What does Edge of Seventeen mean?

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Stevie Nicks: Edge of Seventeen Meaning


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Song Released: 1982

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Edge of Seventeen Lyrics

Just like the white winged dove...
Sings a song...
Sounds like shes singing...
Whoo... whoo... whoo...
Just like the white winged dove...
Sings a song...
Sounds like shes singing...
Ooo baby... ooo... said ooo

And the days go...


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    Feb 2nd, 2013 2:12pm report

    Stevie has already been open about the inspiration of the song (the deaths of her uncle & John Lennon; with the disconnected title rooted in an unrelated and misheard conversation with Tom Petty's ex-wife).

    But putting that knowledge aside and interpreting the words on their own (including the title), the song strikes me as a stunning piece of poetry about the collision of youth and death. Having dealt with a dying loved one, and taken daily walks down seemingly endless hospital corridors, I get a chill every time I hear the part about a flood of tears and searching through hallways for an answer that never comes......


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    Feb 12th, 2007 2:30pm report

    Actually you are partially right. The song was written about John Lennon's death. It was also written about her Uncle John's death. They both died around the same time. The line in the song that goes: "I went searching for an answer up that stairs and down the hall. I did not find an answer but I did hear the call of a nightbird." comes from when she and her brother were alone with her Uncle John in the hospital and he died. She did go searching for an answer down the hall. The song is about a few different things as many of her songs are. It's a very personal song for me because I never had a clue what she was talking about until my younger brother died at 23 of cancer and I did go down the hall as she did searching for an answer that I could not find. I listened to the song about a week later and when that line came up I started to cry. I looked up the meaning on her website and was blown away.


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    Jul 12th, 7:27pm report

    If it's a song about death, that's cool, but it would definitely make more sense if it was about a older woman falling for a young man. Because I'd be lying if I didnt find someone attractive being way older than him and wishing or possibly saying.." if I were younger." The sea changes color ( we get older) but the sea does not change ( the heart wants what it wants).
    But the searching for answers doesn't fit here. So naturally it could be a about death, or why we have to age, why we have to want, why we have to abide by certain rules...ah..either way, I love Stevie and all her songs.


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    Jan 12th, 2020 1:22pm report

    Using actual interpretation of the lyrics is absolutely different to having knowledge/research on Nicks' meaning. If we are interpreting the song then what she was inspired by is secondary to the work she has placed into the world.

    The song provides evidence of relationship and intimacy which is not necessarily erotic but sensuous.The protagonist intimates having feelings they will act on, "But the moment that I first laid/Eyes on him, all alone" and the lyrics,"He was no more than a baby then
    Well he seemed broken hearted" connotes interest in the other.

    To add to the idea of intimate relationship we have Nicks' use of the white winged dove - a symbol of purity and love. This symbol is a key to connecting the observation of the other as one based on feelings of closeness maybe even platonic more than erotic or if erotic not so much based on the pornographically crass and animal but more of the feelings of physical attraction that is normal and healthy.

    So while it appears that the internet today gives up the roots of a song it is also important that the song stands on its own merit -what it is saying versus what Nicks personally experienced.


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    Feb 21st, 2019 2:43pm report

    Overstand, wow, wow, wow are you incorrect and you can stick the misandry where the sun doesn't shine. Your interpretation does show that personal experience can/does influence what one reads into things.
    Nicks has spoken about her uncle and Lennon's death had an influence on her and how a conversation with Petty's wife gave her the title of the song.
    Good luck with life, get some therapy.
    Peace, Love, Unity and Respect to you and all.


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    Oct 3rd, 2017 10:23am report

    It's about tom petty's relationship with his first wife.


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    Sep 25th, 2014 9:04pm report

    I never paid much attention to the song until I much older. I instantly realized is about John Lennon, though I had not previously heard so. She would have been 17 when she first saw him, not when he died at age 40, in 1980, when she was herself much older. It is I am sure as said above also about her relationship with Buckingham, and although I did not know her brother died, him as well. It is a beautiful, dreamlike song, like all of hers, which I appreciate, because I often dream of those I love or have loved who passed over, including Lennon.
    I just want to state that it has NOTHING to to with wanting to seduce a younger man, nor about giving up virginity to anyone. Those are very ignorant ideas, probably from people who are only aware of the song via Beyonce's sampling of it.


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    Sep 23rd, 2014 9:54am report

    I thought it was referring to a older women in love with a younger man on the edge of 17 who is broken hearted. The hall is empty ( he dies.) Maybe she thinks of joining him but the nightbird says come away. She goes up and down the corridor for answers. She is haunted by his songs day and night. The only way is not at all. (drugs. sleep.) She is older than him could refer to the passing of time.


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    May 6th, 2014 5:07pm report

    I think she is singing about JANIS JOPLIN,collapsing on stage ,Stevie was 17 when she saw her. Just like the white winged dove 'sings a song ,sounds like shes singing' it to me.


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    Apr 17th, 2013 4:39pm report

    well at the part when shes talking about the clouds not expecting the rain, she talks about how death is rain and we are the clouds not expecting it. so yeah :):)


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    Mar 25th, 2013 3:27pm report

    Regarding the "only problem" being that Stevie "was 32 when Lennon was killed" -
    Stevie would have been "on the Edge of 17" when she would have seen him (as literally - *literally* - everyone did) on Ed Sullivan. That was *huge.* You have *no* idea just how huge unless you lived during or at least around that time. It was just as big as when they killed Kennedy.
    Think about it.


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    Jun 12th, 2012 6:49am report

    I'm not a rock listener but loved this song she's not singing about Lennon or Tommy I've done a lot of research to this song u males are really wrong she is singing about a women's experience losing her virginity to a dog ass male( which most do)the sea changing colors...the flow... looking for him...he bailed the hurt...white wing dove purity listen to what she is saying edge of seventeen becoming a grown up or least women think when doing this. The song she is singing to u ooh, ooh, ooh that's why bloggers don't get any


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    Mar 24th, 2010 3:45am report

    Great songs allow yourself to correlate them into your life. That's the whole point of music... To get your heart n spirit into a rhythm of emotions and memories. Stevie is very good at doing just that. If you look upon the history of rock n roll, there are artist such as herself, John Lennon and Paul McCartney that have a natural sense to place words, rhythm and harmony into our bio-rhythm. Me... I found it interesting to discover her reasoning behind that song. The beauty of that song is that it inspires one to search for their own meaning. Way to go Stevie... How on earth did you have such forward thoughts, so early in your life? I'll forever by your fan!


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    Feb 3rd, 2010 2:34pm report

    A MILF wanting to please a 17 year old virgin boy.


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    Nov 22nd, 2007 11:01am report

    The line 'the sea changes color but the sea does not change' is reputedly a nod to her more esoteric interests -- she doesn't have a reputation as a 'white witch' for no reason, or so I've heard a few people say. The 'sea' line is said to be in reference to a kind of 'initiation' or change in perspective. The line 'crystal visions' in the song 'dreams' is related too, apparently. It's supposedly a cocaine reference, and drugs are associated with visions and mystical initiation and what have you, but the primary underlying theme in a lot of her lyrics ties in with her subtle 'white witch' persona -- or reality.


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    Jul 15th, 2006 7:52pm report

    Yeah, you are right sorry I should've been more specific because upon further research I've discovered it was partially about Lennon dying and it crushing Lindsey who was really close to him. The term 'edge of seventeen' came from a conversation with Tom Petty's wife in which she misheard her saying "age of seventeen" refering to when they met. Stevie liked the sound of that and wrote a song about it. Stevie met Lindsey at a party when they were around seventeen. So the song is about death and spirits. So yes she wasn't seventeen when Lennon died but the song still relates to his death...just not that line. Thanks for the comment!


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    Jul 15th, 2006 7:06pm report

    Chicken: The only problem, Stevie Nicks was 32 when Lennon was killed.

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