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Music

Listen to Stevie Nicks' iconic isolated vocals on the first take of 'Leather and Lace'

@notmyyaztattoo

Stevie Nicks has a distinct and unique voice that rings out beyond the musical backing of any track you hear her on, no matter what it consists of. Thinking of any Fleetwood Mac song, despite mick Fleetwood’s expert drums or Lindsay Buckingham’s snorting guitar licks, the most memorable part, by far, is always Nicks’ voice.

This is absolutely true for her solo work as well and her song ‘Leather and Lace’ i a shining moment of her talent. Of course, the music shows off the full range of her songwriting capabilities and her voice’s ability to pair and blend with the multi-instrumental backing track, but there’s something pure and beautiful in the grit of her voice.

That’s why there’s such a magic and mystery in the isolated vocal track from her first take on the song. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to hear her vocals in complete isolation to get that incredible effect, but there’s something almost chilling about hearing the purity and rasp blend so effortlessly like only she can do.

Especially towards the end of the song, when the harmonies start to come in and mix with the strength of the lead vocals, there’s a quality that just can’t be matched without stripping things down.

The track also shows off her range beautifully. She goes between her gritty lower tones up to a belt effortlessly, and she does it over and over again. If you love this song, that quality can sometimes get lost within the music. When you take a pause to listen to the vocals on their own, you can hear every quirk—every little detail that might just have you enjoying the song more the next time it comes on.

The song, which came out in 1981, was performed by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Plenty of people have covered the song, too, in recent years, including Gwen Stefani. Nicks famously wrote the song after a call from an icon of music: “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).”

“Don and I had been going out for quite a while,” Nicks continued in the liner notes of TimeSpace. “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.”

If you want to take a listen to Stevie Nicks‘ dazzling and haunting isolated vocals for her first take of ‘Leather and Lace’, you can find the song linked down below.