Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stevie Nicks And Her Men: A Tale Of Two Duets

Stevie Nicks got around. Like a record, as Peter's tactless co-worker in Office Space might have put it. For instance, after dating her band mate Lindsay Buckingham for several years, she just turned right around and started having an affair with her other band mate, Mick Fleetwood! Jesus, why not sleep with John McVie while you're at it and just be done with it? At any rate, while bedding her way through the Southern California soft rock phone book, perhaps it was inevitable she would have gotten around to Don Henley. Although it may have seemed like a match made in multi-platinum heaven, apparently Henley accidentally got Nicks pregnant, and then demanded she get an abortion. Well if that ain't love, I don't know what is.

So, as with most things in life, the romance didn't last, but a flickering ember or two must have remained, as they recorded the gentle, countrified "Leather And Lace" for Bella Donna, which hit #6 in 1982, and is unfortunately not a song about a young, aspiring figure skater's exploration of S&M.

But I guess Stevie became bored with the sensitive "nice guy" and suddenly needed the touch of the "bad boy." Actually, as far as I know, she and Tom Petty never had a genuine fling, but in the recording studio, they certainly made sweet arena rock love. The title of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" is a textbook example of synecdoche, where the part represents the whole and vice versa, given that if someone actually dragged a person's heart around, it would quickly pop out of that person's chest and he or she would die. Although it appeared on a Stevie Nicks album and did not appear on the concurrent Tom Petty album (Hard Promises), for all intents and purposes, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" was essentially a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers song with Stevie Nicks sprinkled on top; Petty and Mike Campbell wrote it, and the Heartbreakers played on it. All Stevie did was just ... show up! But if anyone can just "show up" and take over a song, it is Stevie. 

Maybe it's just me, but does anybody else hear a hint of "Money For Nothing" in there? I keep half-expecting Sting to come in at any moment with "I want my MTV." But actually, thanks to Weird Al, whenever I hear this song, I'll always think of some poor schlub fruitlessly chasing a tow truck.

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