Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks is an American singer and songwriter who first emerged in the early 1970s as one-half of the folk-pop duo Buckingham Nicks with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham.


Early Life

She was born Stephanie Nicks on May 26, 1948, in Phoenix, Arizona; one of two children borne to Barbara (née Neppel, 1927–2011) and Jess Nicks (1925–2005). The family lived in multiple cities (Albuquerque, El Paso, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco) due to Jess’s position as the Vice President of Greyhound. As a toddler, she referred to herself as “tee-dee,” hence the nickname “Stevie.”

Barbara sheltered her daughter, who spent large amounts of time indoors and developed a fascination with fairies. From age four, her grandfather taught her to sing and harmonize. For her tenth birthday, he bought her a bundle of rockabilly and country singles. “Party Doll” by the Everly Brothers became an early favorite.


Early Music Activity

On her sixteenth birthday, Stevie received a Goya acoustic guitar. She used it to write her first song, “I’ve Loved and I’ve Lost, and I’m Sad but Not Blue.” At Arcadia High School (South California), she joined her first band, the harmony-folk combo Changing Times.

As a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School (Central Cal), she met Lindsey Buckingham, a junior member of the swim team who played in psychedelic rock hopefuls Fritz. As band members drifted to college, he invited her to join the band. After a joint spell at San José State University, where Stevie enrolled as an English major, the couple left college and hit the road with Fritz, which opened shows for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Stevie developed her flamboyant stage persona in Fritz, which disbanded in 1972 with no contract. Meanwhile, the couple roomed in LA with Keith Olsen, a budding producer with industry contacts, including promoter Gordon Perry, whose then-fiance, Lori, befriended Stevie.


Fleetwood Mac

As a duo, Buckingham and Nicks linked with Polydor and cut a 1973 album of folk-pop originals. After the deal ended, Buckingham and Nicks came to the attention of Mick Fleetwood, who needed a new guitarist and singer for his band, Fleetwood Mac.

Their first album with the band, 1975’s Fleetwood Mac (the English band’s tenth overall), reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned an FM hit with Stevie’s “Rhiannon.” The 1977 followup, Rumours, spent 31 weeks at No. 1 and spawned four hits, including Stevie’s “Dreams,” an ethereal ballad that topped the Billboard Hot 100. (Lindsey reflected on their romantic split in another Rumours hit, “Go Your Own Way”).

During a mid-1978 tour break in Maui, Stevie met Sharon Celani, an LA native and soul-harmony enthusiast whose band, Dancer, performed at Lahaina’s Blue Max nightclub. Sharon impressed Stevie with a rendition of Linda Ronstadt’s recent hit “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” (Lindsey played on Warren Zevon’s 1976 original). The two women became lifelong friends.

Stevie reconvened with Fleetwood Mac for their 1979 double-album Tusk, an eclectic set with Stevie’s hit piano ballad “Sara.” The ensuing five-leg tour spawned a concert album, Fleetwood Mac Live. Meanwhile, Stevie stockpiled material that exceeded the band’s confines. On a break from group activity, she recorded her first solo album.


Bella Donna

Stevie Nicks released her debut solo album, Bella Donna, on July 27, 1981, on Modern–Atco. It features seven self-penned originals, including the radio hits “Edge of Seventeen” and “Leather and Lace,” a country-ballad duet with Don Henley.

Side A contains songs co-written with E Street keyboardist Roy Bittan (“Think About It”) and Heartbreakers organist Benmont Tench (“Kind of Woman”). Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell wrote the album’s biggest hit, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” a dramatic call-and-response between Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. It features three-fifths of the Heartbreakers (Campbell, Petty, Tench, and drummer Stan Lynch), who also play on “Outside the Rain.”

Tench plays on six additional tracks, which also feature guitarists Waddy Watchel (of Linda Rondstadt’s band) and Davey Johnstone (of the Elton John Band) with three prolific LA sessionists: bassist Bob Glaub, drummer Russ Kunkel, and percussionist Bobbye Hall. “The Highwayman” features Campbell with Henley (drums) and Eagles colleague Don Felder.

Lori Perry and Sharon Celani sing backing vocals throughout this and Stevie’s subsequent albums.

A1. “Bella Donna” (5:21)
A2. “Kind of Woman” (3:12)
A3. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (4:04)
A4. “Think About It” (3:35)
A5. “After the Glitter Fades” (3:31)
B1. “Edge of Seventeen” (5:28)
B2. “How Still My Love” (3:54)
B3. “Leather and Lace” (3:44)
B4. “Outside the Rain” (4:19)
B5. “The Highwayman” (4:49)

Stevie first lifted “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” on July 8, 1981, as the album’s lead single (b/w “Kind of Woman”). It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and No. 3 on the Hot 100. Abroad, the song went Top 10 in South Africa (No. 4), Canada (No. 5), and Australia (No. 10).

Recorded Autumn 1980 – Spring 1981
Additional musicians
Donald Dunn – bass guitar (track 3)
Tom Moncrieff – bass guitar (track 9)
Richard Bowden – bass guitar (track 10)
Dan Dugmore – pedal steel guitar (track 5)
Bill Elliott – piano (track 1)
Phil Jones – percussion (tracks 3, 9)
Billy Payne – piano (track 4)
David Adelstein – synthesizer (track 1)

A number of finished songs did not make it on the album, including “Blue Lamp”, which was released instead on Heavy Metal soundtrack later in 1981, and “Sleeping Angel”, released on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack in 1982. These two songs were included on Nicks’ Enchanted boxed set in 1998, along with another unused Bella Donna session song, “Gold and Braid”. Three more songs from these sessions, “If You Were My Love”, “Belle Fleur” and “The Dealer”, were finally released on Nicks’ album 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault (2014).

“Leather and Lace”
Released: October 6, 1981

“Edge of Seventeen”
Released: February 5, 1982

“After the Glitter Fades”
Released: April 30, 1982

Australian Albums (Kent Music Report) 1
US Billboard 200 1
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM) 2
US Rock Albums (Billboard) 3
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 7
UK Albums (OCC) 11


The Wild Heart

Stevie Nicks released her second solo album, The Wild Heart, on June 10, 1983, on Modern.

A1. “Wild Heart” Stevie Nicks 6:08
A2. “If Anyone Falls” Nicks, Sandy Stewart 4:07
A3. “Gate and Garden” Nicks 4:05
A4. “Enchanted” Nicks 3:06
A5. “Nightbird” (with Sandy Stewart) Nicks, Stewart 4:59
B1. “Stand Back” Nicks 4:48
B2. “I Will Run to You” (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) Tom Petty 3:21
B3. “Nothing Ever Changes” Nicks, Stewart 4:09
B4. “Sable on Blond” Nicks 4:13
B5. “Beauty and the Beast” Nicks 6:02

Recorded Autumn 1982 – Spring 1983
Stevie Nicks – lead and backing vocals
Sandy Stewart – synthesizers (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9), keyboards (3), acoustic piano solo (5), lead vocals (5), additional backing vocals (5)
Roy Bittan – synthesizers (2), acoustic piano (4, 8, 9, 10)
Benmont Tench – organ (3, 4, 5), keyboards (7)
David Foster – acoustic piano (5)
David Bluefield – Oberheim OB-Xa programming (6), Oberheim DMX drum machine (6)
Prince – synthesizers (6, uncredited)
David Monday – guitars (1, 3)
Dean Parks – guitars (1)
Waddy Wachtel – guitars (2-6, 9)
Steve Lukather – guitars (6)
David Williams – guitars (6)
Mike Campbell – guitars (7)
Tom Petty – guitars (7), lead and backing vocals (7)
Don Felder – guitars (8)
Roger Tausz – bass (1)
Bob Glaub – bass (2, 4, 8)
Kenny Edwards – bass (5, 9)
Howie Epstein – bass (7)
John Beal – bass (10)
Brad Smith – drums (1, 3), percussion (3)
Russ Kunkel – drums (2, 4, 8), drum overdubs (6)
Marvin Caruso – drums (5, 6)
Chet McCracken – drum overdubs (5)
Stan Lynch – drums (7)
Mick Fleetwood – drums (9)
Bobbye Hall – percussion (2, 4, 6, 8)
Ian Wallace – percussion (6)
Phil Kenzie – saxophone (8)
Sharon Celani – backing vocals
Lori Perry-Nicks – backing vocals
Carolyn Brooks – backing vocals (2, 10)
String section on “Beauty and the Beast”
Paul Buckmaster – string arrangements and conductor
Kenneth Whitfield – string arrangements
Jon Abramowitz, Seymour Barab, Jesse Levy and Frederick Zlotkin – cello
Gene Bianco – harp
Julien Barber, Theodore Israel, Jesse Levine and Harry Zaratzian – viola
Harry Cykman, Peter Dimitriades, Regis Eandiorio, Lewis Eley, Max Ellen, Paul Gershman, Harry Glickman, Raymond Kunicki, Marvin Morgenstern, John Pintavalle, Matthew Raimondi, Herbert Sorkin, Ruth Waterman and Paul Winter – violinProduction
Jimmy Iovine – producer
Gordon Perry – producer (1, 3)
Tom Petty – producer (7)
Shelly Yakus – engineer, mixing (2, 4–10)
Goodnight Dallas (Dallas)Record Plant (Los Angeles)Record Plant (New York)Studio 55 (Los Angeles)A&M (Hollywood)The Hit Factory (New York)”Stand Back”
Released: May 19, 1983[2]
“If Anyone Falls”
Released: September 3, 1983[3]
“Nightbird”
Released: November 30, 1983


Rock a Little

Stevie Nicks released her third solo album, Rock a Little, on November 18, 1985, on Modern.


The Other Side of the Mirror

Stevie Nicks released her fourth solo album, The Other Side of the Mirror, on May 30, 1989, on Modern.


Discography:

  • Buckingham Nicks (1973 • Buckingham Nicks)
  • Bella Donna (1981)
  • The Wild Heart (1983)
  • Rock a Little (1985)
  • The Other Side of the Mirror (1989)

Sources:

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