The song peaked at #3 on the American Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. This song was not successful in Europe, where it reached only #50 in Britain.
The two singers also duetted on the songs "Insider" (from Petty's 1981 album Hard Promises) and "I Will Run to You" (from Nicks' 1983 album The Wild Heart), and frequently performed impromptu live versions of these and 1960s classic "Needles and Pins" in many shows throughout the 1980s.
The lyrics are about a woman who feels weighed down by relationships and wants to part despite a strong sentimental attachment to her lover. The melody is described by All Music as "dark and sinister", probably because of the dense drumming of Stan Lynch which is the most prominent feature of the song's rhythm. Apart from the intro before the first verse and a solo following the second verse (where there is some fairly heavy riffing), however, the guitar sound is laid-back in typical Heartbreakers style. The song was originally recorded for Petty's album Hard Promises, but the producers felt the song came from a female point of view and it was left unreleased until it was agreed to be put on the Bella Donna album instead. A demo version of the song, recorded without Nicks, was eventually released on Petty's boxed set Playback in 1995.
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" was released as a 7" vinyl single in the picture sleeve featured above in many territories. Promo 7" singles were also released in some territories, including the US, in the same picture sleeve, but the disc featured the title track on both sides.
A highly collectable 12" promo single in a unique glossy sleeve was released in the US.
It was made available to download on February 11, 2011 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which utilizes real guitar/bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits/keyboards in addition to vocals.