Leather And Lace
by Stevie Nicks (featuring Don Henley)

Album: Bella Donna (1981)
Charted: 6


  • Written by Stevie Nicks, this song about a beautifully incongruent couple was inspired by her past relationships, notably with Don Henley and Lindsey Buckingham. Nicks and Buckingham were a couple when they joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975; a year later they split and and she started dating Henley. They were together for about two years (see the Songfacts for "Sara" for more), and remained close after their breakup.

    Nicks, who dated some of the most prominent men in music (Joe Walsh among them), often kept a working relationship and friendship with these guys long after their romance had fizzled.
  • 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 two 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."
  • Don Henley performed this with Nicks when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2019. She was the first woman to enter the Hall as both a solo artist and with a group (Fleetwood Mac), something 22 men (but not Henley) had accomplished.

Comments: 15

  • Leeann from Alabama Will always make me think of Steve
  • Elizabeth Dacus from Hilo HawaiiLove this song it is, as is life... Complicated when you are a singer "dating" guitar playin' dudes...
  • Marina from North Canton, OhNever felt the need to comment though I've been on this site a couple years now, but I just had to say that I found the Smoking Popes version of this song that Jeff in Austin mentioned, and while diehard fans of the song may not appreciate it, it's worth listening to for it's uniqueness! Thanks Jeff!!
  • Shawna from Phoenix, AzDavid and Greg: I only transcribed verbatim what is quoted on Stevie's "TimeSpace" album, and I assume it was written by her. But thanks for your comments/contributions. :-)
  • Tom from El Paso, Txshatter with words... impossible to follow.Think...before you speak. my best friend of 20 years (Sarah) and I almost said some things that we would have later regretted.Tom, El Paso, Tx
  • Liz from Smallville, KsIn my opinion, this is the best duet of all time. I am in love with Don Henley's voice. And Stevie is my favorite female rock singer. To me,this song is perfect. Heaven
  • Jeff from Austin, TxThere's a fantastic live cover of this song floating around the net by The Smoking Popes.
  • David from Broomall, PaGreg (Terrell, TX) is correct in correcting Shawna (Phoenix, AZ) that Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter ultimately remained married until Jenning's death (2002), BUT, based upon Tina Leahy's review of a 2002 Stevie Nicks concert "...Stevie talked about how she had written "Leather and Lace" for Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter, but that they had split up before she gave it to them and decided not to give it to them, but did it herself" (see www.nicksfix.com/reviews_artist_
    rights_feb26_2002.htm, and scroll down to Tina Leahy's review). The actual song "Leather and Lace" (sung by Henley and Nicks) was NOT sung on the duet album "Leather and Lace" put out by Jennings and Colter in 1981. I have not yet found anything on the Internet about Jennings and Colter recording the song, however, I am open to correction if necessary.
  • Tom from Marble Falls, ArThis is one of my favorite Stevie Nicks songs. God, I was madly in love with her twenty something years ago!
  • Michael from San Diego, Ca"You in the moonlight, with your sleepy eyes, could you ever love a man like me?" Hard rockin' Don Henley did a great job on this touching & poignant love song.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiagreat song , never tire of hearing it.......
  • Tracey from Dalzell, ScI think this is an incredible song. My husband and I choose this to be our wedding song. we are two different people who feel in love and this song holds a very special meaning to the both of us. Since i am the Harley rider and he;s the military man it truly touched us. I wish there were more songs like this!!
    Tracey and Jon, South Carolina
  • Shannon from Palisade, CoNothing deep to add here, just thought I'd mention that this was the song my husband and I danced to for our first dance at our wedding! I love this song so much, its so personal. When I met my dear husband, he was a hardcore Harley man, and always wore this beat up leather jacket, and I always wore this hopelessly outdated (totally 80's) stonewashed denim jacket with a panel of lace on the back. Leather and lace. We still stop and slow dance every time we hear it on the radio!
  • Melissa from Seattle, Wai think that don and stevie all along were meant to sing this song together .. i dont think it would have ever been the same if some other artists had recorded it
  • Greg from Terrell, Tx"Before Colter and Jennings could record the song, they broke up."

    Nope! They did in fact record it, and they never broke up. They were married 'til Waylon's death a few years ago.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Famous Singers' First FilmsSong Writing

A look at the good (Diana Ross, Eminem), the bad (Madonna, Bob Dylan) and the peculiar (David Bowie, Michael Jackson) film debuts of superstar singers.

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

Christopher CrossSongwriter Interviews

The man who created Yacht Rock with "Sailing" wrote one of his biggest hits while on acid.

Tanita TikaramSongwriter Interviews

When she released her first album in 1988, Tanita became a UK singing sensation at age 19. She talks about her darkly sensual voice and quirky songwriting style.

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.