For a person who’s proud to own neither a computer nor a cell phone, one doesn’t expect to hear the name [artist id="503162"]“Timbaland”[/artist] at the top of [artist id="13288"]Stevie Nicks’[/artist] list of potential collaborators. When we asked legendary [artist id="1071"]Fleetwood Mac[/artist] frontwoman about rumors that she was interested in working with Timbaland, she exclaimed, “Oh, I would love to!” But as far as what their work together might sound like, she replied, “Well, I don’t really know, so that’s why it’s exciting.”
While this might be news to some of her fans, Nicks — who is currently on tour with Fleetwood Mac and released the concert DVD “Live in Chicago” on Tuesday — said she’s long been a fan of R&B, “I learned to sing to R&B artists, not rock and roll or country artists,” she said. “That was my first love, strangely enough. I am really very, very R&B, for my own music. When I’m listening just for my own fun, when I’m dancing around my apartment, I’m pretty much listening to R&B,” she continued, noting that she’s a fan of both contemporary and classic artists in the genre.
That love came into play more than two decades ago, when she collaborated with [artist id="14481"]Prince[/artist]. The story began on the first night of her honeymoon with Kim Anderson, to whom she was briefly married. “I’m driving to my honeymoon night in Santa Barbara from L.A., and ‘Little Red Corvette’ comes on,” she recalled. “We’re like oh my God, it’s Prince! So I start singing all these words, and I’m like, ‘Pull over, we have to get a cassette player! And we have to record this!’ I’m writing in the car — here we are, newlyweds, and we get to our hotel and we’re setting up the tape recorder and I’ve made up my whole new melody to [the song]. So I haven’t really ripped off the song, because I’m admitting that I have done this. So we go into a studio in Los Angeles a couple weeks later and I track down Prince’s phone number — and because I’m Stevie Nicks, I can get it.
“I call him, and I never thought he was going to answer, or that it would be him, or that I would ever find him — and he answers. I said, ‘Prince, this is Stevie Nicks, and I wrote a song to your song ‘Little Red Corvette,’ and we’re at Sunset Sound right now, and I was wondering — first of all, I wanted to tell you that I’m giving you 50 percent of [the royalties] it if it ever goes anywhere, but are you in town? If you are, how would you feel about coming down and playing on it?’ Never in a million years did I think this man would be like, ‘I’ll be right there.’ He was there in 20 minutes and he played [she mimes instrumental parts of the song] on ‘Stand Back,’ and he was there an hour and a half, and then he left.”
But that was far from the end of their musical relationship. “Prince and I became really good friends,” she said, “and he actually gave me a cassette, and said, ‘There’s a song on it, and I would like you to write.’ I take it home and put it on, and I’m listening to this like amazing song … and it’s ‘Purple Rain’! And I’m like, I can’t write a song to this! It [wasn't] ‘Purple Rain’ yet, but it [was] the track that became ‘Purple Rain.’ ”
Times have changed since in the past 25 years, but Nicks is still writing new music, and thinking of new collaborators, like Timbaland. When asked what he might think of her interest in working with him, Nicks laughed and said, “Of course, he’ll hear about this and go ‘Oh my God, why in the world?’ ”
Tim, it’s your move.