“Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks

The lyrics of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” may seem as if they go off on metaphorical tangents at times. However, they all point to a very-distinct period in Nicks’ life. Within a matter of weeks during December of 1980, both her uncle and music legend John Lennon passed away.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Stevie Nicks's Edge of Seventeen at Lyrics.org.

Whereas her uncle was not anyone famous, it is clear that he was dear to her and a treasured part of her life. John Lennon (1940-1980), the music legend who was a part of the Beatles, was a very-close friend to Nicks’ producer and lover at the time, music mogul Jimmy Iovine. In fact Mr. Iovine was so close to Lennon that his death had a direct impact on his and Nicks’ relationship. In other words, whereas Stevie may not have known Lennon personally, she was still deeply saddened due to the depressing effect his passing had on the man she loved.

But again, Stevie is very-poetic in her approach. So if a person is not aware of the actual history of this song, they may conclude it alludes to ideas which it does not. For instance, the title itself has little, if anything, to do with its actually subject matter.

All in all, “Edge of Seventeen” is about the sadness Nicks felt after the death of her musical hero John Lennon and an uncle of hers named Jonathan. Both deaths occurred just days apart in the month of December 1980.

Lyrics of "Edge of Seventeen"

But where did the song’s title (“Edge of Seventeen”) come from?

Nicks got the song’s title from a conversation 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”. Interestingly, because of Jane’s southern accent (which was very thick), Nicks assumed what Jane said was “the edge of seventeen”. She liked the phrase and decided instantly it would make a good title for a song.

Actually Nicks wanted this song to be 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.

Release Date of “Edge of Seventeen”

This Stevie Nicks classic was released in February of 1982. It served as the third single from her maiden solo album titled Bella Donna.

Chart Performance

The song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and performed likewise on the Canada Top Singles chart.

Notable Covers of “Edge of Seventeen”

This song was covered by actress Lindsay Lohan in 2005. It was also sampled by Destiny’s Child in 2001 on their hit track “Bootylicious”, with Stevie Nicks appearing in the music video of the latter.

Did Stevie Nicks actually write “Edge of Seventeen”?

Yes. This classic was written by Stevie Nicks in its entirety. “Edge of Seventeen” was subsequently produced by Jimmy Iovine.

Live Performances

Stevie Nicks is known to always conclude her live performances with a rendition of “Edge of Seventeen”.

11 Responses

  1. Simon Banks says:

    Totally on point!
    The title of this song came from Stevie Nicks mishearing the words “age of seventeen” as “edge of seventeen” due to its speaker, Jane Benyo (Tom Petty’s ex-wife), have a strong-Southern accent.
    She was closely associated with the Pettys most likely due to Tom also working with Jimmy Iovine at the time.
    And originally the track was intended to be about Tom Petty and Jane Benyo. However, due to the aforementioned deaths, Stevie Nicks changed the subject matter entirely though retained the same title.

  2. Bargoyle says:

    Edge of Seventeen is a force of nature man. “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” usually makes me change the station.

  3. DB says:

    Both songs speak to me in different ways, I love every piece of music that Stevie Nicks has ever done. To me, it’s all about feelings and heart. I AM A HUGE FAN AND ADMIRE EVERYTHING SHE HAS DONE. VERY MUCH SHOWS WHAT FEMALES ARE MADE OF 👍👍❤️❤️

  4. abraham babashay says:

    However strange it is that not one word of this makes any sense whatsoever I am compelled to think it’s just me …right? To me the song is about a cougar to be or a cougar spirited girl that likes younger guys with little or no experience with women. She Gets this one lad and rocks his world like she was prone to with others before him but this one…whooaa…this one clearly was different, and shit happened and I could go on and on because the song is actually about me. thank you life and Claudia F wherever you are

  5. Notblindedbythelight in Virginia says:

    Star-struck fans, take off the rose-colored glasses. It’s so obvious that this song is about lusting/desire towards an underaged person. A Lolita Joe on the edge of seventeen. The first six lines of the song boldly describes orgasmic feelings or perhaps actual orgasms that occurred. Take the time to slowly read the lyrics from a realistic perspective. The entire song is bragging and gloating to the world about having a moment in time with someone on the edge of seventeen. He was no more than a baby then (I’m a few years older than you) my love. Boldly ending the song with more words describing orgasmic feelings towards an underaged person. As the old saying goes, “you can fool a lot of people a lot of the time. But you can’t fool everyone all of the time.” People lie even about their chosen song lyrics. By the way, I’m in no way impressed by the bragging and gloating about taking advantage of or fantasizing towards an underaged person. I personally don’t know anyone that would be or should be. But then, I don’t worship false idols.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re an idiot

    • Marcu says:

      Thank you! Someone with some brain cells! Those lyrics in no way allude to the topics of death or violence.
      Straight to the point. Why she started that dissembling cover up regarding the song’s origin we will never know

    • What I got from the song says:

      You are Correct! It is wrong for either sex to to take advantage of a under age person and Yes that is exactly what I got from the words to this song .

  6. Marcus says:

    Thank you! Someone with some brain cells! Those lyrics in no way allude to the topics of death or violence.
    Straight to the point. Why she started that dissembling cover up regarding the song’s origin we will never know LOL

  7. Fan of fun Life is short says:

    If I’d crossed paths with Stevie Nicks when I was seventeen, and she’d engaged in loving behaviour …. I would have been thrilled. The only sad part would be that I couldn’t tell the grand children how much fun grand dad had when he was seventeen.

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