In the 1980s, Stevie Nicks offered to accompany Tom Petty when he went on tour with Bob Dylan in Australia. She was there for moral support and did not intend to perform during the tour. To her surprise, though, Dylan invited her onstage. She was stunned by the invitation, but she couldn’t say no. This would eventually get her in trouble with Australian authorities.
Stevie Nicks convinced Tom Petty to go on tour with Bob Dylan
After a successful performance at Farm Aid, Dylan invited Petty and the Heartbreakers to join him on a tour of Australia. It was a great opportunity, but Petty was hesitant. His relationship with his wife was souring, and he didn’t want to leave his kids for too long.
“Tom was sitting there on the chair at his house and he says, ‘I’m not going,'” Nicks explained in the book Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes. “I told him, ‘Oh yes, you are going! You can’t cancel on Bob f***ing Dylan! What, you’re going to call up Bob and tell him it’s off!?’ Tom just goes, ‘I’m not doing it.'”
He said that because his wife didn’t want to join him on tour, he didn’t want to go. Nicks offered herself as moral support.
“I turn around and say, ‘Well, do you want me to go? Do you need a sidekick, is that what you’re saying, someone to be with you and to make you laugh, and to be there when you’re lonely?'” Nicks said. “‘This is obviously the thing that is scaring you on this tour, and you’re not afraid of anything; you’re not afraid of alligators.’ What the f***, you know?”
Petty eventually agreed to the tour and noted, “That tour, having Stevie along, was very good for me.”
She couldn’t believe her luck at being invited onstage
On the tour, Nicks had no intention of performing. She was there with the sole purpose of supporting her friend.
“I got to have fun just being a fan and had one of the most amazing months of my life,” she said, per the Daily Mail.
One night, though, Dylan surprised Nicks by motioning for her to join them onstage. She was stunned, but she couldn’t say no.
“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 joined Petty and Dylan for “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Stevie Nicks got in trouble with the Australian government after performing with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty
While her appearance was a welcome surprise for the crowd, it didn’t go over well with Australian authorities. She had a tourist visa, not a work visa, and wasn’t allowed to perform. They told her, in no uncertain terms, that she couldn’t do that again.
“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.”