"Edge of Seventeen", also known by its alternate title, "Just Like the White Winged Dove" drawn from the first line of its refrain, is a song written and recorded by the American singer-songwriter, Stevie Nicks, the third single from her successful 1981 solo debut album, Bella Donna. Written by Nicks to express the greif resulting from the death of her uncle Johathan and the murder of John Lennon during the same week of December 1980, the song features a distinctive, chugging 16th-note guitar riff, and a simple chord structure typical Nicks' songs.
Released as a single in early 1982, it just missed out on the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 making #11 and the live version on the B-side reached #26 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The album track had previously made the top 5 of Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart in 1981, peaking at number four. It is one of Nicks' most enduring and recognizable songs, and has been covered by many artists. The distinctive riff was sampled by Destiny's Child in their 2001 song "Bootylicious", with Nicks making a cameo appearance in the music video playing guitar.
According to Nicks, the title came from a conversation she had with Tom Petty's first wife, Jane, about the couple's first meeting. Jane said they met "at the age of seventeen", but her strong Southern accent made it sound like "edge of seventeen" to Nicks. The singer liked the sound of the phrase so much that she told Jane she would write a song for it and give her credit for the inspiration.
Although Nicks had originally planned to use the title for a song about Tom and Jane Petty, the deaths of both her uncle Jonathan and John Lennon during the same week of December 1980 inspired a new song for which Nicks used the title. Nicks's producer and friend, Jimmy Iovine, was a close friend of Lennon, and Nicks felt helpless to comfort him. Soon after, she flew home to Phoenix, Arizona, to be with her uncle Jonathan, who was dying of cancer. She remained with her uncle and his family until his death.
Throughout the song a distinctive 16th note guitar riff is played by Waddy Watchel, progressing through C, D, and E-minor chords. During the bridge, the chords alternate twice between E-minor and C. Wachtel claimed that The Police's "Bring on the Night" was the inspiration for the riff.
As is typical of Nicks' songs, the lyrics are highly symbolic. Nicks has said that the white-winged dove represents the spirit leaving the body on death, and some of the verses capture her experience of the days leading up to her uncle Jonathan's death.
Perhaps appropriate for a song named for a mondegreen, the line "Just like a white-winged dove" is sometimes misheard as "Just like a one-winged dove" or "just like the world we know",also many hear it as; "just like the wild wind does sings a song...", and "just like the ones we love' thus "Edge of Seventeen" has been cited frequently as a source of misheard lyrics since its release, and appears on a number of misheard lyrics web sites and in books of famous misheard lyrics.
In popular cultureEdit
The song is featured in the movie School of Rock and in the video game Grand Theft Auto. The title of the film Edge of Seventeen is based on the song title. The song is parodied in an episode of South Park, wherein it is erroneously played by Fleetwood Mac.
In an episode of American Dad! ("Flirting with Disaster"), Roger sings the song while high on cocaine.
The song is downloadable content for Rock Band 3.
Canadian rocker Jonas Tomalty made a cover of this song on his eponymous album, titled simply "Edge of Seventeen".
It was also covered by Lindsay Lohan on her 2005 album A Little More Personal (Raw). This version was performed by Lohan at the 33rd American Music Awards.
The distinctive guitar riff was sampled and used in the Destiny's Child song "Bootylicious". Stevie also appears in the video for that song.
In the ESPN Classic show Cheap Seats, Randy and Jason Sklar sing a parody of the chorus referring to the game Scrabble.
Professional wrestler Portia Perez uses the song as her entrance music.