Beauty and the Beast

“Beauty and the Beast” is Track 10 on The Wild Heart, the album’s epic orchestral closer. It also appears on the retrospectives Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks (1991) and The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks (1998).

Beauty and the Beast 1946About the Song

Stevie: “Besides the fact that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to me is a story of desperation (see the Jean Cocteau film) and besides the fact that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ surrounds me everywhere — everybody I know is either being the beauty or the beast — the experience of recording this song was so special.

It began as a piano demo done in Lori’s husband Gordon Perry’s studio in Dallas. The room is just magical, a church. Lori later sent me a tape with beautiful voices on it, and Sharon and I tried to duplicate it, but we couldn’t. So we got all the original vocalists together in New York and recorded it live. We brought the orchestra in for a three-hour live session–and I’m someone who’s oblivious to being able to do anything in the studio in a mere three hours! I knew they were gonna pack their little violin cases and walk away from me in no time.

Meanwhile, Roy Bittan’s playing piano just like I do, and everybody’s watching me. Nobody has done a live session in years. No Stevie Nicks has walked in in a long black dress to sing ‘Beauty and the Beast with champagne for all these men in probably as long as they can remember, even 30 years ago. I wanted them to feel like they were the most special orchestra that ever existed for that night. They walked in, played, and left. And it’s like they don’t even have any idea what they gave me, how precious it is.”


Who Is the Beauty, Who The Beast…

  • Written for Mick Fleetwood
  • Inspired by Jean Cocteau’s 1946 French film adaptation of the 1757 story Beauty and the Beast, written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
  • Dedicated to Vincent and Katherine

“We recorded this live in New York, with Roy Bittan playing grand piano and Paul Buckmaster doing the strings and conducting the orchestra, and me and the background singers, all at the same time. It was like we had gone back in time. We all wore long black dresses, and served champagne, and recorded it all in one room. When it was over, I walked out with this elderly gentleman who played violin, and the generation gap ceased to exist.

I also remember Mick and I years later at the Red Rocks Rock a Little video. He had come by himself to play, and he stayed there with me all night (in the rain) to do close-ups. Everyone else had left. Who is the beauty, and who is the beast? Which one of you? Have you ever really been able to answer that? I have. It took a long time, but I did finally find the answer.”

Lyrics

You’re not a stranger to me
And you, well, you’re something to see
You don’t even know how to please
You say a lot, but you’re unaware how to leave

My darling lives in a world that is not mine
An old child misunderstood, out of time
Timeless is the creature who is wise
And timeless is the prisoner in disguise

Oh, who is the beauty, who the beast
Would you die of grieving when I leave
Two children too blind to see
I would fall in your shadow
I believe

My love is a man who’s not been tamed
Oh, my love lives in a world of false pleasure and pain
We come from difference worlds
We are the same (my love)
I never doubted your beauty
I’ve changed

I never doubted your beauty
I’ve…changed
Changed

Who is the beauty
Ooh, where is my beast (my love)
There is no beauty
Without my beast (my love)

Who is the beauty (le bete)
Who… (my love)
Ahh…

Ooh, la bete
La bete
Where is my beast
La bete, la bete
Ooh, where is my beast
La bete, le bete, le bete
My beauty, my beauty
My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful beast

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

Musicians

Piano: Roy Bittan
Background vocals: Carolyn Brooks
Background vocals: Sharon Celani & Lori Perry
Conductor: Paul Buckmaster
Bass: John Beal
Cello: John Abramowitz
Cello: Seymour Barab
Cello: Jesse Levy
Cello: Frederick Zlotkin
Harp: Gene Bianco
Viola: Julien Barber
Viola: Theodore Israel
Viola: Jesse Levine
Viola: Harry Zaratzian
Violin: Harry Cykman
Violin:Peter Dimitriades
Violin: Regis Eandiorio
Violin: Lewis Eley
Violin: Max Ellen
Violin: Paul Gershman
Violin: Harry Glickman
Violin: Raymond Kunicki
Violin: Marvin Morgenstern
Violin: John Pintavalle
Violin: Matthew Raimondi
Violin: Herbert Sorkin
Violin: Ruth Waterman
Violin: Paul Winter

Produced by Jimmy Iovine. Strings arranged by Paul Buckmaster and Kenneth Whitfield. Recorded at Studio 55, Los Angeles

References

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

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