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Edge of Seventeen

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Written by Stevie Nicks.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Jamie, Lesley, Becky, Stacy, Cera, CC, and Keith.

"Edge of Seventeen" written by Stevie Nicks, is off her first solo album, Bella Donna. "Edge of Seventeen" is a hauntingly beautiful song, with puzzling lyrics. Many believe this song is about Lindsey Buckingham, while others believe this song is all about death. Supposedly the title for "Edge of Seventeen" came from a conversation Stevie had with Tom Petty's wife. When Stevie asked her how old she was when she met Tom, she thought that she said "edge of seventeen" instead of "age of seventeen"(which is what she DID actually say). Stevie liked the way it sounded and decided to write a song with that in the lyrics.

In the liner notes of Timespace, Stevie Nicks' greatest hits album, she says the song was inspired by and written for Jimmy Iovine, John Lennon, and Stevie's Uncle John. The lines:

"Well then suddenly...
There was no one... left standing
In the hall... yeah yeah...
In a flood of tears
That no one really ever heard fall at all
Oh I went searchin' for an answer...
Up the stairs... and down the hall
Not to find an answer...
Just to hear the call
Of a nightbird... singing...
Come away... come away."..

could refer to Stevie in the hospital visiting her dying uncle. She held his hand when he passed away and then she ran into the hall. These words could also relate to the lonely feeling everyone experiences when someone close to them dies. All the questions you have of why they had to go (Oh I went searching for an answer, up the stairs and down the hall, not to find an answer but to hear the call). The only answer she really was looking for was reassurance that the spirit of the person was safe. The nightbird and white winged dove are references to the spirit leaving the body. This has also been confirmed in Stevie's own words in interviews. In an interview with Stevie where she said the line about "and the days go by like a strand in the wind" was about how fast the days were going by in the last few days that her uncle was alive and she was with him.

The line, "he was no more than a baby then, etc." could possibly be referring to either Stevie's nephew or Jimmy Iovine (remember, Stevie and Jimmy were a couple during Bella Donna, which he produced). Jimmy was supposedly crushed when John Lennon passed away, they were very close.

Although the majority believes this song is about Death, The Spirit, and someone close to you dying. Many believe this song is about Lindsey. For example the lines:

"and I see you doing
what i try to do for me
with the words of a poet
and the voice of a choir
and a melody... nothing else mattered."

Stevie has said that although she writes the lyrics, Lindsey puts the magic in her songs. Also the lines:

"He was no more... than a baby then
Well he... seemed broken hearted...
Something within him
But the moment... that I first laid...
Eyes... on... him... all alone...
On the edge of... seventeen"

could also possibly be interpreted as being about Lindsey. When Stevie first saw Lindsey he was all alone in the middle of a party playing his guitar. He was around seventeen, so was she.

Since Stevie has said this song is about Jimmy Iovine, and the death of her Uncle John, and John Lennon, we should assume that is so. The lyrics can easily be interpreted in this way. But, there are many of us that do believe many of Stevie's songs, as well as Lindsey's, are either about, or contain lyrics that reference each other. This may be one of those instances. For example, Stevie sings of the spirit and dying in this song, but it is also about the loss of someone very close to you. It is very plausible to believe that Stevie felt her breakup with Lindsey was a great loss in her life. At this time in her life she was not on very good terms with Lindsey, so she may have felt like she was missing something, that their relationship was completely dead. Thus, she could have thrown a reference or two to Lindsey into this song, because she may have been thinking of him while she was writing it.

In writing this interpretation, one thing is very apparent; everyone seems to take this song differently. Meaning, everyone gets something from the song that someone else does not. I think this is a testament to Stevie's writing, that she can touch so many people in so very many ways.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

Copyright 1995-2001, Martin and Lisa Adelson
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