Is This Demo a Lost Prince Collaboration With Stevie Nicks?
Neither ever confirmed participation in a five-minute jam session, supposedly dating to the early '80s, that's been passed around on the internet for years. Some fans think they hear Prince's funky guitar style and Nicks' distinctive vocals, while others say the demo's technology and approach indicate that it was recorded much later. Decide for yourself by listening to the track below.
"All For You" would add context to a musical relationship that already produced Nicks' No. 5 smash "Stand Back." The fan favorite grew out of a moment when Nicks was listening to the radio on the day of her 1983 wedding to now-ex-husband Kim Anderson and heard the 1999 hit "Little Red Corvette." Nicks' gears began to turn.
"It just gave me an incredible idea, so I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument – and it was to become one of the most important of my songs," Nicks wrote in the liner notes for her 1991 greatest-hits album, Timespace.
Still, she felt compelled to discuss Prince's influence on "Stand Back." "I didn't have to call and tell him that I kind of ripped off his song," she told Billboard in 2016, "but I did because I'm honest."
After putting together a basic recording, Nicks asked if Prince might like to visit the studio and hear the tune he inspired. “I know that 50 percent of it is yours — and, what are you doing later?" Nicks asked him. "Because we're here at Sunset Sound. Do you have any interest in hearing it?"
Prince arrived within the hour. He promptly headed to the keyboard and mapped out a piano part. “That was the coolest thing we’ve ever heard,” Nicks remembered thinking. “Takes him an hour; he gives me a little ‘I don’t really know you’ hug – and, uh, he’s gone, like a little spirit.”
Nicks described Prince as "so uncanny, so wild" in Timothy White's 1991 book, Rock Lives.. "He spoiled me for every band I've ever had because nobody can exactly re-create — not even with two piano players — what Prince did all by his little self."
"Stand Back" emerged as a smash hit from her second album, 1983's The Wild Heart, though Prince wasn't credited on the song. She suggested working together again sometime in the future. In response, Prince sent along an instrumental cassette tape and asked if she would write lyrics for it.
"It was so overwhelming, that 10-minute track, that I listened to it and I just got scared," Nicks told the Star Tribune in 2011. "I called him back and said, 'I can't do it. I wish I could. It's too much for me.' I'm so glad that I didn't, because he wrote it, and it became 'Purple Rain.'"
Unfortunately, they never shared a stage together, leaving one of Nicks' dreams unrealized. She ruminated on the possibility before her second introduction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
"Had Prince not passed away, Prince would have come and played on a song with me because I get to do one or two or three songs," she told Rolling Stone in 2018. "He would have come and played on his and my song for the first time in history since we never got to play ['Stand Back'] together on stage. That’s the sadness that there are a few people that I would really loved to have shared this with, but life goes on and they are in my heart, so it’s okay. I have to let that part go."