How The Beatles And Tom Petty Inspired The Stevie Nicks Song “Edge Of Seventeen”


There are a ton of iconic classic rock songs but few have the background of Stevie Nicks’ song, “Edge of Seventeen.” Back in 1981, the musician was on the verge of one of best songs of the decade.

At the time, the release of her solo debut album Bella Donna would showcase her talents as an individual. The extraordinary achievement came to pass because of the rock and roll history behind “Edge of Seventeen.”

Myths aside, the truth behind the song is both innocent and emotional for Nicks.

Stevie Nicks Inspired By Tom Petty’s Wife

While working on Tusk with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks also released the Bella Donna record. A few duets on the album included “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Tom Petty and “Leather Face” with Don Henley.

Upon the album’s release, the album had three songs in the Top 20. Thanks to this mega commercial success, the album went platinum only three months after it’s release. The surprise song actually came about while recording with Tom Petty.

Stevie Nicks met Tom Petty’s wife Jane. When the musician asked how Petty and Jane met, Mrs. Petty replied, “At the edge of seventeen.”

From Tom Petty To The Beatles

Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty | Photo Credit Pinterest

The title came from that chance interaction with Tom Petty’s wife but the lyrics were inspired by the Beatles. After the death of John Lennon, the lyrics to “Edge of Seventeen” took a turn.

Originally, the song was about love, but the murder of John Lennon deeply penetrated Nicks. She explained, “I was in Australia when John Lennon was shot. Everybody was devastated.”

Stevie Nicks didn’t personally know John Lennon but the Beatles obviously had a massive impact on the culture. In addition, she did know producer Jimmy Iovine (who she actually dated) and heard stories about Lennon through Iovine.

After John Lennon died, she returned home in a state of shock. She also had an uncle die of cancer soon after. The whirlwind of emotions caused her to finish the song. She sat at the piano and forever changed her career as a songwriter. 

What is your favorite song from icon Stevie Nicks?