The resurgent appeal of Stevie Nicks

Her generous songs provide an antidote to today’s often embattled pop music.

Stevie Nicks Bella Donna (1981)The cover of Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks’s first solo album, shows the artist looking slender and wide-eyed, wearing a white gown, a gold bracelet, and a pair of ruched, knee-high platform boots. One arm is bent at an improbable angle; a sizable cockatoo sits on her hand. Behind her, next to a small crystal ball, is a tambourine threaded with three long-stemmed white roses. Nicks did not invent this storefront-psychic aesthetic—it is indebted, in varying degrees, to Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina, de Troyes’s Guinevere, and Cher—but, beginning in the mid-nineteen-seventies, she came to embody it. The image was girlish and delicate, yet inscrutable, as if Nicks were suggesting that the world might not know everything she’s capable of.

This intimation is newly germane: a vague but feminine mysticism is in. Lorde, Azealia Banks, FKA Twigs, chvrches, Grimes, and Beyoncé have all incorporated bits of pagan-influenced iconography into their music videos and performances. Young women are now embracing benign occult representations, reclaiming the rites and ceremonies that women were once chastised (or worse) for performing. On runways, on the streets, and in thriving Etsy shops, you can find an assortment of cloaks, crescent-moon pendants, flared chiffon skirts, and the occasional jewelled headdress.

While Nicks’s sartorial choices have been widely mimicked, it’s rare to hear echoes of her magnanimity in modern pop songs, which are frequently defensive and embattled, preaching self-sufficiency at any cost. It’s difficult to imagine Nicks singing a lyric like “Middle fingers up, put them hands high / Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye,” as Beyoncé does in “Sorry,” a song from her newest album, Lemonade. Nicks’s default response to betrayal is more introspective than aggressive. Her music has long been considered a balm for certain stubborn strains of heartache; her songs are unsparing regarding the brutality of loss, yet they are buoyed by a kind of subtle optimism. It’s as if, by the time Nicks got around to singing about something, she already knew that she would survive it.

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna Deluxe EditionThis month, Bella Donna, from 1981, and Nicks’s second solo album, The Wild Heart, from 1983, are being reissued. Nicks was thirty-three when Bella Donna was released. Though its cover might not suggest an excess of reason, in its songs she is a sagacious and measured presence. Her acknowledgment of the heart’s capriciousness is gentle, if not grandmotherly. There’s surely no kinder summation of love’s petulance than the chorus of “Think About It,” a jangling folk song about taking a breath before hurling yourself off a metaphorical cliff. “And the heart says, ‘Danger!’ ” Nicks sings. She pauses briefly. “And the heart says, ‘Whatever.’ ” For anyone busy self-flagellating over an error in judgment, this can feel like a rope ladder thrown from above—an invitation to scramble up and out of despair. It is generous and knowing, and offers a clear-eyed conclusion: some things can’t be helped.

Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart Deluxe EditionIn 2012, Tavi Gevinson, the young founder of Rookie, an online magazine concerned chiefly with the complexities of teen-age girlhood, ended a tedx talk with some blunt advice: “Just be Stevie Nicks. That’s all you have to do.” What does it mean to be Stevie Nicks? To understand loss and longing as being merely the cost of doing business? To acknowledge the bottomless nature of certain aches, yet to know, in some instinctive way, that you’ll keep going? Nicks evokes Byron, in spirit and in certitude: “The heart will break, but broken live on.”

Nicks was born in 1948, in Phoenix. Her paternal grandfather, A. J. Nicks, Sr., was a struggling country musician, and he taught Nicks how to sing when she was four years old. She was given an acoustic guitar for her sixteenth birthday, and immediately wrote a song called “I’ve Loved and I’ve Lost and I’m Sad but Not Blue.” The title is a surprisingly succinct encapsulation of Nicks’s lyrical alchemy: a combination of acceptance (I am hurting) and perspective (I will not hurt forever).

1966-menlo-athertonIn 1966, when Nicks was in her senior year of high school and living in Atherton, California—her father, an executive at a meatpacking company, had been relocated there—she met the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham at a party. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor—bearded, curly-haired, and strumming the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’.” Uninvited, she joined him in harmony. (“How brazen!” she later said.) Buckingham asked Nicks to join his band, Fritz. By 1971, the two were romantically involved. They eventually took off for Los Angeles, where they tried to make it as a duo, called Buckingham Nicks, releasing one album, in 1973, to very little acclaim. Not long afterward, Buckingham was asked to join Fleetwood Mac, a British blues band featuring the singer and keyboard player Christine McVie, the bassist John McVie, and the drummer Mick Fleetwood; the group was being rebooted as an American soft-rock act. Buckingham insisted that Nicks be invited, too. She ended up writing two of the band’s biggest early hits, “Landslide” and “Rhiannon.”

1977_uncredited03Extraordinary success often leads to spiritual dissolution, and Fleetwood Mac had its share of psychic turmoil. In 1975, Fleetwood divorced his wife, the model Jenny Boyd, after she had an affair with one of his former bandmates. Nicks and Buckingham broke up the following year. Around the same time, John and Christine McVie’s marriage collapsed. There was an ungodly amount of brandy and cocaine on hand to help nullify the despair. Still, in 1977, Fleetwood Mac—now five wild-eyed, newly single people—released Rumours, a collection of yearning songs about love and devotion. The record spent thirty-one weeks at the top of the charts, and is one of the best-selling albums in American history.

(Norman Seef)
(Norman Seef)

Tusk, which the group released two years later, was a bombastic double LP that cost a million dollars to produce. The critic Stephen Holden, in his review of the album for Rolling Stone, suggested that Nicks sounded “more than ever like a West Coast Patti Smith.” Superficially, at least, Nicks and Smith aren’t obvious analogues. Nicks is hyperfeminine, intuitive, and bohemian; Smith is androgynous, cerebral, and gritty. But both are unusually perceptive chroniclers of their time and place.

If Smith is obliged to the Lower East Side of Manhattan—and the punk scene that included the Ramones, Television, and Suicide—Nicks’s debt is to Laurel Canyon, and to the sentimental, silky-voiced artists who emerged from L.A. in the late sixties and early seventies. Some of those acts—James Taylor, the Eagles—are now considered, fairly or not, irrelevant to the Zeitgeist: too mellow, too affluent, too sexless, too white. Candles and incense and macramé plant hangers; wistful thoughts about weather. Nicks’s lyrics often worry over domestic or earthly concerns—gardens, mountains, flowers, the seasons—and how they might affect the whims of her heart. “It makes no difference at all / ’Cause I wear boots all summer long,” she sings in “Nightbird.” When compared with the dissonant and provocative music coming out of downtown New York, the California sound could seem limp. But the scene in Laurel Canyon was tumultuous. Many of its artists—including, at various times, Nicks—were wrecked by drug addiction. Nicks’s voice, a strange, quivering contralto, gives her songs unexpected weight. Its tone reminds me of the gloaming—that lambent, transitional moment between night and day.

Jimmy Iovine Stevie Nicks
Jimmy Iovine and Stevie Nicks, 1981 (Chris Walter)

Bella Donna was produced by Jimmy Iovine, a Brooklyn-born audio engineer who worked on Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and produced the Patti Smith Group’s Easter and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Damn the Torpedoes. Iovine spent time in California, but his sensibility was tougher and more plainly that of the East Coast. He later became a co-founder of Interscope Records, where he helped to establish the career of the rapper Tupac Shakur, and, for a period, he oversaw the hip-hop label Death Row Records. Iovine was aware of concerns that Nicks was too coddled and immature to make a solo record as good as the records she’d made with Fleetwood Mac. Regardless, there was romantic chemistry. “This record was our love story unfolding,” she has said.

Bella Donna reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart, and produced four hit singles: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” a duet with Petty; “Leather and Lace,” with Don Henley; “Edge of Seventeen”; and “After the Glitter Fades.” The last, a country song about the travails of stardom—Nicks wrote it just after she and Buckingham moved to Los Angeles, long before she had a record deal, showing either hubris or prescience—contains organ, pedal steel, and reassurances. “The dream keeps coming even when you forget to feel,” she sings.

Nicks, like most artists, culls inspiration from disparate sources. She is prone to saying things like “ ‘Edge of Seventeen’ was about Tom Petty and his wife, Jane, my uncle dying, and the assassination of John Lennon.” But her personal life—a tangle of love affairs, often with her collaborators—informs her work in explicit ways. “Heartbreak of the moment isn’t endless,” she sings, in “Think About It.” This might seem like a billowy platitude, but if you are someone who does not think that every flubbed decision is fodder for personal growth, it is comforting to hear someone assert that nearly all mistakes can be neutralized, if not conquered. If Bella Donna contains a single directive, it’s to love freely, love fully, and hang on.

Fleetwood Mac 1982
(David Montgomery)

In 1981, Iovine flew with Nicks to the Château d’Hérouville, in northern France, where Fleetwood Mac was recording its next album, Mirage. Iovine left almost immediately, to escape the interpersonal conflicts that roiled the band. Iovine and Nicks’s relationship foundered. The following fall, while Fleetwood Mac was on tour, Nicks’s childhood friend Robin Anderson died, of leukemia, at the age of thirty-three. “What was left over was just a big, horrible, empty world,” Nicks has said. Days before her death, Anderson had prematurely given birth to a son. Nicks, operating under the savage logic of grief, married her friend’s widower, Kim Anderson, thinking that she would help raise the child. They divorced three months later.

By 1983, Nicks was ready to make another record. Her relationship with Iovine was strained, but Nicks asked him to produce the record anyway. The Wild Heart is inspired in part by the unravelling of that relationship, and in part by her mourning for Anderson. Nicks frequently cites as a guiding influence for the recording sessions the 1939 film adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which depicts an undying, almost fiendish love. Mostly, the songs are about bucking against the circumstances that separate us from the people we need.

(Herbert W. Worthington, III)
(Herbert W. Worthington, III)

The artist Justin Vernon, of the band Bon Iver, uses a brief sample of “Wild Heart” (a track from The Wild Heart) on the group’s new album, “22, A Million.” Nicks’s voice is sped up, pitch-altered, and barely discernible as human—just a high, grousing “wah-wah,” deployed intermittently. Vernon pinched it from a popular YouTube video of Nicks, in which she sits on a stool having her makeup done, wearing a white dress with spaghetti straps. She begins to sing. Soon, someone is messing with a piano; one of her backup singers joins in with a harmony. The makeup artist gamely tries to continue with her work, before giving up. While the studio recording of “Wild Heart” is saturated, almost wet, this version is all air, all joy.

What affects me most about the video is how profoundly Nicks appears to love singing. Her voice has an undulating, galloping quality. It is as if, once it’s started up, there’s no slowing down, no stopping; the car is careering down a mountain, with no brakes. You can see on her face how good it feels just to let go.

Stand Back 1983“Stand Back,” the first single from The Wild Heart, was inspired by Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” which Nicks heard on the radio while driving with Kim Anderson to San Ysidro Ranch, in Santa Barbara, for their honeymoon. (Prince played keyboards on the track, though he’s not credited in the album’s liner notes.) The song was produced in accordance with the style of the era, with lots of synthesizer and rubbery, overdubbed percussion. The lyrics describe a deliberate seduction followed by an acute betrayal. “First he took my heart, then he ran,” Nicks sings. The chorus is appropriately punchy: “Stand back, stand back,” she warns. Nicks is capable of going fully feral before a microphone, perhaps most famously at the end of “Silver Springs,” a song intended for Rumours and one of several that she wrote about Buckingham. (It ends with Nicks hollering, “Was I just a fool?”) On “Stand Back,” she erupts briefly, on the middle verses, but for the rest of the song she is more characteristically sanguine. “It’s all right, it’s all right,” she concedes. “I did not hear from you, it’s all right.”

Nicks went on to make six more solo albums, and three more with Fleetwood Mac. Following her divorce from Kim Anderson, she never married again, or had any children, though a rich maternal instinct runs through all her songs. This, more than anything else, may be the reason that Nicks’s work has endured—why listeners turn to her for consolation, especially now, when many feel wounded and the radio remains rife with confrontational whoops. To be Stevie Nicks is to offer shelter. ♦

Amanda Petrusich / The New Yorker / November 28, 2016

Amanda Petrusich is a contributing writer for newyorker.com, and the author of “Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records.” MORE

This article appears in other versions of the November 28, 2016, issue, with the headline “What the Heart Says.”

Bella Donna, The Wild Heart deluxe editions out now!

The deluxe editions of Stevie Nicks’ first two solo albums Bella Donna (1981) and The Wild Heart have been released. Both albums are available as CD deluxe editions with remastered sound, bonus tracks, new liner notes, and rare photos. The remastered vinyl edition of each album is also available.

Click here to see a list of purchase options.

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna Deluxe Edition Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart Deluxe Edition

Stevie Nicks Bella Donna Deluxe Edition Stevie Nicks Bella Donna Deluxe Edition Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart Deluxe Edition

LISTEN: ‘Wild Heart’ demo

Listen to the incredible, newly-released demo of ‘Wild Heart (session),” from the forthcoming The Wild Heart reissue on November 4th.

LISTEN: ‘Bella Donna’ demo

Hear Stevie Nicks’ Intimate ‘Bella Donna’ Demo

Deluxe reissues of singer-songwriter’s first two solo albums, Bella Donna and The Wild Heart, out November 4th

On November 4th, Stevie Nicks‘ first two solo albums — Bella Donna and The Wild Heart — will be reissued via Rhino. Each deluxe release will feature not only the original LP but rarities and bonus tracks, like the previously unreleased demo of her solo debut’s title track, streaming below.

Stripped of its backing vocals as well as the raucous live band and synthesizers featured on the original album version, Nicks’ demo is a tender, intimate take on the song. She sings softly above just the piano track, nearly whispering “Bella donna, my soul” and barely reaching the full-throated belt she unleashes on the 1981 recording.

Later this month and just before releasing the reissues, Nicks will embark on a solo tour with opening act the Pretenders. Nicks’ tour is in support of her 2014 album 24K Gold, a collection of songs she had cut from her prior solo releases for various reasons. “These are the glory songs,” she told Rolling Stone of her reason to follow a multi-year world tour with Fleetwood Mac with the solo dates. “These are the sex, rock & roll and drugs songs that I’m actually not really writing right now, and these are the songs I could never write again.”

Brittany Spanos / Rolling Stone / Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bella Donna, The Wild Heart deluxe editions out Nov 4

STEVIE NICKS TO RELEASE DELUXE EDITONS OF HER FIRST TWO SOLO ALBUMS

Legendary Singer-Songwriter Builds On Her Unparalleled Legacy With Deluxe Editions Of Bella Donna And The Wild Heart. Available From Rhino On November 4.

24 Karat Gold Tour With Pretenders Kicks Off October 25

LOS ANGELES – Stevie Nicks, the legendary singer songwriter whose highly acclaimed 30 year solo career includes seven studio albums, iconic hits, and record sales in the millions, will release deluxe editions with newly remastered audio and never before released live and recorded music from her first two solo albums Bella Donna and The Wild Heart. The end of October dual releases will come out in conjunction with the start of Nicks’ 24 Karat Gold Tour with Pretenders which begins in Phoenix on October 25. Complete tour schedule follows this release.

BELLA DONNA: DELUXE EDITION is a three-CD set for $29.98 and THE WILD HEART: DELUXE EDITION is a two-CD set for $19.98. Both will be available on November 4. On the same day, newly remastered versions of the original albums will also be available on LP ($21.98) and CD ($11.98). The music will be available digitally and through streaming services as well. A complete list of cuts on both deluxe editions follows this release.

“I’ve had so much fun reliving the making of Bella Donna and The Wild Heart while working on the liner notes and listening to all of the alternate versions and demo takes,” says Nicks. “The liner notes are so much more than liner notes. They are like a little novel. I tried to make whoever reads this feel like they were there. I think…I succeeded….”

Nicks joined producer Jimmy Iovine to begin recording songs for her solo debut, Bella Donna following the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk and subsequent tour. The 1981 album was quickly certified platinum. Today, the album is 4x platinum thanks to Nicks classics like “Edge Of Seventeen,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and “Leather And Lace” (with Don Henley).

BELLA DONNA: DELUXE EDITION uncovers unreleased versions of “Edge Of Seventeen” and “Leather And Lace,” as well as rarities like “Blue Lamp” from the Heavy Metal Soundtrack and “Sleeping Angel” from the Fast Times At Ridgemont High Soundtrack. This deluxe edition also includes a concert from 1981 that features performances of songs from Bella Donna along with several Fleetwood Mac favorites.

Nicks returned in 1983 with her follow-up, The Wild Heart, which peaked at #5 on the album chart and has been certified double platinum. The album produced hits like “Stand Back,” “Nightbird” and “I Will Run To You,” which features Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. THE WILD HEART: DELUXE EDITION builds on the original album with unreleased versions of “All The Beautiful Worlds” a session version of “Wild Heart” and “Garbo,” the B-side to “Stand Back.”

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna Deluxe EditionBELLA DONNA: DELUXE EDITION

Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album

  1. “Bella Donna”
  2. “Kind Of Woman”
  3. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” – with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  4. “Think About It”
  5. “After The Glitter Fades”
  6. “Edge Of Seventeen”
  7. “How Still My Love”
  8. “Leather And Lace”
  9. “Outside The Rain”
  10. “The Highwayman”
Stevie Nicks
(Photo: Herbert W. Worthington, III)

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks

  1. “Edge Of Seventeen” – Early Take *
  2. “Think About It” – Alternate Version *
  3. “How Still My Love” – Alternate Version *
  4. “Leather And Lace” – Alternate Version *
  5. “Bella Donna” – Demo *
  6. “Gold And Braid” – Unreleased Version *
  7. “Sleeping Angel” – Alternate Version *
  8. “If You Were My Love” – Unreleased Version *
  9. “The Dealer” – Unreleased Version *
  10. “Blue Lamp” – From Heavy Metal Soundtrack
  11. “Sleeping Angel” – From Fast Times At Ridgemont High Soundtrack

Disc Three: Live 1981

  1. “Gold Dust Woman”
  2. “Gold And Braid”
  3. “I Need To Know”
  4. “Outside The Rain”
  5. “Dreams”
  6. “Angel” *
  7. “After The Glitter Fades”
  8. “Leather And Lace” *
  9. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
  10. “Bella Donna” *
  11. “Sara”
  12. “How Still My Love” *
  13. “Edge Of Seventeen”
  14. “Rhiannon”

Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart Deluxe EditionTHE WILD HEART: DELUXE EDITION

Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album

  1. “Wild Heart”
  2. If Anyone Falls”
  3. “Gate And Garden”
  4. “Enchanted”
  5. “Nightbird”
  6. “Stand Back”
  7. “I Will Run To You” – with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  8. “Nothing Ever Changes”
  9. “Sable On Blond”
  10. “Beauty And The Beast”

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks

  1. “Violet And Blue” – from Against All Odds Soundtrack
  2. “I Sing For The Things” – Unreleased Version *
  3. “Sable On Blond” – Alternate Version *
  4. “All The Beautiful Worlds” – Unreleased Version *
  5. “Sorcerer” – Unreleased Version *
  6. “Dial The Number” – Unreleased Version *
  7. “Garbo” – B-side
  8. “Are You Mine” – Demo *
  9. “Wild Heart” – Session *
  • previously unreleased

24 KARAT GOLD TOUR DATES

Source: Official press release


Enter to win the Bella Donna 3CD Deluxe Edition! (5 copies available)

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The Wild Heart @ 30: ‘I can turn all your music on, I can make you feel alive’

“I can turn all your music on / I can make you feel alive” Stevie Nicks picks up the intensity level on “Nothing Ever Changes.” The track stands out for its strong hook and rock-driven arrangement, performed by an all-star cast of musicians, such as drummer Russ Kunkel, Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, and former-Eagles guitarist Don Felder.

Stevie Nicks with longtime collaborator Sandy Stewart
Stevie Nicks with longtime collaborator Sandy Stewart

Stevie Nicks picks up the intensity level on “Nothing Ever Changes.” The track stands out for its strong hook and rock-driven arrangement, performed by an all-star cast of musicians, such as drummer Russ Kunkel, Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, and former-Eagles guitarist Don Felder. Respected saxophonist Phil Kenzie (The Eagles, Paul McCartney, Al Stewart) also leaves his indelible mark, providing The Wild Heart‘s most riveting solo. As an album track, “Nothing Ever Changes” received moderate radio airplay, reaching number 19 on Mainstream Rock.

‘I was feeling pretty cynical’

“This is another song that Sandy [Stewart] wrote the track for,” Nicks says, “When I’m writing, I’ll go and drag out 300 pages of lyrics and take a word from here, a line from there, a verse from here. And it doesn’t really matter since I always start from my basic idea and go back to my words. I always say it better on the typewriter than I’m gonna say it while the song’s going by. This was written about a year and a half ago. Maybe you can tell I was feeling pretty cynical at the time. This is the only cynical song on this album.”

Musicians

Piano: Roy Bittan
Guitar: Don Felder
Bass: Bob Glaub
Percussion: Bobbye Hall
Saxophone: Phil Kenzie
Drums: Russ Kunkel
Synthesizer: Sandy Stewart
Background vocals: Sharon Celani & Lori Perry

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Recorded at Record Plant, Los Angeles.

Billboard charts

Mainstream Rock: 19 (July 30, 1983)

Lyrics

If it’s me that’s driving you to this madness
Then there’s one thing that I’d like to say
Would you take a look at your life and your lovers
Nothing ever changes

Ooh, it was just the first time
That I ever played for you
Oh, I could be the dancer of your dreams

I can turn all your music on
I can make you feel alive
I am gone but I’m never gone from you
It was just the first time

Come back, little boy
So baby come back, yeah, little boy

Ooh, it’s just me that lies waiting
Well, it could come from anywhere
Oh, it could come straight, straight from my heart
Nothing can be saved here

I can turn all your music on
I can make you feel alive
I am gone but I’m never gone from you
It was just the first time

Come back, little boy
So baby come back, yeah, little boy

Come back, little boy
So baby come back, yeah, little boy

Nothing ever changes, you know it doesn’t
Nothing ever changes, ooh, you know it doesn’t
Nothing ever changes, you know it doesn’t
Nothing ever changes

Come back, so baby, come back
Baby, come back, baby, come back
Come back, come back, come back

Come back, baby, come back
So baby, come back, baby come back
Come back, come back, come back

Come back, so baby, come back
Come back, come back, come back
Come back, come back

Come back, baby, come back

(Stevie Nicks, Sandy Stewart)
© 1982 Welsh Witch Music (BMI) Admin by. Sony/ATV Songs, LLC / Sweet Talk Music/Three Hearts Music (ASCAP)

References
Modern Records. (1983). Stevie Nicks: The Wild Heart [Press release].
Whitburn, J. (2008). Joel Whitburn presents rock tracks 1981-2008. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc.

The Wild Heart @ 30: ‘I will run to you, down whatever road you choose’

“If you need me, I’ll come runnin’…” Following the combative “Stand Back” is the conciliatory “I Will Run to You,” a duet with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Despite the ironic juxtaposition, the two songs complement each other well and help depict the decidedly pensive mood of the latter half of the album.

Tom Petty 1983Following the combative “Stand Back” is the conciliatory “I Will Run to You,” a duet with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Despite the ironic juxtaposition, the two songs complement each other well and help depict the decidedly pensive mood of the latter half of the album. Written by Petty, “Run” has a melodic chorus and features music that bears some resemblance to the song “You Got Lucky” from Petty’s 1982 album Long After Dark.

The duet was promoted to radio as an album track, reaching number 35 on Mainstream Rock. Nicks and Petty performed “I Will Run to You” (and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around) in concert during Nicks’ Wild Heart tour on September 13, 1983 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, where Petty was a special guest.

‘Something really pretty’

“I don’t really know why Tom wrote this song for me,” Nicks recalls, “because it’s not like he had to, or not like I called him up and asked him to do it. But for some reason, he wanted to write me something really pretty, and he did, and we worked real hard. We recorded in New York, and we didn’t get it. Then we went to Caribou and recorded but still came back without what we thought was a real lead vocal from either of us. Finally, we did it in L.A.

Tom and I love to sing together, and we’ve really developed this relationship, and I’m not really very interested in developing relationships with other men singers, because this is just perfect: we sing well, we have a great time, we complement each other. I love his songwriting, perfect, why bother? Whatever the hassles that be that make it difficult — and believe you me the hassles that be are everywhere to stop Tom and I from ever doing anything together — my relationship with him is more important.

Anyway, the song’s fabulous. It’s beautiful, and I’m very honored that he even cared enough to write it for me.”

Musicians

Guitar: Michael Campbell
Bass: Howie Epstein
Drums: Stan Lynch
Guitar, vocals: Tom Petty
Keyboards: Benmont Tench

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Recorded at The Hit Factory, New York.

Billboard charts

Mainstream Rock: 35 (July 23, 1983)

Lyrics

One so young, so changed
Should not be left alone
Two in love should confess
And not be left alone

And, I will run to you
Down whatever road you choose
Yes, I will follow you down
I will run to you

You’ve had time, come around
Will you please make up your mind
I stand accused on trial
Will you please make up your mind

And, I will run to you
Down whatever road you choose
Yes, I will follow you down
I will run to you

Make it easy for me
I been lonely, baby
Show some mercy, honey
I was nothing
All those lonely nights
Showed me something
If you need me
I’ll come runnin’

I will run to you
Down whatever road you choose
I will follow you down
I will run…

I will run to you
Down whatever road you choose
Yes, I will follow you down
I will run to you

(Tom Petty)
© 1983 Gone Gator Music (ASCAP)
References
Modern Records. (1983). Stevie Nicks: The Wild Heart [Press release].
Whitburn, J. (2008). Joel Whitburn presents rock tracks 1981-2008. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc.

The Wild Heart @ 30: ‘First he took my heart then he ran’

Kicking off side two of The Wild Heart is Stevie Nicks’ massive hit “Stand Back.” Though it’s not her highest charting single (that honor goes to “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which peaked at number three in 1981), “Stand Back” is clearly her most recognizable solo hit, having been performed on every solo and Fleetwood Mac tour (that Nicks has been a part of) since the song’s release in 1983.

Prince

Kicking off side two of The Wild Heart is Stevie Nicks’ massive hit “Stand Back.” Though it’s not her highest charting single (that honor goes to “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which peaked at number three in 1981), “Stand Back” is clearly her most recognizable solo hit, having been performed on every solo and Fleetwood Mac tour (that Nicks has been a part of) since the song’s release in 1983. (Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” is another song that has been performed on every tour since its release.) The story of “Stand Back” is now legendary among fans, but few know that song was actually borne out of just the first three chords of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” not the entire song.

‘Little Red Corvette’

“Right after I got married, I heard this wonderful song Prince had done called ‘Little Red Corvette,'” Nicks said in 1983, “And as soon as I heard it I went, ‘Boy, I love that.’ And I just started humming to myself, and in a matter of minutes, I had hummed along a very different melody than what Prince had done. Anyway, me being one of the more honest people you’ll ever meet, I immediately call Prince and tell him what I had written and how and he, against everybody’s thinking he wouldn’t, came down and played on this song! My intuitions are usually right and since he told me he was doing the video of ‘Little Red Corvette’ that day, and since I know videos and films always take a lot longer than anybody thinks, I didn’t think he’d show up. But Sandy and I rushed to the studio anyway, thinking ‘what if he comes, what are we going to show him. We’ll both get out there live and try to play the song for him and start to giggle,’ right? I mean, no chance. So under pressure of fire, we did it in one take, one time, and that’s what you hear; me singing live, Sandy on her synthesizer, Prince playing that dahdahdahdahdah, very kind of ‘Edge of Seventeen’ thing, and a drum machine.

Between then and now, Steve Lukather put an incredible guitar solo in the middle and David Williams, who played all over [Michael Jackson’s] ‘Billie Jean Is Not My Lover,’ played on this. Anyway, ‘Stand Back’ become a real anthem, a real ‘I’m tired of listening to all your great advice, ’cause it’s gotten me nowhere, so I’m listening to myself now kind of anthem.’ So it came slightly out of strength, slightly out of being in love, slightly out of being married, and ever so slightly out of hearing the first three chords of ‘Little Red Corvette!'”

‘My favorite song onstage’

“[‘Little Red Corvette’] just gave me an incredible idea,” Nicks said in 1991, “So I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs. I’ve been doing this song for years. Fleetwood Mac does it also, and I never get tired of it. ‘Stand Back’ has always been my favorite song onstage because when it starts, it has an energy that comes from somewhere unknown, and it seems to have no timespace. I’ve never quite understood this sound, but I have never questioned it. I become a different person, and I like that, because usually I make up my own characters, but the lady in ‘Stand Back’ was not my idea. By the way, Prince did come into the studio the night I called him and told him about this song, and he played incredible synthesizer on it. And then he just walked out of my life, and I didn’t see him for a long time. It was extraordinary.”

Stand Back 1983

Musicians

OBX-A & DMX drum machine programming: David Bluefield
Drums: Marvin Caruso
Percussion: Bobbye Hall
Drum overdubs: Russ Kunkel
Guitar: Steve Lukather
Synthesizer: Sandy Stewart
Guitar: Waddy Wachtel
Percussion: Ian Wallace
Guitar: David Williams
Background vocals: Sharon Celani & Lori Perry

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Recorded at Studio 55, Los Angeles.

Billboard charts

Pop Singles: 5
Mainstream Rock: 2 (June 4, 1983)

Main version

Scarlett version

Stand Back (Ralphi Rosario & Craig J. Snider House Mix)

Lyrics

No one looked as I walked by
Just an invitation would have been just fine
Said no to him again and again
First he took my heart then he ran

No one knows how I feel
What I say unless you read between my lines
One man walked away from me
First he took my hand
Take me home

Stand back, stand back
In the middle of my room
I did not hear from you
It’s alright, it’s alright
To be standing in a line
(Standing in a line)
To be standing in a line
I would cry

La, la, la-la, la, la, la, la-la, la-la…
La, la, la la-la, la…

Do not turn away my friend
Like a willow I can bend
No man called my name
No man came

So I walked slow down away from you
Maybe your attention was more than you could do
One man did not call
He asked me for my love
That was all

Stand back, stand back
In the middle of my room
I did not hear from you
It’s alright, it’s alright
To be standing in a line
(Standing in a line)
To be standing in a line
I would cry

La, la, la-la, la, la, la, la, la…
La, la…
La, la, la-la la, la, la…
Ju-ju, ju-ju!
Oh…
La, la, la-la, la, la, la, la, la…
Da-da-da-da…
La, la, la-la, la…
Wa-ah!

So I walked on down the line away from you
Maybe your attention was more than I could do
One man did not fall
Well, he asked me for my love
That was all

Stand back, stand back
In the middle of my room
I did not hear from you
It’s alright, it’s alright
To be standing in a line
(Standing in a line)
To be standing in a line
I would cry

Feel I need a little sympathy
Well, I need a little sympathy
(Cry…)
Well, I need a little sympathy

Well, you could be standing in
(Stand back)
Well, you could be standing in
(Stand back)
Well, you could standing in
(Stand Back)

Take me home
Take home
(Stand back)
Why don’t you take me home

Well, I need a little sympathy
(Stand back)
Well, you could be standing in
(Stand back)
Why don’t you take…
(Me home)

Why don’t you take me home
(Stand back)
Take me home
(It’s alright)
Take me home
(It’s alright)
Oh, yeah…
Take me home

(Stevie Nicks, Prince Rogers Nelson)
© 1983 Welsh Witch Music (BMI) / Admin. by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI) / Controversy Music (ASCAP)

References
Modern Records. (1983). Stevie Nicks: The Wild Heart [Press release].
Nicks, S. (1991). [Liner notes]. Timespace: The best of Stevie Nicks [CD].

The Wild Heart @ 30: ‘When I call, will you walk gently through my shadow’

“And the summer became the fall. I was not ready for the winter…” Closing side one of The Wild Heart is the soulful “Nightbird,” a poignant song that poetically addresses the death of Stevie Nicks’ childhood friend Robin Anderson, who succummbed to leukemia at the end of 1982. Nicks draws parallel to her 1981 hit single “Edge of Seventeen, ” borrowing the lyric “just like the white winged dove” for the song’s final refrain.

Robin Anderson
Stevie Nicks with the late Robin Anderson

Closing side one of The Wild Heart is the soulful “Nightbird,” a poignant song that poetically addresses the death of Stevie Nicks’ childhood friend Robin Anderson, who succummbed to leukemia at the end of 1982. Nicks draws parallel to her 1981 hit single “Edge of Seventeen,” borrowing the lyric “just like the white winged dove” for the song’s final refrain. An unreleased outtake of “Nightbird” contains slightly different lyrics that refer to the “eyes of the nightbird.” According to Nicks, both the white winged dove and the nightbird are metaphors for death, the spirit leaving the body.

‘A spirit calling’

Anderson’s spirit served as The Wild Heart‘s main inspiration, which is reflected in album’s dedication: “This music is dedicated to Robin — for her brave, wild heart. And to the gypsies that remain.”

“This song does extend from ‘Edge of Seventeen,’ Nicks reveals. “It’s about the difficulties of female rock ‘n’ roll singers, it’s about my friend Robin, it’s about death, it’s a spirit calling. Wearing boots all summer long is like, always being ready for a flood or avalanche to happen, for the worst to happen. Because when you really look at life, all the money, material things and dreams we all search after could not save one small girl.”

Nightbird 1983
The limited-run US picture sleeve 7″ vinyl release of “Nightbird” with unique artwork remains rare and highly collectible.

Third single

“Nightbird,” featuring Nicks’ collaborator Sandy Stewart on shared vocals, was the third and final single released from The Wild Heart, reaching number 33 on Pop Singles and number 32 on Mainstream Rock. Nicks gave memorable performances of the song on Saturday Night Live and Solid Gold (both clips below) but has never performed the song since. Background singer Lori Nicks sang Sandy Stewart’s parts for both of these performances.

https://stevienicksinfo.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/05-nightbird1.mp3%20

Musicians

Bass: Kenny Edwards
Piano: David Foster
Drum overdubs: Chet McCracken
Synthesizer, vocals, and piano solo: Sandy Stewart
Organ: Benmont Tench
Guitar: Waddy Wachtel
Background vocals: Sharon Celani & Lori Perry

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Recorded at Record Plant, New York

Billboard charts

Pop Singles: 33
Mainstream Rock: 32 (February 11, 1984)

Lyrics

And the summer became the fall
I was not ready for the winter
It makes no difference at all
‘Cause I wear boots all summer long

Eye makeup dark and it’s careless
Same circles around my eyes
Sometimes the real color of my skin
Is my eyes without any shadow

(And when I call)
(Will you walk gently through my shadow)
When I call will you walk
Gently through my show
(It’s the ones who sing at night)
Cried the nightbird
(The ones who sing at night)
(The ones you dream of)
The ones you dream of
(The ones who walk away)
The ones who run away
(With their capes around them tight)
Their capes pulled around them tight
(Cryin’ for the night)
Cry for the nightbird
Tonight

The winter is really here now
And the blankets that I love
Sometimes I am surrounded
By too much love

(And when I call)
(Will you walk gently through my shadow)
And when I call will you walk
Gently through my shadow
(It’s the ones who sing at night)
It’s the ones who sing at night
(The ones you dream of)
The ones you dream of
(The ones who walk away)
With their capes pulled around them tight
Cryin’ for the night
Cry for the nightbird
Tonight

Do-do, doo…do-do, do
Doo…do-do, doo…do-do
Doo…do-do, doo…do-do
Doo…do-do, doo…do-do
Doo…do-do, doo…do-do
Doo…do-do, doo…do-do

(And when I call)
(Will you walk gently through my shadow)
And when I call will you walk
Gently through my shadow
(It’s the ones who sing at night)
Cried the nightbird
(The ones who sing at night)
The ones who sing at night
(The ones you dream of)
The ones you dream of
(The ones who walk away)
The ones who run away
(With their capes around them tight)
Cryin’ for the night
Cry for the nightbird
Tonight

(And when I call)
(Will you walk gently through my shadow)
When I call will you walk
Gently through my shadow
(Just like the white winged dove)
(It’s the ones who sing at night)
Cry for the nightbird
(The ones who sing at night)
Ooh…

(Ooh, ooh)
Through the dark and the net of the lace
Pulls back the net and it’s hard to see her face
(Just like the white winged dove)
Feel the touch
The touch that you want so much

(Yes, when I call)
(You can walk gently through my shadow)
Through the dark and the net of the lace
And she pulls back the net
(Just like the white winged dove)
Hard to see to see her face
(Don’t be afraid)
You’ll see
(‘Cause you’ll see)

(Stevie Nicks, Sandy Stewart)
© 1982 Welsh Witch Music (BMI) / Admin. by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI) / Sweet Talk Music/Three Hearts Music (ASCAP)

Saturday Night Live performance

Solid Gold performance

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References
Modern Records. (1983). Stevie Nicks: The Wild Heart [Press release].
Whitburn, J. (2008). Joel Whitburn presents rock tracks 1981-2008. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc.

The Wild Heart @ 30: ‘It’s a shame that you wanted me, you didn’t try’

“It’s a shame that you wanted me, you didn’t try…” As side one of the The Wild Heart starts to wind down, the tempo starts to pick up with “Enchanted.” Showcasing tight vocals and a strong hook, “Enchanted” is reminiscent of other short, uptempo songs that Nicks has recorded, such as “I Don’t Want to Know” (1977), “Imperial Hotel” (1985), and “In Your Dreams” (2011).

1983 Herbert Worthington
(Herbert W Worthington)

As side one of the The Wild Heart starts to wind down, the tempo starts to pick up with “Enchanted.” Showcasing tight vocals and a strong hook, “Enchanted” is reminiscent of other short, uptempo songs that Stevie Nicks has recorded, such as “I Don’t Want to Know” (with Fleetwood Mac, 1977), “Imperial Hotel” (1985), and “In Your Dreams” (2011). Though it was never released as a single, “Enchanted” received moderate US radio airplay, reaching number 12 on Mainstream Rock.

‘Constructive travelling’

Nicks recalls writing the lyrics to “Enchanted” quickly during a car ride to Long Island. “We wrote it last summer (1982) on the way from New York City to Quogue, on Long Island. We wrote it in a car, in the limousine. We heard the instrumental part out of the speakers, and we hooked up our KD-5, which is the savior of our singing lives. So we sang and recorded, and by the time we got there, the song was written. Constructive travelling, I call it.”

Nicks first performed “Enchanted” live on The Wild Heart tour. The song title went on to bear the name of Nicks’ 1998 box set release (The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks), a three-disc retrospective representing her entire solo work. Since then, the song has become a concert set list staple in Nicks’ shows.

Enchanted vs. Destiny

“Enchanted” is closely related to “Destiny,” another song recorded during The Wild Heart sessions. Both tracks share similar verses but use different choruses. Despite its compelling, power-ballad vocal, “Destiny” was shelved for the time being. Nicks finally recorded the song 10 years later for her fifth solo album Street Angel (1994).

Musicians

Roy Bittan: Piano
Bob Glaub: Bass
Bobbye Hall: Percussion
Russ Kunkel: Drums
Benmont Tench: Organ
Waddy Wachtel: Guitar
Sharon Celani & Lori Perry: Background vocals

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Recorded at Record Plant, New York

Billboard charts

Mainstream Rock: 12 (July 16, 1983)

Lyrics

(1-2-3-4)

Cryin’ in the morning trying to be strong
Waitin’ for the spring to turn into the fall
Love don’t mean what it says at all
And destiny says that I’m destined to fall

Enchanted
You thought you saw something in my eyes
Enchanted
It’s a shame that you wanted me
You didn’t try

Why the sad face
Oh, darling
Was it my darkness
Shadow light
I mean to cause no trouble for you
That is the story of my life

Enchanted
You thought you saw something in my eyes
Enchanted
It’s a shame that you wanted me
You didn’t try

Enchanted
Wo, it’s just a voice through the night
Enchanted
Well, I hope you make it

You were gone
You were gone from me
When I remember someone
I remember their dreams
In those dreams that no one knows of
My destiny says that I’m destined to run

(Enchanted)
Ooh, you saw something in my eyes
Enchanted
It’s a shame that you wanted me
You didn’t try
Enchanted
Well, it’s just a voice through the night
Enchanted
Well, I hope you make it
Ooh, enchanted
Well, I hope you make it

Wo…
Wo-wo-ho
I hope you make it
Wo…
Wo-wo-wo
I hope you make it
Yay…
Yay-yay-yay
I hope you make it
Yay..
Yay-yay-yay
I hope you make it

(Stevie Nicks)
© 1982 Welsh Witch Music (BMI) / Admin. by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)

References
Modern Records. (1983). Stevie Nicks: The Wild Heart [Press release].
Whitburn, J. (2008). Joel Whitburn presents rock tracks 1981-2008. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc.