Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty met in the late 1970s and, after some work on her part, formed an enduring friendship. Petty approached their relationship with hesitancy. He wasn’t sure what to make of Nicks. She was drawn to him even before they met, however. Nicks explained that when she finally met Petty, he was exactly what she had expected. She said that he was a very genuine person.
Tom Petty said it took a while to see Stevie Nicks as a good person
Before Nicks even met Petty, she would have been willing to completely change her life for him.
“After I joined Fleetwood Mac, I started hearing Tom Petty on the radio,” Nicks said in the book Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes. “And I just fell in love with his music and his band. I would laughingly say to anyone that if I ever got to know Tom Petty and could worm my way into his good graces, if he were ever to ask me to leave Fleetwood Mac and join Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I’d probably do it. And that was before I even met him.”
When they did meet, Nicks tried to ingratiate herself with Petty by spending time with his wife. This made Petty even more wary of her.
“Stevie really had Jane in her corner,” he explained. “Because Stevie would indulge her, it took me a long time to realize how genuine and good Stevie was. She was doing a lot of drugs — and she’d be the first to tell you that — but we didn’t at the time. We weren’t Boy Scouts, but I was afraid of that. Jane embraced it in a big way when Stevie showed up.”
Stevie Nicks said Tom Petty was a genuine person
When they first met, Petty said he liked Nicks but didn’t know what to make of her. He’d never had to work with anyone like her before.
“It was a completely different world from anything I had seen,” Petty said, per the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoë Howe. “She was very sweet and we liked her. But she had a whole different work ethic than we had, and there were a lot of hangers-on.”
Nicks, on the other hand, was immediately impressed by Petty. He lived up to everything she’d imagined.
“He was pretty much what I expected,” she said. “There’s not a fake bone in his body.”
The Fleetwood Mac artist honored her late friend in concert after his death
After Petty’s death, Fleetwood Mac invited Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell to join them on tour. In honor of Petty, the band would close shows with “Free Fallin’.” She said that this was difficult for her and Campbell.
“It was between Michael and I — it was incredibly difficult for us to even look at each other,” Nicks told Click on Detroit in 2020. “I would stand up next to him at the very beginning when it was starting and if I even put my hand on Michael’s back, it was like both of us just started to wither.”