The Singles File: Stevie Nicks, "Leather and Lace"
Release Date: October 6, 1981
Peak Chart Position (US): #6
Stevie Nicks’ debut album, Bella Donna, landed like an unstoppable army of white-winged doves upon arrival on July 27, 1981. Still flying high on the back of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, Nicks lifted the veil from her moody and mystical persona with a stellar collection of songs featuring a cavalcade of guest stars. With vocalists Sharon Celani and Lori Perry by her side for the first time, she was ready to spread her own wings.
“My life was completely wrapped up in Fleetwood Mac,” Nicks told Rolling Stone back in 1981. “You can call in sick to a job, a boyfriend, even a husband, but you cannot call in sick to Fleetwood Mac – ever.”
The response to Bella Donna was immediate. The album had been preceded by the July 8 release of smash single, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” The song was penned by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers, who played on the track (bass legend Donald “Duck” Dunn” would sit in for Ron Blair during the recording).
The song was such a hit that the label--Nicks’ own Modern Records, a subsidiary of ATCO--wouldn’t get around to releasing a second single until October 1981. With the success of the Nicks/Petty duet still fresh, “Leather and Lace,” featuring Nicks trading verses with Don Henley of the Eagles, would serve as single number two.
Unlike the raw rock and roll vibe of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” the production on “Leather and Lace” was a much more pristine affair. Roy Bittan of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band sprinkles his piano textures across the track while Nicks and Henley trade the disarmingly tender and intimate lyrics.
Originally written by Nicks for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colton, the Nicks/Henley version would soar as high as #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1982.