Already a fiercely popular vocalist for mega-band Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks began her solo music career in 1980 It seemed that releasing just two to three songs every two years was not enough for her. And being a prolific songwriter, she decided to sow her creative oats with what would be her first solo album, Bella Donna. No one expected a hit, not even Stevie herself. She figured she would simply return to Fleetwood Mac once the album as done, but the fans stated otherwise. Upon its release, Bella Donna went to Number One on the Billboard Top LP chart, eventually gaining platinum status and spawning 4 singles, including “Edge of Seventeen” and “Leather and Lace.” A small tour followed, after which she did go back to Fleetwood Mac. But the seeds were sown, and a solo Stevie was just fine with where she was headed.
Throughout the 1980s, Nicks would go on to record her most popular music. Her second and third albums, The Wild Heart and Rock A Little went on to achieve platinum status as well, with singles like “Talk To Me,” “I Can’t Wait,” and the uber hit, “Stand Back.” Collaborations with some of rock’s heavy hitters, most notably Tom Petty and Don Henley, added fuel to the fire, creating a grueling schedule where she balanced both Fleetwood Mac and her solo career.
Enter cocaine. Once thought of as the “rock star’s friend,” Stevie developed a life-threatening addiction to the drug. She overcame addiction first to cocaine in the late 1980s, then to a prescription medication called Klonopin in the mid-1990s. After entering rehab twice, she emerged clean and ready to rock once again.
2001 saw the release of her sixth solo LP, the critically-acclaimed Trouble In Shangri-La, which features a guest list that included Natalie Maines of Dixie Chick fame, as well as Sarah McLachlan and Macy Gray. The album saw the return of her romantic, yet cryptic, style of songwriting, with Nicks winning the Blockbuster Songwriters Award that same year.
In 2011, Stevie returned with In Your Dreams. Produced by former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart (the two had met in the 1980 and vowed one day to work together). Stewart took the music to new heights, all the while staying true to Nicks’ style. Upon release of the first single, “Secret Love,” fans and critics alike said the same thing — she has never sounded better.
Now, fast forward to the present. At age 66, Stevie is better than ever, touring with a newly reunited Fleetwood Mac, while releasing her latest solo LP, 24 Karat Gold — Songs From the Vault. With Dave Stewart once again at the producer’s helm, the album has been quite well received by critics as well as adored by thousands of rabid fans. There is no middle ground with Nicks’ fans — they worship her. The rock icon shows no signs of stopping any time soon. With a slew of tour dates with Fleetwood Mac, as well as her own album to promote, she is one busy lady.
And a very lucky one! Many of her contemporaries succumbed to drug addiction and overdose. Nicks broke the cycle, and not only survived, but thrived in a business where fame can kill. Now, after eight successful solo albums, countless tours, and even a special appearance on NBC’s The Voice, Nicks is at the top of her game. She’s planning a new album with Fleetwood Mac, as well as a tour for her own latest release. The life and career of Rock’s Chief Sorceress are fantastic once again.
Marc Farr / Playback: stl / Thursday, February 5, 2015