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Music

10 songs to make you fall in love with Stevie Nicks

@jackwhatley89

One of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, the work of Stevie Nicks often falls behind one interesting, somewhat problematic, facet of her creative life — it’s extremely easy to fall in love with Stevie Nicks. It is this alluring prospect which has left much of her career rendered in a rosy palette, seemingly so unfathomably perfumed that to try and find the grit and gravel of her work is to eventually see that any grain of sand to pass Nicks’ life will eventually become a pearl.

So rather than spend the double Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s birthday attempting to find the granite centre of her career, we’re just going to wallow in our infatuation of Stephanie Lynn Nicks.

Of course, it must be said, that Nicks is not without her admirers. Not only are icons of the music industry such as Jimmy Iovine, Joe Walsh from the Eagles and Don Henley known to have become devoted to Nicks, but she can also boast two lovers within the same band as both Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood have been subjects of her lust. Below, however, we are picking out the songs which showcase Nicks as the ultimate object of our collective affection, songs that shine a light on her creativity, her ingenuity and beauty all at once.

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“What a writer wants to do is put stuff out there and make people mull it over in their minds until suddenly it’s something that’s way more important than turning on the stereo,” so said Stevie Nicks when reflecting on how she would like to be remembered. While Nicks certainly became a “pop pin-up” during her days leading Fleetwood Mac and, later, in her solo career. However, thankfully, Nicks’ work has stood far taller than any physical attraction the audience had.

In fact, there are few superlatives equipped to sum up the mercurial talent of Stevie Nicks. As one of the most prominent songwriters of her generation, she remains the only female double Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in history. Aside from the accolades, Nicks carries around with her something far more valuable, the respect of her peers. Widely thought of as one of the finest rock singers of her time, she’s also an expert songwriter too.

Here, we’ve collated ten of the singer-songwriter’s best songs from across her career, all guaranteed to make you fall in love with the icon.

10 songs to help you fall in love with Stevie Nicks:

‘Blue Denim’

Street Angel may well be one of Nicks’ least-loved albums, having been written in the middle of leaving Fleetwood Mac and her powerful prescription drug addiction, but it did hold one beautiful moment, the gorgeous ‘Blue Denim’.

“It’s a song about this guy who came into my life, but left just as quick,” she told WDVE, referring to her on and off-stage partner Buckingham. “And his eyes were that intense.” The track is equally beguiling and has a habit of capturing your mind’s eye and taking it on a ride, with the destination invariably being a place of Nicks-worship.

‘Beautiful Child’

Recorded for the tumultuous Fleetwood Mac LP, Tusk, the song stands out as one of Nicks’ finest numbers and, speaking as part of a Q&A session a few years back, Nicks revealed it was, in fact, about Beatles manager Derek Taylor. “It didn’t last very long because he was married,” Nicks says, “but it affected me very much because he told me so many stories about the Beatles.”

“Everybody has your road manager,” Stevie Nicks adds. “We had J.C., crazy J.C. (John Courage, who also worked with Savoy Brown.) Led Zeppelin had Peter Grant. The road managers are the ones who know everything. And so I learned so much about him about the whole world of the Beatles that it was stunning.”

‘After The Glitter Fades’

Perhaps Nicks’ most pertinent vocal performances, and arguably one of the most compelling reasons to love her, came on her 1981 solo album Bella Donna and ‘After The Glitter Fades’, a song which is utterly captivating.

It perfectly encapsulates Nicks’ ability to transcend the terrestrial and make her way to the heavens without so much as a look back over her shoulder. The song’s vulnerable moments are perfectly held up by Nicks as she allows her audience another look into her soul.

The track may be relatively forgotten by some but it stuck with us and country legend Glen Campbell who picked it up for a charming cover. For our money, the original is on another level and rightly sees Stevie Nicks as the woman with the magical voice.

’Rooms on Fire’

Taken from Nicks’ fourth solo studio album, 1989’s The Other Side of the Mirror, the track once again proved Nicks was a fantastic songwriter above all else and her vision of the world was equal parts sweet and beguiling.

Apparently inspired by her relationship with Rupert Hine, Nicks said of the song: “Rooms on Fire is about a girl who goes through a life like I have gone through, where she finally accepts the idea that there never will be those other things in her life. She will never be married, she will never have children, she will never do those [that] part of life.”

The track was a mainstay of Nicks’ live shows up until 1999 and hasn’t been played since. We hope that the song will get another outing soon enough.

‘Sara’

Fleetwood Mac song ‘Sara’ is incontestably the most personal track that Stevie Nicks has ever written and it offers another reason we’ve all become so entranced by her life — her extreme candour. The Tusk number captures the moment that she was left heartbroken and completely bereft by her bandmate Mick Fleetwood’s infidelity.

Nicks’ relationship with Fleetwood was never a conventional one. While the relationship itself was an affair, the drummer broke that special bond the two enjoyed, an incident that left her feeling utterly betrayed. The relationship between the pair came when the Fleetwood Mac singer found herself painfully lonely despite dating Don Henley. While on the surface, they may have appeared as the perfect rock couple, their busy schedules meant that, actually, they weren’t much of a couple at all. The situation led to Nicks starting a cocaine-fuelled affair with her bandmate. She later opened up to Oprah about the ‘doomed’ affair, saying they were the “last two people at a party” and that, “It was a doomed thing [that] caused pain for everybody.”

Writing a song about your lover deserting you for somebody else is always going to be a difficult task, one filled with raw emotion. What made Nicks’ task infinitely more difficult was that the person who had wronged her was somebody she was forced to spend time with every day and, to make things even worse, he needed to assist her creativity.

‘Dreams’

During the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s seminal record Rumours, the sirenic songbird Stevie Nicks would often escape the intensity of the studio to take a break in the King of Funk, Sly Stone’s room, as it was just down the hall in the same rehearsal space. It was there that Nicks would write one of the most beloved songs.

“It wasn’t my room, so it could be fabulous,” she recalled in the 1997 Classic Albums documentary on Rumours, something which captures her whimsy. “I knew when I wrote it that it was really special. I was really not self-conscious or insecure about showing it to the rest of the band.” The recording process was a scene that was worthy of escaping.

‘Dreams’ is a product of that highly-charged situation and sees Nicks firmly take aim at her now-ex-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham with unnerving ferocity and marksmanship.

‘Edge of Seventeen’

As well as beautiful songs that offer up an insight into Nicks’ life we should also pay tribute to the big and bold classic numbers she has in her discography, including ‘Edge of Seventeen’. The track was Nicks’ all-powerful introduction to her solo career.

Nicks the Queen of Rock was born when Jimmy Iovine moved away from working with Tom Petty to take on her 1981 album Bella Donna. “It was Jimmy that said, ‘I will produce your record and we’ll make you a Tom Petty record, expect it’ll be a girl Tom Petty record,’” Nicks recalled. “I found that very exciting and I was jumping off the walls. That’s how it all started.”

The song, which wasn’t the first release from Nicks under her new guise away from Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham, did offer something different to ‘Edge of Seventeen’ from the first two singles ‘Stop Draggin My Heart Around’ and ‘Leather and Lace’. Those two releases both featured Nicks singing as part of a duet.

While the ‘Rhiannon’ singer was naturally excited to have the great Tom Petty and Don Henley provide ample vocal support on the two previous releases, ‘Edge of Seventeen’ suddenly meant more knowing that Nicks was finally out on her own. It saw her shine as a solo star and promised that Nicks was a talent beyond any band.

‘Silver Springs’

“I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you (give me just a chance)/ You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you (was I just a fool?)” sings Stevie Nicks on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours off-cut ‘Silver Springs’. The song was originally scheduled for the tumultuous masterpiece album before being relegated to being a b-side.

The song was penned in 1976 and captured a moment we have all felt in our lives. Nicks had broken up with Lindsey Buckingham, but the guitarist had moved on rather quickly, getting a new girlfriend in a short space of time. It hurt Nicks and saw the singer write one of the most obviously gushing songs about her ex.

As well as confirming within the song that she doesn’t want to know about his love life, she also promises to haunt Buckingham forevermore. When you think about it, she certainly made good on this one.

‘Landslide’

The track features on Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1975 album, which along with Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s introduction, looked to truly kick start the success of Fleetwood Mac. This beautifully rich and luxurious song is one of the mainstays of that success. It stands among the most performed Fleetwood Mac songs and is a pivotal moment of their live show.

The song’s emotive language and Stevie Nicks’ undeniably pure and vulnerable vocal allow the mind to wander towards this track being a love song but, in truth, the track is located in more vocational areas of the soul.

It centres on a moment when Nicks, having lost her contract with Buckingham and Nicks, was truly worried that she may never achieve her dream. It is this longing that lands the song as one of Nicks’ finest.

The track is so ubiquitous with Nicks’ gorgeous and yet touchingly subtle vocal that it feels inextricable from her and her romantic past that it can feel too easily placed within the “love song” arena. The truth is that it most likely is a love song, but not as we would hope to define it.

This is an ode to Nicks’ only one true love and the only reason we all love her; music.