May 1983: Stevie Nicks Releases STAND BACK

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

It was January 1983 when Stevie Nicks impulsively married Kim Anderson after the death of Anderson's wife and Nicks' close friend, Kim Snyder Anderson, due to leukemia. The plan was for Nicks to raise the couple's newborn child as her own. The couple were in a car en route to San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara when Prince song "Little Red Corvette" came on the radio.

"It just gave me an incredible idea, so I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs," Nicks wrote in the liner notes for her greatest hits album Timespace in 1991. The song: "Stand Back."

Nicks was so inspired that she reached out to Prince himself: "I asked him if he would come over to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles. Never in a million years expecting that he would say yes or that he was even in Los Angeles, and he was there in like 20 minutes," she said in 2016 (via Billboard). "I didn't have to call and tell him that I kind of ripped off his song, but I did because I'm honest. So it turned into a really amazing relationship."

The singer elaborated on the story to Timothy White for his book, Rock Lives: "I asked if he hated the song. He said, 'No,' and walked over to the synthesizers that were set up, was absolutely brilliant for about 25 minutes, and then left. He was so uncanny, so wild, he spoiled me for every band I've ever had, because nobody can exactly re-create -- not even with two piano players -- what Prince did all by his little self."

It was May 18, 1983, when Stevie Nicks released "Stand Back" as the lead single from her second album, The Wild Heart. The track rocked the radio and MTV over the summer of '83, going on to peak at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of August 20, 1983. The #1 song in America that week: the Police, "Every Breath You Take." 

"I can't even really tell you what 'Stand Back' is about. 'Stand Back' is kinda about more than one thing," Nicks told radio DJ Jim Ladd in 1998. "There was a lot going on when 'Stand Back' was written, so it kinda pulled together all the things that were happening, so it wasn't about one thing. It was written very quickly, and I really did hum along to 'Little Red Corvette' ...and of course, now you can go home and do it, too. If you search you will be able to find it. So, it was kinda more built around that whole thing, you know? 'Stand Back' and 'Dreams' are my two favorite songs to perform on stage... when ('Stand Back') starts, it has an energy that comes from somewhere unknown...and it seems to have no timespace. I've never quite understood this sound....but I have NEVER questioned it."