“Leather And Lace” by Stevie Nicks (ft. Don Henley)

Here’s a fun fact – Stevie Nicks and Don Henley dated during the late 1970s, i.e. the same era in which both Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles were at their peak. And the reason that is pertinent to this analysis is because it’s been said that their relationship partially inspired “Leather And Lace”, indeed being active (or maybe reignited) at the time this song was composed.

But whom Nicks specifically wrote this piece for was another pair of musicians who were actually married, Jessi Colter and (the now-late) Waylon Jennings. 

The reason Stevie felt qualified to do so, i.e. detail the love between two people in the same business, is because she also had a history of doing so, in fact having recently divorced (in relation to when this song was dropped) from Lindsey Buckingham.

Lyrics of “Leather And Lace”

The aforementioned backdrop should be noted because you’re not bound to get all of that from the lyrics. Instead, what we’re dealing with here is a straightforward love song, albeit one with intricacies. But with that foreknowledge in mind, the first verse does become more discernible in that Stevie obviously felt minimized at times, as if she were perceived by her partner as being weaker than she actually is. 

And that would apparently speak to the fact that she was under a significant amount of undeterrable pressure while working with Fleetwood Mac. So reading in between the lines it’s like she’s saying, more simply put, that working with your husband isn’t easy.

But the lyrics don’t really take it there. Rather, what’s being relayed from the “lace”, i.e. female, perspective is a longing for understanding and even more so commitment. 

What makes this a love song is Henley, representing the “leather” side of the equation, having a related desire, as in wanting to fulfill Stevie’s need for a constant, loving presence in her life. 

As with the first verse, in the fourth he likewise goes about presenting himself as someone who is vulnerable. This implies that his mutual desire is also predicated on a yearning for unwavering and compassionate support.

Final Thoughts…

So in a way, you can actually tell that this song was written by someone who has experience in terms of being in a serious romantic relationship. This is because more often than not a participant would need to be in one for the long haul in order to overcome stereotypical thinking such as females being emotionally weak or men, perpetually strong. 

Or put more comprehensively, in a romance it is inevitable that you will not always live up to your partner’s ideologies nor your own. So what becomes more important is the actual commitment which the parties share.

Lyrics to Stevie Nicks' "Leather And Lace"

Facts about “Leather And Lace”

Those in the know would recognize Don Henley as being associated with the Eagles, i.e. one of the most-successful rock bands from the 1970s.  After said decade he, proceeded to embark on a solo career which also bore some notable fruit. One of such outings was participating on “Leather and Lace”.

Modern Records introduced “Leather and Lace” to store shelves on 6 October 1981. Modern Records was a label that was in part founded by Stevie Nicks,

“Leather and Lace” is officially a single from one of Nicks’ albums, 1981’s “Bella Donna”. 

It is also Nicks – who herself is better known for being down with a larger act, Fleetwood Mac – that wrote “Leather and Lace”.

Meanwhile, this song was produced by Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy later went on to become one of the more notable businessmen in the music industry.

This appears to be the only time in which music legends Don Henley and Stevie Nicks co-headlined a song. But to note, as with “Leather and Lace”, Henley also provided vocals and drumming to “The Highwayman”, which is another track found on “Bella Donna”.

Leather And Lace

Success of “Leather And Lace”

This track made it onto the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and its counterpart of that day, the Cashbox Top 100. In addition to this, it was also a top-10 hit on both the US and Canadian Adult Contemporary charts.

When Stevie Nicks was personally enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, Don Henley supported her by showing up to perform this song. 

Indeed, “Leather and Lace” marks one of the biggest hits either of them scored as soloists, and “Bella Donna” itself is considered to be a classic album.

“Leather and Lace” is featured on the fourth episode of the ninth season of “American Horror Story”. The song accompanies Chet as he tries to convince Birdie that they need to leave.


On 29th January, 2008, Maroon 5’s frontman Adam Levine and Sara Evans performed the song live for a “CMT Crossroads” episode.

Foo Fighter’s frontman Dave Grohl and Will Ferrell took a hilarious spin on “Leather and Lace” as part of a live performance in 2011.

In 2015, Jeffery Austin and Gwen Stefani covered the duet in the season nine finale of American reality talent show “The Voice”.

Cara Brindisi and Jay Allen performed this song on “The Voice” in 2022.

Over the years, Stevie Nicks has performed “Leather and Lace” live with multiple famed artists and bands, including the following:

  • Maroon 5 at the Hollywood Bowl on 25th July, 2011
  • Rod Stewart at Phoenix in April 2011

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