Like Scheherezade of the 1001 Arabian Nights, Stevie Nicks has been portrayed as an enchantress, who spends her evenings telling thrilling stories to her enraptured audiences. Unlike Scheherezade, who created her stories with pure imagination, often, Stevie's stories are her artful recollections of her own life's adventures.
And, among these tales, Thousand Days is her story of her relationship with Prince and its demise.
The closest you've ever come to me
Was to help me up the stairs
You stood in the middle of the stairway
You nearly dragged me up the stairs
"You've been asleep."
"Well, I've been asleep for how long?" she says
"Why do you question me?"
He says, "You never cared about time before, my friend."
Stevie begins her story by saying that the closest Prince ever came to her was to "drag her up the stairs."
Immediately, it is apparent that even when they were close, he was still more distant than she wanted him to be. And when he did come closer, physically, at least, to help her up the stairs, it was when she had passed out in his house after smoking pot. And, when he did help her, he stood, foreboding, above her and angrily dragged her up the stairs. When she woke up, he was annoyed and told her that she had been asleep. When she asks him how long she'd been asleep, Prince asks her "Why do you question me?" and says that she had never cared about time before. This could mean that either Stevie had not passed out from drug use in front of Prince before, but this new behavior has angered him. It could also mean that musically, when she had collaborated with him on "Stand Back" and shared her musical ideas with him, she had not questioned his judgment nor had she worried about time passing, since she was so involved with her music.
Seems like a thousand days since you've been gone...
Seems like a thousand days since you've been gone...
After that incident, Stevie and Prince lost contact. And, she feels the loss intensely. Yet, it feels like a long time has passed. Literally, a thousand days is slightly under three years, but, like the heroine of the 1001 Arabian Nights, Stevie has lived a thousand different tales and changed a great deal in that time.
You're not my friend, you're not my love
And this is something that we really don't discuss
If there is no time, and there is no place.
And, if there was, well, you'd never leave a trace
And as all arch angels do to you
And as all arch enemies will finally do to you, too
Well, I found you
The first two lines here are taken directly from "Whole Lotta Trouble," a song which Stevie has said is about Lindsey. And, like Lindsey, Prince is another man who was once an important part of her life, who has retreated away from her. Just as with Lindsey, there is no appropriate time or place for Prince to become a part of her life. The past has created too many difficulties in the relationship, despite the love that exists. Yet, Stevie knows, that even if it were easier, Prince would not re-enter her life, he wouldn't "leave a trace" behind in her life. And, though the song is not about Lindsey, the nature of the breakup with Prince and his reaction to her problems is strangely like Lindsey's, according to the story Stevie tells in this song. And, I think, in some way, this may explain why she chose to use the lines from "Whole Lotta Trouble" and why, as the song progresses, she writes more generally about the great loves of her life, since this situation has all happened to her before, with Lindsey.
For Stevie, angels are an important part of her work and her world. And, she has referred to her loves as angels. In this case, she makes a general statement, that the great loves, or the arch angels, and the great nemeses, the arch enemies, find her. In her life, the great loves have found her somehow, or she has found them, and some of them, like Prince and Lindsey, have turned into arch enemies, yet they have still found her. At the end, Stevie reminds Prince that she is the one who found him (like, by the way, she found Lindsey), and, that she wanted him to be a part of her life from the very beginning since she was the one who drew him in.
Quiet now, songbird, just for one night
Well, I know that you love to sing
And, oh baby, well, I know that you love to write
You live by the light of the moon
and I live by light of desire
Ooh, such words to her over the phone
"Just how many people are there with you now"
This next verse is confusing in that it isn't completely clear whether it is completely Prince's words to her or hers to him. Both of them are songbirds, who sing every night, since they both tour frequently. One is asking the other to stop singing, just for a night. Similarly, both Stevie and Prince are known as prolific songwriters, and both have had to leave stable situations, Fleetwood Mac and Warner Bros., respectively, to be able to release more of their voluminous output.
Stevie has often used the moon as a symbol in her work, and in her life, from "Sisters of the Moon", to the moon necklaces she wears. She often sings at night, by the light of the moon, and is known for staying up late and conducting interviews late at night as well. Prince, too, is a creature of the night. The next line also applies to both of them, since Prince, in the 1980s especially, was known for his explicit lyrics, videos, and persona, while Stevie also was known for her many affairs and her drug use, both a result of desire. The last line is more clearly Prince's question to her, about how many people are around her. She has lived with large numbers of people, and in the 80s, while she was using drugs, the usual crowd was increased by the hangers-on of the drug circles, which Prince, as a private person, did not want to join, a problem which Stevie also faced in her relationship with Lindsey.
Well, I can see the trouble
The sun is here today and I requested a storm
But I like some kind of TIME/LIFE edition,
Being the only thing that I really have to remember
The great singers and the great players
Stevie can see the trouble with her relationship with Prince, and in general with her relationships. Though she wants him to behave a certain way, he cannot always act the way she wants him to – she wants him to be a storm, yet "the sun is here today." In spite of that she soldiers on in her life, and her music, becoming a TIME/LIFE edition, a classic who is becoming less relevant and more of a novelty, just like the TIME/LIFE music collections.
She must have had a feeling that she was becoming less relevant in the mid 1990s, as her solo music and Fleetwood Mac music were appearing on 80s collections, and grunge music was in full swing. So, as her music becomes less relevant, all she has to remember of the great loves who inspired her music (who were great singers and players) is the tradition, or the memory of how things were in the past, and the competition she had with the musicians she loved, like Prince.
And if the sun warms up the rain,
And the rain puts out the sun
Why does the greatest love become the greatest pain?
Here she sees herself as the sun who found Prince, who is the rain, and provided him with her love and warmth, only to have him turn around and use her vulnerability against her, and cause her pain.
Though she asks why the greatest love causes the greatest pain, yet she knows that because she gave him so much, she suffered so much pain when he left her behind.
So, where are you?
Sometimes I hear you crying
and I wake up, and still I wake up crying
Now, Stevie looks back on the relationship and asks where he is, wondering if he will re-emerge. She knows that the relationship causes him pain too, and she admits that it still hurts her too, and she "wakes up crying." Like Scherezade, Stevie has provided her audience with another wonderful story, and has kept herself alive another night by telling her stories, from the stage as she has for so long. Yet, the failure of her relationship with Prince, in particular, and the breakups with all of her former loves cause her pain, and perhaps, she hopes that she will, like Scherezade, wake up on the 1001st day to "happily ever after" rather than more tears.
(The interpretations to these lyrics were compiled through discussions on the message boards of the Penguin, The Ledge. It is entirely possible that the artists had something completely different in mind.)