Stevie Nicks and her band mates in Fleetwood Mac were honoured at Friday night’s MusiCares event ahead of the Grammy Awards, the first-ever band to accept the Recording Academy’s Person of the Year award, and she became emotional while paying tribute to longtime friend and frequent collaborator Tom Petty.
Accepting the award on behalf of the band, Nicks, 69, spoke about the late rocker, with whom she had performed during The Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour in 2017.
“The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart,” she said, reports USA Today. “He was not only a good man to go down the river with, as Johnny Cash said, but he was a great father, and a great friend. My heart will never get over this.”
As Nicks reminded, Petty had received the MusiCares Person of the Year award at last year’s pre-Grammy event, where she joined him onstage for a performance.
“He did the MusiCares tribute last year, you probably know that,” she said. “And he spent a lot of time after that night talking to me about how important it was to him. And maybe he was talking about it because Tom was ill. He was not well. And he fought his way through that tour. He should have cancelled, and he should have gone home, and gone to the hospital, but not Tom. He was going to go down that river. And so God bless him, he finished the tour at the Hollywood Bowl, three shows, and one week later he died.”
Nicks became tearful as she concluded: “But he got down the river. So, Tom, I know you’re standing next to me, because you always have been for so many years.”
Petty passed away on Oct. 2, 2017 at age 69, one week after completing what would be his final tour. The coroner’s report concluded that Petty suffered an “accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications,” including fentanyl, while managing the pain from a fractured hip.
Among Nicks’ many collaborations with Petty and the Heartbreakers is her 1981 hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”.