Stevie Nicks, the legendary singer-songwriter and member of Fleetwood Mac, has captivated audiences for decades with her unique voice and poetic lyrics. One of her most iconic songs, “Edge of Seventeen,” has become a timeless classic since its release in 1981. In this article, we will explore the meaning behind the lyrics to “Edge of Seventeen” and delve into the inspiration and significance of this powerful song.

The Story Behind “Edge of Seventeen”

Before we dive into the lyrics, it’s important to understand the context in which “Edge of Seventeen” was written. The song was inspired by the death of two significant figures in Stevie Nicks’ life: the death of her uncle and the assassination of John Lennon. These tragic events deeply affected Nicks and served as the catalyst for the creation of this emotional and introspective song.

The Loss of Stevie Nicks’ Uncle

Nicks’ uncle, Jonathan, played a pivotal role in her life. He was a guiding figure and a source of inspiration for her musical journey. His sudden passing left Nicks devastated and searching for solace. The lyrics to “Edge of Seventeen” reflect her grief and the profound impact her uncle had on her life.

Lines such as “Just like the white-winged dove / Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing” evoke a sense of longing and nostalgia. The white-winged dove symbolizes hope and spirituality, suggesting that Nicks’ uncle continues to watch over her even after his death.

The Assassination of John Lennon

Another significant event that influenced the lyrics to “Edge of Seventeen” was the assassination of John Lennon in December 1980. Nicks was a close friend of Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, and his death had a profound impact on her.

The lyrics “And those who can’t rise above / We’re gonna lose the ones we love” reflect the sense of loss and the realization that even the most influential and beloved figures can be taken away in an instant. Nicks channels her grief into the song, creating a powerful tribute to her friend.

Decoding the Lyrics

Now that we have explored the inspiration behind “Edge of Seventeen,” let’s take a closer look at the lyrics and their deeper meaning.

“Just like the white-winged dove / Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing”

These opening lines are often interpreted as a metaphor for the eternal nature of music and its ability to transcend time and space. The white-winged dove represents purity and spirituality, while the act of singing symbolizes the expression of one’s innermost emotions.

Nicks’ powerful vocals and heartfelt delivery further emphasize the emotional depth of the song. The lyrics suggest that even in the face of loss and tragedy, music can provide solace and healing.

“Words from a poet and she’s sure she’s seen them all”

This line highlights the influence of poetry on Nicks’ songwriting. As a talented lyricist, Nicks draws inspiration from various sources, including poetry. The reference to a poet suggests that Nicks has encountered countless words and experiences throughout her life, shaping her perspective and artistic expression.

“Just like the white-winged dove / Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing”

This repetition of the opening lines reinforces the central theme of the song. The white-winged dove serves as a recurring symbol, representing hope, spirituality, and the enduring power of music.

“Well, then suddenly / There was no one left standing”

These lines allude to the sudden loss and emptiness that Nicks experienced after the deaths of her uncle and John Lennon. The absence of those who were once pillars of support and inspiration leaves Nicks feeling alone and vulnerable.

The Impact of “Edge of Seventeen”

“Edge of Seventeen” has had a lasting impact on both fans and fellow musicians. Its powerful lyrics and Nicks’ soulful delivery have resonated with audiences around the world. The song has been covered by numerous artists, further solidifying its status as a timeless classic.

Influence on Contemporary Artists

The influence of “Edge of Seventeen” can be seen in the work of many contemporary artists. Taylor Swift, a renowned singer-songwriter, has cited Stevie Nicks as one of her biggest inspirations. Swift’s song “Love Story” contains references to “Edge of Seventeen,” showcasing the enduring impact of Nicks’ music.

Recognition and Awards

“Edge of Seventeen” has received widespread acclaim and recognition over the years. In 2019, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, solidifying its status as a musical masterpiece. The song’s timeless appeal and emotional resonance continue to captivate audiences to this day.


1. What is the meaning behind the title “Edge of Seventeen”?

The title “Edge of Seventeen” refers to a specific moment in Nicks’ life when she was on the cusp of adulthood. It represents a time of transition, self-discovery, and the challenges that come with growing up.

2. Are there any other notable covers of “Edge of Seventeen”?

Yes, several notable artists have covered “Edge of Seventeen” over the years. One notable cover is by American singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus, who performed the song during her “Bangerz Tour” in 2014. Other artists, such as The Chicks and Lindsay Lohan, have also covered the song.

3. How did the song perform on the charts?

Upon its release, “Edge of Seventeen” reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song’s success solidified Nicks’ status as a solo artist and further cemented her place in music history.

4. Did Stevie Nicks write “Edge of Seventeen” by herself?

Yes, Stevie Nicks wrote “Edge of Seventeen” entirely on her own. The song showcases her exceptional songwriting skills and her ability to convey deep emotions through her lyrics.

5. What is the overall message of “Edge of Seventeen”?

The overall message of “Edge of Seventeen” is one of resilience, hope, and the power of music to heal. Despite the pain and loss that Nicks experienced, she finds solace in her art and uses it as a means of self-expression and catharsis.


“Edge of Sevent