Sometimes, you come across a song and think, “How did I forget about this one?”
Never released as a single yet still charting in the Top 40 (it reached #35), “I Will Run to You” is a Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet from Nicks’ second solo album, The Wild Heart. The Heartbreakers served as the band in the recording.
Perhaps part of the song’s subsequent obscurity comes from the fact that Bryan Adams released a massive hit a year later called, “Run to You.” His song reached #6 in the Top 40, and was in heavy rotation for months on MTV due to its iconic video. Nicks’ song never received an official video, and her other big hit from Wild Heart — “Stand Back” — also overshadowed this track.
Then there was the issue of supporting the song in concert, which was virtually impossible given the logistics of the two artists. As a result, the song was performed live only one time — at Radio City Music Hall, on September 12, 1983.
However, Nicks continues to release remasters of the song to capitalize on streaming, with the 2016 remaster featured below. Another remaster was released on Spotify in 2019.
When asked how the song came to be, Nicks sounds a little baffled:
I don’t really know why Tom wrote this song for me because it’s not like he had to, or not like I called him up and asked him to do it. But for some reason, he wanted to write me something really pretty, and he did, and we worked real hard.
It’s obvious the two artists had a strong friendship and mutual respect. Petty wrote a number of songs with Nicks over the years, and Nicks claimed she would have left Fleetwood Mac if Petty had invited her to join the Heartbreakers. For Petty, this was a non-starter, with him joking in the 2007 documentary, Runnin’ Down a Dream, “Yeah, that’s good, Stevie, but there aren’t any girls in The Heartbreakers.”
Nicks performed with Petty one last time in 2017 in London (singing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”), and other Heartbreakers (Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell) continue to perform with Nicks.
Despite never being a Heartbreaker, it was clear that when it came to friendship, these two would run to each other.