One of the “rules” of growing up is to leave behind childhood fantasies of spirits, fairy princesses and the like — unless you build a career on mystical appeal, as has singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks.
Throughout her 15-year career, Nicks, 35, has held on to the fantasies of her youth and made them part of her music. She’ll share those fairy tales with South Florida Saturday at the Hollywood Sportatorium, a stop on her current U.S. tour with singer-guitarist Joe Walsh.
After “Rhiannon,” her first hit composition as a member of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks was nicknamed the “Welsh Witch” after the character in the song. On the cover of her first solo album, Bella Donna, she is surrounded by mystical objects — a tambourine, a crystal ball. On her new album, The Wild Heart, she is draped in a velvet cape, her hands folded in the gesture of a sorceress casting a spell. In interviews, she speaks of dreams and visions that have guided her career and life.
“I love the mysterious, the fantastic,” Nicks told Rolling Stone magazine. “I like to look at things otherworldly and say, ‘I wonder what goes on there?’ I think I was a monk in another life…”
After four years of writing music and recording demonstration tapes with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, the couple was accepted without audition as members of the already successful Fleetwood Mac in 1974. Within three months, the new Mac was on the road with Nicks as its “front man,” a gravelly voiced petite blond in lacy dresses.
Three Fleetwood Mac albums released from 1975 to 1979 contained hit Nicks compositions — “Rhiannon,” “Dreams” and “Sara.” But being part of a group made Nicks wary of losing her identity, so in 1981 she released her first solo album, Bella Donna, which sold 3 million copies and is still on Billboard’s Top LP chart after 116 weeks.
“The album was my finding out if I could still do something on my own,” Nicks said. “You start to doubt yourself after seven years with Fleetwood Mac…”
After the release of Bella Donna and a duet with Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Nicks embarked on her first solo tour, of the Southwestern United States. Her second successful solo album, The Wild Heart, was released four months ago. Two songs from the new album have become hits — “Stand Back” and “If Anyone Falls.”
Nicks’ life indeed reads like a fairy tale — with a new husband, a self-designed dream house in the hills near Los Angeles, her first extensive American solo tour and, of course, the popularity of her music, which she calls the mirror of her “wild heart.”
STEVIE NICKS and JOE WALSH perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Hollywood Sportatorium, Hollywood. Tickets are $13.75 plus $1 service charge at BASS outlets. Call 653-0450, 428-0917.
Linda R. Thornton / The Miami Herald / November 4, 1983