Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell had to put his tour on hold this year, but he’s keeping busy with a series of Instagram videos in which he breaks down songs from throughout his career. The newest one examines the 1981 Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”
“This song has a little bit of a story to it,” he says, seated near the stairway of his house with a guitar on his lap. “It started with the music and the music was inspired by the drum intro to ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ if you can believe that. I just put different chords to that feel. And, of course, gave it to Tom and he wrote these great words.”
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This is the original @fender Broadcaster I used on the original recording of this record. Black and white version @thedirtyknobs #tompettyandtheheartbreakers #stevienicks #mikecampbell #fenderguitars #videooftheday
“We were working with [producer] Jimmy Iovine at the time,” he continues. “He thought the song would work better as a duet and he was actually right, so Stevie Nicks wound up singing along on the song…Today, I just thought I’d show you how the germ of the song started. It’s a swampy blues song, really.” (He then sings a big chunk of the song.)
“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” rose to Number Three on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1981 and helped establish Nicks as a solo artist, although it had the unintended consequence of minimizing radio airplay for the new Petty and the Heartbreakers single “A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me),” which stalled out at #79.
Petty and Nicks played it live many times over the years, most recently on July 9th, 2017 in London’s Hyde Park. That show wound up being Petty’s final concert outside of America.
The next year, Campbell replaced Lindsey Buckingham in Fleetwood Mac and toured all over the globe with them. He originally planned on touring this year with his side project the Dirty Knobs, but unspecified health problems delayed the tour initially and then the COVID-19 pandemic made any sort of tour impossible. Their debut LP, Wreckless Abandon, is due out September 18th.