Trouble In Shangri-La
Today is the 15th anniversary of Trouble In Shangri-La. Months ago Ivory Keys made an exhaustive report of the album sessions so I thought to share it:
Trouble In Shangri-La Sessions (1994-2001)
Work on Stevie’s seventh album began in 1994, even as she was finishing up her commitments to promoting Street Angel. There were actually two new releases for Stevie scheduled for 1995, which would have fulfilled her contract with Atlantic Records.
In Late 1994 through 1995, I spoke with Stevie’s management often, and they are the ones who gave me the details on what was next for Stevie. While she was writing songs for her next studio album, there was to be a “rarities” collection released in 1995 that comprised of soundtrack songs, b-sides, and studio outtakes. The album was to be entitled Playing In God’s Garden and the track listing was as follows:
1. Whenever I Call You 'Friend'
2. Violet And Blue
3. Sleeping Angel
4. I Need To Know (Live)
5. Gold And Braid
7. Running Through The Garden
8. Kick It (Acoustic Version)
9. Silver Springs
10. Not A Love I'm Proud Of (No one has heard this!)
11. Just Like Jesse James (NOT the Cher song! Stevie-written!)
12. Playing In God's Garden
Next on Stevie’s plate was a Lifetime Intimate Portrait special and concert, as popularized by Carly Simon early in 1995. There would have been an interview special with Stevie on Lifetime followed by a Live concert, which would have been released simultaneously as an album. Unfortunately, the producers at Lifetime wanted to slant it that Stevie was a has-been and that all her glory was forever resigned to the past. Stevie refused to go along with that and cancelled the Lifetime deal. Also, since she was writing up a storm, she had the rarities collection shelved as well. She began recording demos in 1995 and fully recording songs later that year and into 1996 that have never been heard, but she did not want to be seen as a nostalgia act. Stevie was ready for her productive future!
While at dinner with Tom Petty at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 24, 1995, Stevie asked him to write a song with her, telling him, “You know me better than I know myself.” Stevie told Tom’s answer in The Sunday Times (04/22/2001): "Basically, he told me, stop complaining, get over what you're grieving about, go home and write songs, you don't need me."
As she elaborated in her 05/01/2001 interview with Barnes And Noble:
“At the end of 1994, when I wrote 'Love Is,' I was so grieving about the whole Street Angel thing. Even though I thought it was a terrible record, I loved the songs. The songs were my children, you know. And I was very much grieving about the Klonopin and the Prozac, because I had done many things in that eight years that I was not proud of, that were not me, things that I would never do. And, basically, Tom came to town to play, and I had dinner with him at the Ritz-Carlton and he said, 'You know what? [pauses] Everybody makes mistakes. Certainly, you can't blame yourself for the Klonopin and the Prozac -- you didn't go out on the streets looking for that. That's just a nasty thing that happened to you, so now get over it. You're upset 'cause you're 20 pounds overweight -- lose it, you can do it. That's not your problem. Your problem is knowing and remembering that you're a great songwriter, Stevie. I'm not going to help you write songs, I don't have to help you. You need to go home to your piano and sit down and do what you love to do. You never married, you never had children because your love is songwriting, and what in the world is up with you telling me that you need me to help you write songs?' And you know what? That's all he had to say. And it was like, 'OK, chief, I am so outta here, and I am going home.' That was just that little kick in the butt that I really, really needed from somebody that I totally respect, that always has my best in mind.”
As she told USA Today (05/04/2001), “I went straight to my living room and started to write. That dinner at the Ritz-Carlton was worth a jillion dollars.”
So, what was that song written after the famous Ritz-Carlton dinner of April 24, 1995? Stevie has said time and again that “Love Is” was written in Late 1994. Is she mixing up the dates? Maybe not. In her interview with Us Weekly (June 11-18, 2001), Stevie names a different song as being written that night:
“I thank him [Tom] on the album for his inspirational lecture on April 24, 1995. I was in Phoenix, and he came there. We had dinner at the Ritz-Carlton. I asked if we could write a song when we got back to L.A., and he said, 'Why?' I said, 'I’ve lost eight years, I weigh 170 pounds and I can’t write. I’m angry.' He said, 'Get over it. Go home and write. You’re a writer.' It was an inspirational moment. He made me feel OK and better. He said ‘Stevie, everything’s OK. You’re alive. Let’s celebrate that.’ I went home and wrote the first song on the album, ‘Trouble in Shangri-La.’”
Stevie has repeatedly said that “Love Is” was written in December of 1994, including this May 2001 interview with Mix 96.9 in Phoenix:
“The first song was written in the last month of 1994; the very end of that year I wrote ‘Love Is,’ which is the last song on the record—one year later I wrote ‘Trouble In Shangri-La,’ and that’s when I named the record. In my heart I believed that this record was gonna be important when I wrote ‘Love Is.’ At that point I set out to make my little dream come true; then the Fleetwood Mac thing happened and for two solid years I was pretty much stopped, but when I went out on the road with Fleetwood Mac I wrote a lot of the poetry that ended up in the Trouble In Shangri-La songs.”
The album version of “Love Is” was recorded in Canada in 2000, as Stevie explained in her Barnes And Noble interview on May 1, 2001: “Then I asked Pierre Marchand, of Sarah McLachlan fame, if he would do one song, 'Love Is.' I went up to Canada and called Sarah 'cause she lived there, and she played piano, and that was done in a week.”
That dinner with Tom also inspired Stevie to take their conversation and turn it into another new 1995 song, “That Made Me Stronger.” As she elaborated to the Boston Globe (04/29/2001), Tom’s words were extra powerful coming from him:
“'I guess I needed to hear that from somebody like Tom in order to take it seriously. It's like everybody else could tell me that, but it was like, `What do you know? You don't know my life. You don't know what I'm going through.' But when Tom Petty says something to me, he does know what I'm going through. He knows my life, because his life is the same.”
Even more Petty-shared wisdom would make its way into another song written in 1995, “Hard Advice”, but it would take almost 20 years for that song to be heard when it was finally released on Stevie’s 2014 album, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault.
Stevie completed writing the song, “Trouble In Shangri-La,” in 1995 while watching the OJ Simpson murder trial on television. "It's the whole idea of achieving paradise and how difficult it is to handle it. Trouble in Shangri-La is about a lot of people, including myself.”
In the May 2001 issue of Interview Magazine, Stevie further explained it:
“That song was written during the last two months of the OJ Simpson trial, but that's not what it was about. What the OJ trial made me aware of was relationships, and how difficult they are - especially for people who are in the public eye and are very famous and how difficult it is for them to hold on to Shangri-La. Of course, to somebody who doesn't make very much money and would just love to live in Shangri-La, it's hard to even hear that. But there is a price to pay for this kind of fame. It's strange, because in a sense I was writing about the same things when I recorded Bella Donna, almost 20 years ago.”
For the April 22, 2001, issue of The Sunday Times, Stevie revealed:
“It was during the last two months of the OJ Simpson trial," Nicks reveals. “To me, it was such an amazing picture of the utmost trouble in paradise. You make it to the top, get to the place you wanted to be, and you can't handle it. It's happened to me, and it's happened to everyone I know. I think that probably nobody should ever get everything they want. I know a lot of people with a lot of money who are very unhappy.”
In her Village Radio interview in May 2001, Stevie elaborated the song’s meaning a little more:
“Well, it was written, it was written at the same, it was written in the last two months of the O.J. Simpson trial. And I try to make it really clear to people that it was not written about O.J. It was written about the situation that he and many people that sort of make it to the height of their field. Whether you're a sports figure or a rock star or a doctor or a lawyer, indian chief, you know, candlemaker... whatever it is, when you kind of get to the top of your field and you are, like, really there. And how difficult it is for people to stay there. And how difficult it is for people to not go crazy. And how really hard it is for people to enjoy life, you know, to just say, 'Wow, I made it, I'm rich, I have lots of great friends, I can travel for the rest of my life, I'm free,' you know? And, but yet, that isn't enough, then. That becomes your world, and then that's not enough, and then, if you're searching for paradise, you found it, and suddenly what you thought was paradise, isn't really paradise.”
At her birthday concert at The Wiltern on May 26, 2011, Stevie revealed that “Annabel Lee” had been written when she was 17 years old. She said that her first demo for the song was recorded in 1996. She loved how the demo turned out even though the song did not end up on Trouble In Shangri-La. In 2010, Dave Stewart would produce a version of “Annabel Lee” that greatly pleased Stevie, and it would become a centerpiece of her 2011 album, In Your Dreams.
“Have No Heart” was one of the first new songs that Stevie wrote in 1995 with her renewed burst of creativity. A demo of it was submitted for copyright on February 11, 1997. The lyrics of “Have No Heart” are inspired by “The Birthday Of The Infanta” by Oscar Wilde, one of Stevie’s favorite authors.
Another song, “Tear It Down”, was written in 1995 and demoed in 1997, but it has never circulated among fans as of yet.
Late in 1995, Stevie was hired to write a song for the upcoming film, Twister. She would release her demo for “Twisted” on her 1998 box set, Enchanted, which included guitar overdubs by Jesse Valenzuela. The demo below is without those overdubs and slightly longer.
For the soundtrack version, Stevie had Lindsey Buckingham produce the song and sing it as a duet with her. Mick Fleetwood also plays drums on the song. Stevie and Lindsey both revealed that this collaboration resulted from them all working on Lindsey’s in-progress solo album in 1995 and 1996. Interestingly, none of Stevie’s contributions to those Buckingham sessions has ever surfaced.
In July and August of 1996, Stevie would write the beautiful song, “Touched By An Angel”. In 1997, Barbara Nicks even hailed the song as her favorite that no one had yet heard. Produced by Stevie and John Shanks in 2000, “Touched By An Angel” had its place on Trouble In Shangri-La, and it was agony for Stevie to take the song off the album, as she explained in her Mix 96.9 (Phoenix) interview in May 2001:
“That was one of my very favorite songs and when they told me I had to cut down from 16 songs to 12 [for this CD] I was horrified. The only reason I let ‘Touched By An Angel’ go was because they said, ‘We have a great movie that it could go in and it’ll have its own little starring role.’ It’s about AIDS and about the angel that I believe is with us all that takes you through to the next side. And so it was a very precious song to me. And the other three that didn’t make the record I pulled back to redo next year with Fleetwood Mac.”
The first copyright for “Space Needle” is from February 11, 1997, with an indicator that Stevie wrote the song in 1996. Several new songs were submitted for copyright on that date, as well as older songs that were newly re-recorded (“Goodbye Baby”, “Blue Water”, and “The Charmed Ones (The City Of Hope Song)”.
While on tour with Fleetwood Mac in 1997 for The Dance, Stevie wrote several new songs, including “Thrown Down” and “Not Make Believe”, which she demoed for Trouble In Shangri-La. As Stevie related in her Wall Of Sound Interview from May 2001:
“The Fleetwood Mac tour ended up being a great thing for me as a writer; when I was on the tour, I wrote about four or five of the songs — not the music but the poetry. So when I got home from that tour and went to really start writing for this record, I was able to go back through my journals and pick up some really wonderful songs.”
Both “Not Make Believe” and “Thrown Down” would not make the final track list for Trouble In Shangri-La but new recordings of both would be released on Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 album, Say You Will.
The September 21-27, 2000 issue of the Arizona Republic has an interview with Stevie about her upcoming “Stevie Nicks And Friends” concert for the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation on September 23, 2000. Stevie also talks about her new album, Trouble In Shangri-La, which was set for release in Early 2001. She mentions that she enlisted Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham to play on one track on the album. That song is “Thrown Down”, and it was on the 16-track Acetate CD of Trouble In Shangri-La that several people received at the AHI benefit party.
About that 16-track version of Trouble In Shangri-La, Stevie related in her Village Radio Interview in May 2001:
“So, you know, even releasing these 12, 13 songs, it was like, I really, there were 16 songs to begin with and I had to take three out because you can't have that many songs on a CD. Just like you couldn't have, really, 12 long songs on a vinyl record, you couldn't have, you know, that's why 'Silver Springs' didn't go on, cause there was not room for it. So on this record, it was like I was told I had to drop four songs, and, I didn't drop four, I dropped three, I could not drop four. It was like, there just cannot, four cannot go. But I really went, you know, around with my whole concept of Shangri-La, and the ones that came out were really the ones that didn't quite fit into my Trouble in Shangri-La concept.”
Therefore, before the album’s release, Stevie would pull “Thrown Down” off of the record and give it over to Fleetwood Mac for their next record which the men were set to begin recording in Early 2001. The producer of the Trouble In Shangri-La version of “Thrown Down” is most likely John Shanks.
In the May 2001 issue of Q Magazine, Stevie was asked about Rosanna Arquette and Laura Dern being in the studio when she recorded “Fall From Grace”. She answered: “You know what? That was the first time I met them! The only reason they were there was because they'd come to see Sheryl Crow. Sheryl does know everybody. I don't. My producer John Shanks was cutting three verses out of that song and Rosanna and Laura told him, ‘John, put these things back in - you're screwing up the story!’”
Stevie’s demo of “Fall From Grace” contains many more verses and different lyrics from the album version.
Stevie further revealed to The Sunday Times (04/22/2001) that six of the songs from Trouble In Shangri-La were written on the road for The Dance. Among them were “Love Changes” and “Fall From Grace”, both of which are "pretty much about" the band itself. “Love Changes” chronicles some of the negative vibrations within Fleetwood Mac:
"If you take out all the bad stuff in the band, the songs wouldn't happen," she explains. "The thing is, you have to have trouble in Shangri-La."
While in the studio with David Kahne in 2000, Stevie agreed to record a song he had written, “Call On Me For Magic”. The plan was for the song to perhaps go on a soundtrack somewhere but it remained unreleased until Kahne posted it on his website in 2008.
After completing various appearances and awards shows for The Dance in Early 1998, Stevie began work again on her Trouble In Shangri-La album, including sessions in February with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins (which have never leaked). However, her final album for Atlantic, the box set, Enchanted, was being released and Stevie embarked on promotion for the set, including a very successful tour that Summer.
Stevie appeared with several other female artists for the benefit for the Walden Woods project on April 16, 1998, in Los Angeles, performing two Blues standards, “At Last” and “When Sunny Gets Blue”. AT&T released a compilation CD of the night, which includes Stevie’s now-legendary powerful rendition of “At Last”.
In Late 1994, Stevie recorded an unreleased Sheryl Crow song, “Somebody Stand By Me”, for the soundtrack to the 1995 film, Boys On The Side. Stevie explained how she met Sheryl for the first time in 1995 in her Wall Of Sound interview in May 2001:
“I first met Sheryl Crow at the House of Blues on the premiere night of a movie called Boys On The Side. There was a soundtrack to that; they sent me a song Sheryl Crow had written ["Somebody Stand by Me"] to record. I didn't know Sheryl; I knew who she was, but I didn't know her. And I liked the song and recorded it. I met her at the premiere thing, and that was the first time I talked to her about possible production because I had really liked her song and I really enjoyed doing it. We really planned it out; we wanted to work together and we wanted to sing together. Sheryl's a harmony singer, and I'm a harmony singer; we go to harmony immediately before we go to melody. So we thought it would be something that would be great to do.”
Stevie’s partnership with Sheryl Crow would officially begin, however, in Summer 1998 in Manhattan when Sheryl produced two of Stevie’s songs for the soundtrack to the film, Practical Magic. “If You Ever Did Believe” and “Crystal” were both recorded in one night in Late August 1998, with film’s release set for October 16, 1998. “Crystal” had been previously released on Buckingham Nicks in 1973 and Fleetwood Mac in 1975, with both versions containing Lindsey Buckingham on lead vocals of Stevie’s song.
Of “If You Ever Did Believe”, Sheryl revealed to Entertainment Weekly Online (10/26/1998), “This one was about Mick. So what does that make it? '78?”
After this intense and swift recording session, Stevie and Sheryl agreed that Sheryl would produce Trouble In Shangri-La, once she was finished with publicity and touring for her 1998 album, The Globe Sessions.
Once everything concerning The Dance and Enchanted was finally finished, Stevie once again started working on Trouble In Shangri-La in 1999. As she told Barnes And Noble (05/01/2001):
“Then I hooked up with Sheryl Crow, who has since become my really dear friend and confidante. We recorded two old songs ["Candlebright," from 1970 and "Sorcerer," from 1972]. We tried to get her do the whole record, but she had just released The Globe Sessions so we couldn't really do that. Then Sheryl came back from one part of her tour, realized I was in big trouble because I did not have a producer, and jumped back in. We did three more songs, so it ended up that she's produced half the record.”
As Stevie told Sonicnet in June 2001:
“'Sorcerer' was written in 1974, a year before we joined Fleetwood Mac. It was really about the city of Hollywood and how strange it was to us. It was all about models and rock 'n' roll and drugs and scary people. I was a very, very prudish little girl from San Francisco who had strict parents, I had not had a lot of freedom, and coming into this town was freaky. 'All around the black ink darkness, and who found the lady from the mountains.' The lady from the mountains was me. I did a [nude] photo session for the Buckingham Nicks album and I was horrified about that cover. I did not want to do that, and I was really made to feel like, 'Don't be a child, don't be a baby, this is art, this is your future.' And I did do it, and I never forgot that. It was the one time in my life that I did something that I felt was not morally right for me to do.”
The Unedited Album Version of “Sorcerer” is much longer and contains extra guitar from Sheryl that can also be heard on the Crow Remix Edit of the song on the Sorcerer CD-Single.
As Stevie told Sonicnet (04/20/2001) of “Candlebright”: “It was one of the demos Lindsey and I moved to L.A. with, and so I have an incredible demo of just me and Lindsey," she said. "And it's exactly like what's on the record except that it's me and Sheryl. Singing with Sheryl is very much like singing with Lindsey: She's a real great duet singer, and so we had a great jumping-off point from the beginning.”
Concerning the origins of “Candlebright,” Stevie related to Borders.com in June 2001:
“It was written in 1970, so I was only 22. I think I was always dreaming about now. I had never lived away from my parents when I wrote that song. I had no idea what was coming. But I think that song is a pretty amazing premonition, because it really is about how I would always travel and basically keep the light in the window so I could find my way back.”
In May 2001, soon after the release of Trouble In Shangri-La, a re-edited version of “Too Far From Texas” began circulating among fans. It is most likely a fan-made creation but it is very well done.
Concerning the recording of the song, Stevie told Barnes And Noble (05/01/2001):
“Natalie is a friend of Sheryl Crow's, because, of course, Sheryl Crow knows everybody in the world. If you need anybody, call Sheryl -- she'll have a number. This was a song, 'Too Far from Texas,' from a good friend of mine named Sandy Stewart from Texas. So I said to Sheryl, 'What do you think? Do you think Natalie and I could sing this?' And she said, 'I think you could, and I think she'll like it. Let's send it.' So she sent it to her and within two days me, Natalie, Sheryl Crow on bass, Waddy Wachtel, Michael Campbell, Benmont Tench, and Steve Ferrone went into Michael's home studio, and basically it's like Natalie and Stevie and Sheryl and the Heartbreakers, without Tom. We replaced Tom with us. [laughs] And the singing is live. We did two days. I was very proud 'cause I thought, You know what? My idea really worked. And then [Sheryl] was gone. That's how this whole record has been.”
Sheryl Crow wrote “It’s Only Love” for and about Stevie. As Stevie told Sonicnet (04/20/2001), “She came up the stairs carrying her guitar and she just sat down and played it for me," Nicks recalled. "She told me, 'I went home, and I just was really thinking about all your stories and all the stuff you've been through.' Now that we've been friends for four years, I've just about told her all the great stories, she knows them all — and that's really what she wrote the song about.”
Recently, a Warner Brothers demonstration CD surfaced containing two mixes of an alternate recording of “It’s Only Love”. Stevie’s lead vocal is a completely different version than the album’s release, and the music is more sparse.
Stevie wrote “Planets Of The Universe” in 1976 about her failed relationship with Lindsey Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac attempted to record the song for Rumours but it went unfinished. Stevie was determined that “Planets Of The Universe” be recorded properly for her Trouble In Shangri-La album, but it would take awhile. Sheryl Crow attempted to achieve the results Stevie desired in 1999, but they both agreed that it was not sufficient. Stevie continued to demo the song to show producers exactly what she wanted to accomplish. Finally, after producing several other tracks for Trouble In Shangri-La, John Shanks took on the challenge in 2000, finally getting the sound a feel that Stevie had been hoping for.
In her May 25, 2001 interview with MSN Music, Stevie further explained:
“But you know, Sheryl really had no idea what to do with 'Fall from Grace' or 'Planets Of The Universe,' and she will tell you so. It's like she just didn't get it. I was almost to the point of saying, 'I guess they're just not good.' When I played them for John, it was just amazing that I met somebody that could take the ball and run with it and finish the record for me. When you take somebody on to do more than one or two songs you really are bringing them into your life, they are becoming a real serious part of your music.”
The first verse was actually written very late in the game, as Stevie detailed to the Miami Herald (05/01/2001):
“It's one of the heaviest songs I've ever written and I wrote it in anger in all my drama -- as dramatic as I was and probably still am. I went back and wrote the first part of the song a couple months ago because I wanted to soften it a little bit.’”
The verse containing Stevie’s most bitter and damning lyrics in the song was cut from the final album release. However, that verse would be included in the Extended Album Version that was released on the Planets Of The Universe CD-Single in July 2001, along with several remixes of the song. The remixed “Planets Of The Universe” would enjoy great success on the Dance charts in 2001, making it all the way to Number One!
The Acetate CD of Trouble In Shangri-La from September 2000 contain an alternate mix of a few songs, including “I Miss You”. Soon after Trouble In Shangri-La’s release, a different mix of “I Miss You” surfaced, labelled as the “Euro Mix”. This is most likely another fan-made creation but is included here for completeness.
Another song from the September 2000 Acetate CD of Trouble In Shangri-La with a different mix is “Every Day”, which contains many different backing vocals not present on the final release.
The Acetate version of “Bombay Sapphires” is not a different mix but a completely different version altogether. This version on the 16-track Trouble In Shangri-La contains an extra verse not heard on the final album version. Stevie has said that she was not happy with the two previous versions of “Bombay Sapphires” that different producers had recorded, so she finally went back into the studio in Late 2000 and produced a new version herself.
Much discussion has been made about the possible producer of the Acetate version of “Bombay Sapphires”. Many fans think that this version was recorded during the sessions with Dallas Austin in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 1999. Of her work with Austin, Stevie told the Miami Herald (05/01/2001):
“The whole album was going a certain way and Dallas had to move on, he can't spend a year doing an album,'' Nicks says on the telephone from her Santa Barbara, Calif. home. “I came back to L.A. and started to do other songs with Sheryl and I realized the record was going in a completely different direction. The songs didn't fit. The songs that I did with him were very R&B and then I'm dueting with [country's] Natalie and all of a sudden this record was not making any sense at all.”
Dallas Austin produced four or five songs for Trouble In Shangri-La after Sheryl had to leave the project for awhile, and Stevie was hoping that Austin could provide some of her songs with his studio magic. Is this Acetate version of “Bombay Sapphires” from those 1999 Atlanta sessions? There is no confirmation, officially or unofficially, and remains a mystery to this day.
Concerning the song’s origins, Stevie told In News Weekly (05/02/2001) that it was not written about the upscale gin and that its manufacturers had not contacted her for an endorsement:
“No, they haven't, and it's not 'Bombay Sapphire', It's 'Bombay SapphireS!' ( laughs ) I knew people were going to hit me with that. I got the idea many, many, years ago when we were talking about jewelry and stones, about tile and rubies, Bombay sapphires. It's like a blue - gray kind of star sapphire thing, it's the color of the ocean, and that's what I wrote it about. And I purposely put the 'S' on it so that they wouldn't think I was writing about gin. Gin makes you meaaaannn! It's definitely not a liquor I would have written a song about.”
Her Borders.com interview in June 2001explains the song in even more detail, especially why it was important for “Bombay Sapphires” to be on the album:
“Yes, because it is a song that I thought had a great message. 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 explained why “Bombay Sapphires” was her favorite song on the album to Sonicnet in June 2001:
“My personal favorite is ‘Bombay Sapphires.’ When it says, 'I can see past you to the white sand,' that sentence right there is the whole reason for ‘Bombay Sapphires.’ 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 OK because I am movin' past you. And when ‘Bombay Sapphires’ 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.”
About how she ended up producing the song herself, Stevie continued:
“It was easy, because it was exactly what I wanted to do. It was done in one night. I really did have a vision for that song, and [on earlier attempts to record it] nobody else saw my vision. The first time it was too R&B, the second time it was too Wagner, dirgelike. The third time it was back to its little funky reggae self. I'm managed by the same people who manage Macy, and in the spur of the moment I just said, 'You know, I bet Macy could sing the high part on that chorus.' Two days later she was in the studio. So none of this was very thought out. It was all perfect accidents.”
Of Macy Gray’s involvement with the album version of the song, Stevie also revealed in her Wall Of Sound interview of May 2001:
“Macy came in for one night. She's managed by my management, and I asked, 'Do you think Macy would sing the high part on this chorus?' We asked her, and she came down and it just happened. She said to me as she walked through the door, ‘I don't do harmony;’ I said, ‘OK, you're not going to do harmony tonight, either,’ and I went out and I put the high harmony on it, and we took the melody out and she went out and sang it as if that high harmony was the melody to the song. She did it perfect, and she was gone in a puff. The great thing is, it's forever now; it only took a moment, but it's forever now.”
Written in 2000 by Stevie (with music provided by Mike Campbell), “My Heart” was one of the final songs recorded for Trouble In Shangri-La, with the producer most likely being John Shanks. “My Heart” was included on the September 2000 Acetate CD of Trouble In Shangri-La, but not the final released album.
In 2010, Stevie recorded “My Heart” again with Dave Stewart producing and with a rearranged format on the verses, and the song would finally be officially released as a bonus track on 2011’s In Your Dreams.
Copyrights for “You’re Not The One” exist for both 1999 and 2000, so it is most likely that Sheryl Crow produced a version of the song for Trouble In Shangri-La. Stevie and Sheryl would later record a new version for Sheryl’s 2002 album, C’mon, C’mon, with Stevie providing powerful vocals.
Audios here: http://stevienicksivorykeys.blogspot...1994-2001.html
thanks , love Ivory Keys if you're looking for something it's there
Thanks for posting. I love a good trip down memory lane. Remember the marketing for the album? You could pre-order and get a complicated (by today's standards) way of downloading each song. I was pacing back and forth for years waiting for its release. I was so disappointed in the first single "Everyday." That is the worst song Stevie has ever done IMHO. The album has some great tracks. But I find some of the songs annoying. The first 6 songs have almost the same tempo and beat. I always thought some of the songs almost sounded like demos. Stevie needed a good producer to put some licks into the songs. The songs are very good but there is no great drumming, guitar playing, etc. Its very methodical and conservative. I know the original version of this album was put on the shelf with the TLC producer because the songs sounded too funky. IMHO, half the tracks are very good but the other half I could care less to hear again.
Its definitely a moment in time remembering May 2001. I remember exactly what I was doing and how the world was on the edge of changing forever in a few months.
I love the title track, Bombay Sapphires, Love is, Sorcerer, and Planets.
I remember dancing to the Planets remix in the hottest club in South Beach. It was an awesome time. It was a great remix.
she can re-record ALL these songs and release it this year and I will roll over and die.
or hell, release them ALL as acoustic versions hmmmmmmm
OR just the two songs we've never heard of.
GIVE THEM TO UUUUUUUUUUUUS NOOOOOOOOOOOW :D
Yesterday was a strange day for my brain.
Ultimate Classic Rock By Annie ZaleskiMay 7, 2016 11:32 AM
15 Years Ago: Stevie Nicks Comes Back Strong With ‘Trouble in Shangri-La’
Read More: 15 Years Ago: Stevie Nicks Comes Back Strong With 'Trouble in Shangri-La' | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/stevi...ckback=tsmclip
Stevie Nicks took her time releasing 2001’s Trouble in Shangri-La. More precisely, the record arrived seven years after her previous solo album, 1994’s Street Angel. The latter collection arrived when Nicks was in a low period: She was in the throes of a Klonopin addiction (and stints in rehab), and had gone on record as hating how the LP had turned out.
In between, she had reunited with Fleetwood Mac, and toured solo behind the career-spanning Enchanted boxed set. Yet the negative Street Angel experience lingered even as she started contemplating Trouble in Shangri-La. In fact, it took a dinner with her old pal and creative foil Tom Petty to bolster her confidence and set the album in motion.
“Basically, he said, ‘You know that you’re a good songwriter, Stevie, and I don’t know what’s getting in the way right now, but you just need to go home and go straight to your piano,'” she told Time Out New York. “I was having a hard time getting over the Street Angel experience. I was just really sad. That dinner made all the difference. I give Tom all the credit in the world for this record.”
It helped that Nicks had a few solid songs in her pocket from the post-Street Angel days. The piano-driven “Love Is” was written in January 1995, while the title track coalesced in late 1994. The mandolin- and string-adorned “Candlebright” and the mystical, folk-tinged “Sorcerer” were even older: Both dated from her days in Buckingham Nicks.
Plus, the experience of reuniting with Fleetwood Mac for an extensive 1997 world tour also “ended up being a great thing for me as a writer,” Nicks toldWall of Sound. “When I was on the tour, I wrote about four or five of the songs — not the music but the poetry. So when I got home from that tour and went to really start writing for this record, I was able to go back through my journals and pick up some really wonderful songs.”
In some cases, this influence was direct. “Planets of the Universe” was a Rumours-era demo Nicks updated with subtle, lush keyboards, while Lindsey Buckingham added backing vocals and guitar to the ornate midtempo ballad “I Miss You.” Nicks also revealed the uptempo, electric rocker “Fall From Grace” is “really about Fleetwood Mac onstage — that’s always mostly going to be about me and Lindsey, just about our energy and what a trip it is to be in Fleetwood Mac and walk up there onstage.”
Still, Nicks’ refusal to become imprisoned by her past personal and musical narrative made Trouble in Shangri-La a fine addition to her catalog. More than anything, her versatility shone through: “Planets of the Universe” ended up hitting No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, while the Natalie Maines duet “Too Far From Texas” hewed toward country-folk music. The Sheryl Crow-penned “It’s Only Love,” meanwhile, was a tender, stripped-down affair that shows the influence Nicks has had rock musicians and songwriters.
Trouble in Shangri-La went gold within weeks and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. And it would also be Nicks’ last solo album for a decade, as the rejuvenated Fleetwood Mac, a solo greatest hits album and then touring kept her busy until 2011’s In Your Dreams.
Trouble in Shangri-La was the first album by Stevie that I bought. I still listen to it now and again. The extended version of POTU is sublime.
Love this album.
My favorite songs are Bombay Sapphires, Trouble in Shangri-La, Planets of the Universe, Sorcerer, Fall from Grace, and Love Is.
I never grow tired of this album. I love it
I tried clicking the link in the original post and received an error message that the blog had been removed. :(
Great summary of the album and demos! I had no idea so many versions of songs were out there, i.e. Planets of the Universe with all of the verses. I love Have No Heart... always wondered about the tragic inspiration.
Does Ivory Keys have the 16 track acetate?
I honestly don't remember if it was in the blog but if it's not copyrighted material they've certainly shared it.
This album was a missed opportunity but it definitely has the best album cover of her career and one of her best title tracks.
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