Can't Get It Out of My Head: "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"

Jay Lee

Rocks Off would wholeheartedly like to wish Ms. Stevie Nicks a very happy birthday today; since she's the epitome of a rock and roll lady, we'll refrain from revealing her actual age. At Fleetwood Mac's Toyota Center concert earlier this month, Nicks seemed to be walking with a limp, and her voice was noticeably raspier than on record, but her performances of "Gypsy," "Sara" - during which she walked over to embrace Lindsey Buckingham near the end, a clearly unrehearsed and utterly moving bit of stagecraft - "Gold Dust Woman" and "Silver Spring" were nevertheless riveting.

Instead, this gives Rocks Off a chance to write a few lines about one of our favorite Nicks songs, her duet with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." The lead single from Nicks' 1981 solo debut Bella Donna, it rose to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, as Petty jokes on Peter Bogdanovich's 2007 documentary Runnin' Down a Dream, totally torpedoed the Heartbreakers' single at the time, "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)."

Rocks Off first grew close to "Stop Draggin'..." when a dear friend suggested we sing it as a karaoke duet for one Austin Chronicle Christmas party in the mid-1990s. For several weeks that autumn, we drove around the state capital with Petty and Nicks continuously exchanging recriminations via the cassette player in Rocks Off's 1978 Ford Fairmont. Although we have yet to perform it at a Chronicle party (or anywhere else in public), Rocks Off can still recite the lyrics word for word, like this morning when it came on Sirius/XM Radio's '80s station while he was in the shower. It remains in the upper reaches of his personal "Songs That (Partially) Mitigate Female Trouble" chart, and probably always will.

Two other icons of their respective genres were also born today - one a jazz lion who's gone but hardly forgotten, the other an ornery outlaw-country cuss who's still very much with us and not at all happy about the country's current state of affairs. Kudos, Miles and Bocephus.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray