Revisit Stevie Nicks’ beautiful isolated vocal on ‘Edge of Seventeen’
If there’s one person we would pay to hear sing over and over again it is the mesmeric artist, lead singer in Fleetwood Mac, and double rock and roll hall of famer, Stevie Nicks. Here, we show you why we’d happily give over our bank details to hear a note of Nicks’ with her perfect isolated vocal on her song ‘Edge of Seventeen’.
There’s nothing more pleasing than listening to Stevie Nicks sing. The ‘Landslide’ vocalist has made a name for herself with not only her note-perfect performances but the passion and intensity she brings to all of her work. ‘Edge of Seventeen’ is no different.
The song, produced by Tom Petty and Jimmy Iovine for her 1981 solo record Bella Donna, is entrenched in the enveloping emotion of loss and pain. Written in part about Tom Petty and his wife Jane, following the latter’s pronunciation of the phrase “age of seventeen”, the track took on a new meaning following the death of her uncle John and later The Beatle John Lennon.
Nicks tells BAM of the track: “The most recent [song on Bella Donna] is ‘Edge of Seventeen’, which is also my favourite song on the record… ‘Edge of Seventeen’ closes it [the album]—chronologically, anyway—with the loss of John Lennon and an uncle at the same time. That song is sort of about how no amount of money or power could save them. I was angry, helpless, hurt, sad.” It’s a track that rings with authentic emotion.
Speaking in 1991, Nicks shared her difficulty with dealing with those emotions, of losing her Uncle to cancer: “I have to deal with it every single night when I sing it. That’s why I can [sing it]. When that song starts, I go back to that week. And it’s not like I try.
“I don’t make a physical effort to do it. In my mind, my little time-space, I’m back in the house at Encino finding out that news, and when I sing it to everybody, I try to make them understand in a way that I was talking about without actually telling them. That’s why I can sing ‘Edge of Seventeen’ just like I wrote it yesterday. Because it will never, ever lose the intensity. I will never forget how I felt when that happened to me.”
That range of emotions, plus about one thousand more, are uniquely and individually expressed with every note and musical blank space of the song.
As able to control silence as she is her vocal cords, the isolated vocal track on the 1981 song ‘Edge of Seventeen’ allows us all to fall a little bit further in love with Stevie Nicks. She inhabits the role of the sirenic poet with a consummate ease.
Listen below to Stevie Nicks’ incredible isolated vocal on her 1981 hit ‘Edge of Seventeen’.