Nothin’ Else Mattered

‘Edge of Seventeen’ was written by Stevie Nicks and released on her debut solo studio album Bella Donna in 1981.  The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1982, while the album went multi-platinum.  Nicks was expressing the grief she felt from the death of her uncle Jonathan and the assassination of John Lennon during the same week of December 1980.  Her uncle was not anyone famous, but he was part of her life.  John Lennon was a music legend who was a very-close friend to Nicks’ producer and lover at the time, music mogul Jimmy Iovine.  One of Jimmy’s first jobs as a recording engineer was a gig he got with John Lennon after showing up to the studio to work on Easter Sunday.  His bosses were so impressed, they connected him with Lennon.  Jimmy was so close to Lennon that his death had a direct impact on his and Nicks’ relationship.  Stevie didn’t known Lennon personally, but she was still deeply saddened due to the depressing effect his passing had on the man she loved.

Nicks got the title for this song from a conversation that she had with singer Tom Petty’s wife Jane Benyo.  During the conversation, Nicks had asked Jane when she met Tom for the first time.  Jane replied Nicks by telling her that she and Tom met when she was “at the age of seventeen”.  Jane had an incredible thick Southern accent and Stevie thought she said ‘edge’ not age, so she told Jane, “Forget it, it’s got to be edge.”  Nicks liked the phrase and decided instantly it would make a good title for a song.  Nicks planned on making this song about the romance between Jane and her then husband Tom.  However, after the devastating demise of Lennon and her uncle, she changed the song’s theme but kept its title.

White-winged doves synchronize their migration into the Sonoran Desert with the reproductive cycle of saguaro cactus and they serve an important job as saguaro pollinators.  In 1980, Stevie was flying home from Phoenix Arizona and someone handed her a menu that said, “The white wing dove sings a song that sounds like she’s singing ooh, ooh, ooh.  She makes her home here in the great Saguaro cactus that provides shelter and protection for her”, and this became a basis for her song ‘Edge of Seventeen’.  Several days later, outside her room, she heard a bird singing the same thing over and over, making some “Ahhs” and “Oohs”, which she thought was an owl, but her friend said, “No, that’s a dove!”  Stevie started to cry, thinking that this dove had come here to watch over her.

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

And the days go by, like a strand in the wind
In the web that is my own, I begin again
Said to my friend, baby (everything stopped)
Nothin’ else mattered

He was no more than a baby then
Well he seemed broken-hearted
Something within him
But the moment that I first laid
Eyes on him, all alone
On the edge of seventeen

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Well, I went today
Maybe I will go again tomorrow
Yeah yeah, well, the music there
Well, it was hauntingly familiar
Well, I see you doing what I try to do for me
With the words from a poet and a voice from a choir
And a melody, and nothing else mattered

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

The clouds never expect it when it rains
But the sea changes colors
But the sea does not change
So with the slow, graceful flow of age
I went forth with an age old desire to please
On the edge of seventeen

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Well, then suddenly there was no one
Left standing in the hall, yeah, yeah
In a flood of tears
That no one really ever heard fall at all

Well, I went searchin’ for an answer
Up the stairs and down the hall
And not to find an answer
Just to hear the call
Of a nightbird singing, “Come away”
(Come away, come away)

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
I said ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Well I hear you in the morning
And I hear you at nightfall
Sometimes to be near you
Is to be unable to feel you, my love
I’m a few years older than you
(I’m a few years older than you) my love

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, baby, ooh, said ooh

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around – Challenge #193.

15 thoughts on “Nothin’ Else Mattered

  1. This Stevie Nicks song still gives me chills…even reading the lyrics instead of hearing them. It’s a real toe-curler! In fact I have been so enchanted with this song that I have a sketch of a story somewhere in my brain. 🙂 But then my imagination has no boundaries. My husband Bob used to say “you’re nuts!” when I would share some of my more out-there ideas.

    I did not know that Stevie Nicks is from Arizona…nor that the White Winged Dove lives among the Sahuaros…that is my favorite place in the world, and I always think of it as where my heart lives.

    Re eating doves… why does that sound so much more inhumane than eating a duck?

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      1. It does get hot, but as they say it really is a dry heat. One of my recent visits I promptly lost the rental car returning to our unit at night, and the next day I went out looking for it. I tend to walk pretty fast (or I did,) and someone must have called about a crazy old lady tourist marching through the site, a golf cart with some security people showed up and insisted that I hop aboard for the rest of my search. It was 115 degrees at the time. We did find the car soon. 🙂

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