Choosing the best album of your discography isn’t a difficult task for certain artists. If you’re the Sex Pistols, for instance, you don’t have much choice in the matter. But if you’re Stevie Nicks, you have a pretty wide range of options to sift through and settle on a favourite.
Part of the problem is that Nicks could very easily include any one of her six studio albums with Fleetwood Mac, all of which range from surprisingly listenable to easily some of the greatest music of all time. Then there are her solo albums: one collaborative album with Lindsay Buckingham and eight LPs that feature just her.
1980s classics like Bella Donna and The Wild Heart factor into the conversation, but Nicks has some underrated work as well, including 2001’s Trouble in Shangri-La and 2011’s In Your Dreams. Nicks is on record stating her dissatisfaction for 1994’s Street Angel, but which album has she credited as being her favourite of them all?
The surprising pick from the legendary singer would actually be 2014’s 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, a record that consists of Nicks reinterpreting demo recordings she had made during the ’70s and ’80s. “I think that this is one of the best records I’ve ever made,” Nicks told MacLean’s in 2015. “So I can’t just let this record go. When the Fleetwood Mac tour is over, I might go straight back to Nashville and record eight or nine songs, and Warner Brothers can take it and repackage the album. I have another ten demos.”
Sure, this might just be some necessary PR love for a then-newly released album, but Nicks shows genuine love for the album and even envisions a follow up with songs that didn’t find a place on the original LP. One of those is ‘City of Hope’, which has floated around as a bootleg for a number of years. The song is centred on Nicks’ best friend Robin Anderson, who died around the time of Bella Donna.
“There’s a song that’s called ‘City of Hope’ that I love that needs to go out because that’s [the name of the California-based hospital] Robin was in,” Nicks recalls. “I spent a lot of time driving through the big sign that says ‘City of Hope’ when there was no hope. With a bottle of brandy and a gram of cocaine, thinking, ‘Please God, don’t let her die.'”
Nicks only began to consider re-recording the demos once her original recordings started to pop up on the internet. “We went onto YouTube and we found all the songs that, somehow, were taken from my house or picked up or loaned out or whatever … and we went to Nashville (and recorded them),” Nicks told the Associated Press around the release of the album. “So they’re like all starting from like 1969 maybe? I call them my 24 karat gold songs.”