Stevie Nicks sees world in a blur

PHOENIX, Ariz. — For singer Stevie Nicks, her success as a songwriter could be attributed to her failing eyesight.

I definitely perceive the world differently than most people do,” said the most visible member of the rock group Fleetwood Mac, who was in Phoenix to promote a coming benefit concert and her second solo album, The Wild Heart.

I have really bad eyes, and I never wore glasses, you see,” Nicks explained. Then all of a sudden, I got contact lenses — soft ones which don’t make you see great but make you see better. Now I’m completely confused. I used to see nothing. Now I see sort of.

Everything is either a blur or it’s psychedelic or more acidlike. Streetlights sparkle, colors run together. But because I can’t see the world clearly, I look at it differently. I see it like in a dream.”

Most of her songs reflect a reverielike quality, as in “Gypsy,” Sara,” Rhiannon” or “Dreams.” And whether they’re for a Fleetwood Mac album or her own, all her efforts sell well — in the millions.

Her first solo LP, Bella Donna, was released in October 1981 and rose to the top of the pop charts. A 35-city tour through August coincides with The Wild Heart. The Modern Records album was No. 5 and climbing on the best-selling chart of July 30. Her single, “Stand Back,” was No. 13 and climbing on that date.

The Wild Heart is wild,” Nicks said. It’s Bella Donna, only less fragile.

It’s me being stronger with who I am and what I have to say. I just sang what I wanted to and did it the way I wanted to, as crazy as it was. It’s my masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. It’s very much a story.”

An avid reader, Nicks based another of her new songs on author Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

It ends the album. It’s an orchestrated piece — a string arrangement -and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing,” she said. It was at A&R Studios in New York City, where they do all the Dionne Warwick and Frank Sinatra things.

Neither Fleetwood Mac nor Stevie had ever used a string arrangement in their lives. So it was very strange to walk in to sing for these 30 little old men with their violin cases who had no idea what in the world I was doing there in a long black dress, with champagne.

These guys hadn’t done a session like that in 10 years. But for two hours they played this song, and it’s just beautiful. It’s very fairy tale.”

Tom Petty and Prince also contribute to The Wild Heart, but Nicks says she’ll shy away from such collaborations in the future.

It causes me a lot of grief to work with men who love to come in and sing on my albums because it’s cool,” she said, referring to Petty and ex-Eagles drummer Don Henley, who sang backup on the Bella Donna hits “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “Leather and Lace,” respectively.

“I’ll be out on the road, and everybody will be saying, ‘Oh, where’s Tom Petty?’ and ‘Oh, where’s Don Henley?’ It causes me a lot of arguments, and it gets to the point where I just want to do my own record and not hassle anyone.”

Walter Berry / Associated Press / August 11, 1983

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