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Nicks and Henley dated for about two years starting in 1976. Nicks had recently broken up with Lindsey Buckingham, who was her band mate in Fleetwood Mac. The lyrics are based on Stevie's past relationships, including those with Henley and Buckingham.
In the liner notes to her TimeSpace album, Nicks explained: "I wrote this song because Waylon Jennings called me up and asked me to write a song called 'Leather and Lace.' It was to be a duet for him and his wife (Jessi Colter), and I worked very hard trying to explain what it was like to be in love with someone in the same business, and how to approach dealing with each other. It's probably the hardest thing in the world to do because it falls out of your hands and into the hands of the world, which tends to want you to not be able to handle it. I have to tell you now that Mr. Don Henley was pretty much responsible for this song because he came over every day and told me to either start over, or that I was on the right track, and he made me finish it (because I almost gave up many times). When it was finally finished, Don and I made a very simple demo of it - he sang it with me, and it was truly wonderful. And then I found out that Waylon and Jessi were breaking up, and Waylon wanted to just sing it by himself. After all the work I had put into the philosophy of 2 people dealing with this problem, I told Waylon that only 4 people in this world could sing this song: he and his wife, or myself and Don Henley. Don and I had been going out for quite awhile, and, bless his heart, he did sing it with me, and again, as fate would have it, it became one of the most special love songs that I would ever write... and remains that, even today, after all these years. All in all, it was an unforgettable experience, as was he. Blame it on my wild heart."
This was Henley's first hit away from the Eagles and one of Nicks' first hits away from Fleetwood Mac. They both had very successful solo careers.
When she toured for the Bella Donna album, Stevie performed this song with her backup singers Lori Perry and Sharon Celani sharing the microphone. With just the female perspective, Henley's part was altered:
"Could you ever love a man like me" >> "Could you ever love someone like me"
"Sometimes I'm a strong man" >> "Sometimes I'm a strong one."
Since emerging from MySpace with her hit "Bubbly," Colbie has become a top songwriter, even crafting a hit with Taylor Swift.