Stevie Nicks Trouble in Shangri-La (2001)

Bombay Sapphires

“Bombay Sapphires” is Track 11 on Trouble in Shangri-La.

About the Song

Stevie Nicks wrote “Bombay Sapphires” during her Maui vacation in 1999. She was inspired by the beauty of the Hawaiian island — specifically the ocean, beaches, and lush green surroundings.

“My personal favorite [song on Trouble in Shangri-La] is ‘Bombay Sapphire.’ When it says, ‘I can see past you to the white sand,’ that sentence right there is the whole reason for ‘Bombay Sapphire.’ It means that I’m really trying to get over something, and though I’m freaked out about it I’m looking to the green ocean and can see past all of these problems to the incredibly beautiful white sand and the ocean beyond it. I’m gonna be okay because I am movin’ past you.”

“I wrote it in Hawaii two years ago. At that point, in order to write the rest of the songs for this record, I really had to leave my Enchanted box set and Fleetwood Mac behind. Hawaii was very different than any place I’d ever been. Very green — jade green — very calm, very Zen. And I realized that if you take yourself to a great environment, you can just about get over anything.”

“I was looking outside one day and it was like I was almost seeing my past as a little bit of something that I really wanted to leave behind for a while. I was looking past the past, out to the ocean and how beautiful it was and how white and inviting the sand was. I thought, I can see past you to the white sand and a message back to me that you are moving on now, you really are moving on. You are letting go of all that stuff that bothered you and you are moving forward. So, for me, it was very important that that song be on the record. I recorded that song two other times, and I didn’t like it either time. I went back in for a third time and played it myself to get it the way I had written it when I was in Hawaii that night.”

Stevie recorded the song at least three different times before finalizing the track; one time with producer Dallas Austin, who was involved in the early stages of the Trouble in Shangri-La recording sessions. The final version featured backup vocals from singer Macy Gray, though Stevie initially had singer Sting in mind for the part.

“The only reason Macy [Gray] is on the record is because we’re managed by the same people. Originally I wanted Sting to sing that little high part on ‘Bombay Sapphires,’ but I chickened out on calling him and I asked Macy to do it. Her vibe is so wild, so intense. She walks into the room and it’s like everything starts to move. She’s like a walking tornado. She’s a total blast. We had a great time working on the song. Our voices blended so well together.”

“And when ‘Bombay Sapphire’ almost got pulled off the record because it wasn’t recorded right, I was horrified that one line was not gonna be on the record. It’s really important for me to tell people that if they’re in an unhappy situation they should not stay forever and be miserable.”

Originally titled “Bombay Sapphire,” Stevie pluralized “Sapphires” to distinguish the song from the well-known alcoholic beverage, as well as to avoid potential copyright infringement.

Lyrics

You beloved
Were to me everything
That love stood for
To love one another for awhile was enough
It was all that I lived for
How can I go on without you
Can I go on without you
Well, I tell myself this time
I’m going to have to move on

It’s like
Bombay sapphires
Hey I can take you higher
Whatever you desire
I can mend your heart

It is green
It is aqua marine
It is colors I have never seen
I can see past you to the white sand
It is blue
It is not about you
It is all true
You know who I am

The sea never changes not really
It is the constant in my life
I always return here
To the flash of those colors
Through every window
The wind through the night
Here I am dramatic
Here I am not waiting
Here I am not listening
To the call of the wind

Well, it’s like
Bombay sapphires
Hey I can take you higher
Whatever you desire
I can mend your heart

It’s like purple haze
It’s there every day
Its passion never fades
You know what I mean

It’s like
Bombay sapphires
Hey I can take you higher
Whatever you desire
I can mend your heart
I can mend your heart
I can mend your heart
I can mend your heart
Whatever you desire
Whatever you desire

(Stevie Nicks) © 1999 ℗ Welsh Witch Music (BMI)

Bombay Sapphires (Alternate Version)

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