Chart Week: September 17, 1983
Song: “Stand Back” – Stevie Nicks
Chart Position: #35, 16th week on the chart. Peaked at #5 the week of August 20.

First a piece of housekeeping. I noticed this morning that I mis-numbered my last entry, for some reason skipping from 31 to 34. I have updated that post to correctly show it as entry #32 in the Reaching for the Stars collection. I regret the error.

I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple weeks, it being a remnant from my recent readings on Prince.

This is one of those tidbits of music trivia that I’m angry I didn’t know 35 years ago. I did not know until about three or four years ago that Prince inspired this song and then helped Stevie Nicks record it. Which I totally should have known. Last New Year’s Day, while we were taking down Christmas decorations and listening to the Top 100 songs of 1983, Casey mentioned Prince’s role in the creation of the song, so it’s not like this was some obscure fact that got unearthed decades later.

Anyway, the story goes that Stevie and her new husband, Kim Anderson,[1] were driving up the California coast on January 29, 1983, the day they were married. As they drove they heard Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” on the radio. The song stuck in Stevie’s head, especially the layers of synthesizers Prince built the song on. She began humming along to it, her writer’s brain began buzzing, and soon she was singing her thoughts into a tape recorder.

Weeks later when she was recording the song, she called Prince and told him how he had inspired her. Soon he was zipping over to the studio, joined in on the session playing synthesizers, and then disappeared as if nothing had happened. Duane Tudahl’s book suggests that Stevie and Prince hung out on at least one more occasion in 1983, so they were friendly beyond that one somewhat random moment. I kind of love that Prince hung out with and was inspired by so many people from the classic rock world when he was in his prime.[2] He’s seen as this super-funky, far left field artist, especially in his early days. But as much as James Brown inspired him, so too did the more mainstream stuff that dominated FM radio in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Just another song to add to the immense number of hits that Prince was responsible for, directly or indirectly, in the mid–1980s. This one just happened to be one of Stevie Nick’s four top five solo hits of the decade.

Bonus video for the absolutely massive The Hold Steady track “Stevie Nix.” “Loooord to be 17 forever…”

  1. Assuming this wasn’t the Kim Anderson who played basketball at Missouri and later coached the Tigers.  ↩
  2. The song “Purple Rain” was famously inspired by how he saw fans react to Bob Seger’s live shows.  ↩