Inspired by a Prince song, “Stand Back” is supposedly based on the power that can be unleashed during a heated argument, but the song's rock-induced hooks and sharp keyboard instantly trivialize Nicks' lyrical intentions.
“Stand Back” became Stevie Nicks' fifth Top 40 single, stemming from her second solo album entitled The Wild Heart, released in 1983. Nicks had a monumental task ahead of her after the release of her stellar debut album, Bella Donna, in 1981, which netted her four Top 40 singles, with two of them climbing into the Top Ten. Prince originally made it into the studio to play keyboards on the first couple of drafts of “Stand Back,” but it's Sandy Stewart's work that graces the final product, along with Toto's Steve Lukather on guitar. The song was an excellent choice in introducing The Wild Heart, emitting a marvelous rock & roll power through Nick's emotive vocals and through the depth of the soaring keyboards. Like “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stand Back” is rock savvy and forceful, raising the song's stock slightly from a mainstream radio tune to something more expressive. When Fleetwood Mac released The Chain in 1992, a hearty four-CD retrospective of the band, it included a live, previously unreleased version of “Stand Back” with Lindsey Buckingham providing some astonishing guitar work. This rendition, because of Buckingham's guitar prowess and the live atmosphere (where Nicks truly shines), definitely trumps the original. Even so, “Stand Back”‘s most familiar version surely deserves its Top Five status and serves as one of Stevie Nicks’ best rock songs.