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Twirling and Witchy

Stevie Nicks released Bella Donna, her debut album, 40 years ago this summer.

While she wanted to write all the songs on the album, it’s biggest hit, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” was made available to her, unbeknownst to them at the time, by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers.

But Stevie had to be talked into doing the song with Petty by her boyfriend and producer Jimmy Iovine, who also worked with Petty.

When he first broached the subject, she stormed out of the studio, but, she returned, realizing he was right.

She says that she told Iovine she was “sorry for being so bitchy about this, it’s just that I’m so protective of my songs.’ And because of that song, I have a solo career to this day.”

But Petty was also annoyed with Iovine, saying, “Jimmy, you just took the song?,” to which Iovine said, “This is gonna buy you a house.”

While the song may have helped his finances, Petty always felt it hurt his single at the time, “A Woman In Love.”

Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell helped write “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”

“That was a track that I had written the music and Tom had written the lyrics. It was for Hard Promises and, for some reason, we were gonna leave it off the album. I don’t know why. It was really bothering me at the time. And then they called me up one day and said Jimmy’s decided that it’ll be a duet and Stevie’s gonna use it. So I said, ‘Oh great, at least it gets used.’ And then it was a huge hit, so, lucky for me.”

And then there was Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench who played on Bella Donna, who didn’t quite relate to Stevie.

“I had seen Fleetwood Mac play, and with Stevie I just didn’t get it. I didn’t know what was going on with the top hat and the twirling and the witchy stuff”.

He says he thought differently after buying the single of “Go Your Own Way” with “Silver Springs” on the B-side. “Good Lord, what a song.

“The second I heard that, I went: ‘Now I get it. That’s Stevie. She’s not faking. She’s for real. She’s not a poser in the least. She’s a creative perpetual-motion machine. This is somebody I’d really love to play music with.’”

“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” went to number-three on the Billboard Hot 100 while Bella Donna hit number-one on the Billboard 200.


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