporate rock band, Fleetwood Mac, which was wrong — they were actually artistic people. But in those days, nobody trusted that sort of thing and we just kept thinking, ‘What does she want from us?'”

Any coldness from Petty didn’t dissuade Nicks, though. She and Petty eventually bonded through music.

“As time went by, and we hung out a bit, we got to know her more and more, she would come over to my house and just hang out and play records or whatever,” Petty explained. “And we’d sing a bit. We used to sit around and play the guitar and sing.”

She said she often turned to him for advice

Nicks never became a Heartbreaker, but she did build a close relationship with Petty. As they became friends outside of their collaboration on “Insider” and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” she began turning to him for advice.

“I call Tom when I’m upset or questioning my existence on this planet,” she told the Austin American-Statesman in 1989.

She appreciated that Petty was always honest with her, even if this meant that he was saying something she didn’t want to hear or telling her to “shut up.”

“He can tell me that I’m just having a bad day, to shut up and go to bed, and I’ll take it,” she said. “But if he tells me I’m wrong, I’m wrong. He doesn’t lie, and he doesn’t say things to flatter people. He just tells you the truth.”

Stevie Nicks said she once got the best advice she’s ever heard from Tom Petty 

In the 1990s, Nicks said Petty gave her some of the best advice she’d ever received.

“I was at my house in Phoenix – I had come out of rehab – and I had dinner with him at the Ritz-Carlton,” she told Rolling Stone. “I had a visitation from an old boyfriend, right after my rehab, and it had shaken me. I asked Tom if he would help me write a song.”

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The pair had written together before, but Petty refused this time.

“He said, ‘No. You are one of the premier songwriters of all time. You don’t need me to write a song for you,'” she explained. “He said, ‘Just go to your piano and write a good song. You can do that.'” 

The result was a song called “Hard Advice,” based on the conversation with Petty.