Written and performed by Stevie Nicks, “Edge of Seventeen” is memorable for the churning guitar at the start, its soaring vocals, some delicate piano touches, and Nicks’ amazing phrasing of complex lyrics.
In the wake of her uncle’s death and John Lennon’s assassination, Nicks wrote the song in a rush as she coped with these two traumatic events. Nicks was in Australia on tour when Lennon was shot, and then returned to the US when she learned her uncle had cancer. His passing was her first experience with a family member’s death.
Her uncle lived in Phoenix, so the white-winged doves in the region’s saguaro cacti proved a source of inspiration, representing Lennon’s desire for peace at the same time.
The song was the third single from her debut solo album, Bella Donna. The first two singles you might also know — “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “Leather and Lace.” These duets with Tom Petty and Don Henley, respectively, were major hits and instant classics, too.