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Stevie Nicks – Stand Back


Here she comes again – and this time it’s a solo Stevie Nicks effort, and boy does she mean business. Yes, it’s the brilliant Stand Back – and the story of this song is one of my favourite pop tales.

Essentially, Stevie was on her honeymoon and heard Prince‘s Little Red Corvette on the radio whilst driving to Santa Barbara and was so inspired that – prior to any other newlywed activity, like arguing or raiding the minibar – she recorded a demo in the hotel room. And a bit later, and because pop stars can do this sort of thing, she rang Prince and said something along the lines of “fancy playing the keyboards on this song I’ve totally ripped off from you?” and he nipped over, draped the song in swampy synths and then buggered off again without uttering a word, or as Stevie puts it “as if the whole thing had happened in a dream.”

Isn’t that brilliant? And although it may have started life as a slight knock off, Stand Back became its own thing entirely – and here it is. Caution: may contain flying lacework.

Stevie’s voice really suits this supercharged, synthesiser-led production, and it means the guitars and drums have to fight to make their presence felt. And gosh, they do. Of course this sort of total-war-on-all-fronts approach can very easily tip over under its own weight – as, for example, quite a few T’Pau songs do – but Stevie is the glue that holds the entire thing together. She absolutely rules this song – when Stevie tells you to stand back, you stand back. It’s thrilling, goosebump inducing and utterly danceable.

Stand Back sailed all the way no.5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983, but sank without trace in the UK, despite the issuing of Stevie’s very first twelve inch single. All I can offer by way of explanation is a shrug. It’s exactly the sort of thing that was all over the radio then, but no-one played it.

In recent years Stand Back has become something of a dance anthem, and has been endlessly remixed. A fairly perfunctory version by Linus Loves feat Sam Obernik eventually made the song a UK hit in 2003, reaching no.31. But the original stands towering over any attempt to modernise it, laughing – all the way to the bank.

Entered chart: did not chart

Who could sing this today and have a hit? My go to girl for anthems of empowerment – Kelly Clarkson.

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