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Old 04-17-2019, 12:07 PM
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Default Leather and lace: how Stevie Nicks created a new musical language

A career-spanning box set documents the Fleetwood Mac singer’s influence as a solo artist, starting with her 1981 debut Bella Donna and its beguilingly witchy, feminine energy

The original vinyl insert of Bella Donna features just one photo of Stevie Nicks. Wearing a black dress with sheer lace sleeves, she peers over her right shoulder squarely at the camera, with a look that’s defiant yet a tad bashful. Next to Nicks are her two co-vocalists on the album, Sharon Celani and Lori Perry. The former sits stiffly on a formal antique couch, studiously looking at the floor; the latter perches on piece of ridiculously ornate wooden furniture, her arm slung over one knee.

The sisterhood evident in the photo and on the sleeve info (the vocalists are prominently credited, directly below Nicks) isn’t merely an aesthetic choice. It’s a reflection of the striking feminine energy underpinning the music on the 1981 disc, which topped the US and Australian album charts and launched the Fleetwood Mac member’s solo career. In the liner notes of a deluxe 2016 reissue, Nicks recalled that the Bella Donna sessions started with her, Celani and Perry in the living room of a rented oceanside home, working out harmonies and singing together while the album’s musical director, Benmont Tench (keyboardist with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), added accompaniment.

Once these sessions moved into the studio, this carefree camaraderie continued. The women sang together live and recorded live with the other musicians, leading to harmonies that pop out of the mix: a twangy chorus on the title track; R&B coos on the anxious Edge of Seventeen; soulful rock’n’roll oohs on How Still My Love. Unlike other rock albums of the early 80s, Bella Donna doesn’t overdo it with synthesizers or production gloss, which gives space for Nicks to bloom as a lead vocalist. She belts out the title track with passionate vibrato, matches Tom Petty’s ragged, wary tone on Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around and provides a tender, open-hearted foil to Don Henley on Leather and Lace.

Producer Jimmy Iovine recruited a gaggle of hotshot male musicians for the studio sessions, including members of the Heartbreakers, the E Street Band and Eagles. Waddy Wachtel (and, on occasion, Mike Campbell) tosses off searing guitar licks, while Russ Kunkel’s reassuring drums, Tench’s lush organ and Roy Bittan’s introspective piano adds depth. The pedal steel-dipped After the Glitter Fades hints at the country music Nicks grew up on, thanks to her grandfather. On How Still My Love and Outside the Rain, the music channels the easygoing blues rock of her beloved Heartbreakers. Bella Donna is decidedly a separate entity from Fleetwood Mac, free of that band’s musical tension and sonic restlessness.


That Bella Donna turned out as it did is a testament to Nicks’s tenacious belief in her musical vision and songs. This was a hard-fought victory, judging by how difficult it was for her to extricate herself from Fleetwood Mac’s orbit, even temporarily. In a 1981 Rolling Stone interview, she described how being in the band had become a suffocating experience by the end of the previous year’s tour supporting their 1979 album Tusk. “My life was completely wrapped up in Fleetwood Mac. You can call in sick to a job, a boyfriend, even a husband, but you cannot call in sick to Fleetwood Mac – ever.”

The break was a long time coming, as by the late 70s Nicks was looking for creative outlets outside the band. In a nod to her fascination with things mystical, she had written a batch of songs inspired by the Welsh mythological goddess Rhiannon that were earmarked for a future movie. (The film was never made, although it was far enough along in development to have the screenwriter for David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Paul Mayersberg, attached to the project.) She also sang on several hit singles, including Kenny Loggins’ Whenever I Call You Friend and Walter Egan’s Magnet and Steel.

But she soon determined that stepping out on her own, and making Bella Donna was the key to ditching that golden albatross of being in a superstar band. “It’s difficult to be a girl in a big rock’n’roll group for six years,” Nicks told US Magazine in 1981. “You’re very protected and dependent. For so long you’re not allowed to make your own decisions that suddenly you don’t want to any more. Doing my solo album was the only step I could take to show I still had control.”

To ensure that her decisions weren’t compromised, Nicks teamed up with two music industry veterans, future Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg and Bearsville Records’ Paul Fishkin, and formed a label, Modern Records. The idea was that the trio would partner with a bigger label to distribute Nicks’s solo work. As they worked to secure a collaboration, Nicks’s solo ambitions were dismissed or sneered at by male gatekeepers. In his memoir, Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business, Goldberg recalled Fleetwood Mac’s lawyer, Mickey Shapiro, derisively terming a Nicks solo album “artsy-craftsy”, while Mo Ostin, then-head of Fleetwood Mac’s label, Warner Bros, decisively passed on the Modern Records deal. Drummer Mick Fleetwood, with whom Nicks had recently had a fling, also wasn’t thrilled with her extracurricular contract.

She understood Fleetwood Mac’s misgivings about her solo career. There was no shortage of jealousy and possessiveness, as she reported in a 1982 Cream interview. However, the lack of industry respect is puzzling. When Nicks and then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined the band, their presence transformed it into a sales juggernaut. Although the pair’s 1973 LP under the name Buckingham Nicks flopped, the musical strengths of that now-cult classic – sugary melodies, taut arrangements, and crisp pop hooks – carried over to Fleetwood Mac and balanced out their more meandering tendencies.

On the band’s 1975 self-titled effort and 1977’s Rumours, Nicks proved herself to be a formidable songwriter. By the release of Bella Donna, she had penned three of Fleetwood Mac’s Top 20 US hits, including the band’s sole No 1, Dreams, and was responsible for two of their live highlights: Landslide – a sparse, folky, acoustic song expressing anxiety about an unknown future – and the shimmering, shuddering psychedelic epic Gold Dust Woman. Even if the commercial prospects for a Nicks solo vehicle were unknown, her group track record was sterling.

Despite this success, Nicks was rarely mentioned in the same breath as any of the Laurel Canyon luminaries, such as Joni Mitchell or the Eagles, a fact she was well aware of. “I learned a long time ago that I’d have to work very hard to get even a blink from any of them, not as a woman or a performer, but as a writer,” she told US Magazine. To add insult to injury, Goldberg also recalled in his book that Nicks was portrayed as being “too spacey to have commercial success” outside of Fleetwood Mac, while her “flamboyant appearance” caused her to be “underestimated as a songwriter”.

It’s tempting (and correct) to blame blatant sexism and lazy stereotyping for this stonewalling, although that feels like only one explanation. Nicks’s earnest, fantastical lyrics in those days didn’t easily fit any obvious category. Her poetic songwriting style was more idiosyncratic than that of other prominent female musicians – more abstract than Mitchell, less sentimental than Carole King, not as academic as Patti Smith – and she added theatrical flourishes that were endearingly dramatic. Her songs exuded whimsy even as they examined power dynamics through the lens of strong female characters: the shape shifting Rhiannon; the slippery morality practiced by the Gold Dust Woman; and the seductive pull of Sisters of the Moon. Nicks’s lyrics spoke directly to women about their own experiences – the intoxicating romance of a best friendship, the tingling possibilities of idealized love and the tendrils of drama and affection underpinning it all. They did not resort to platitudes or sugarcoating. No wonder male record executives missed the essence of what made her so appealing: Nicks’s music wasn’t meant for them.

Bella Donna dialed back the magical realism and made Nicks’s search for strength and equilibrium central. The title track is wary about maintaining a fast-paced lifestyle, while Edge of Seventeen grew out of her grief over the deaths of an uncle and of John Lennon. Worn-out songwriting tropes of wallowing or pining were similarly excluded from Bella Donna: Nicks’s narrators refuse to be subsumed by others, or by their own bad behavior. Leather and Lace, which Nicks originally wrote for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, describes a generous, intimate give-and-take (“Give me your leather / Take from me my lace”), while Kind of Woman features a scorned woman who’s primed to do some “haunting” of a philanderer.

Nicks’s journey to self-discovery isn’t always enlightened when viewed through a modern lens. The Highwayman, which she said she wrote about one-time beau Don Henley, is “about what a woman in rock’n’roll has to do to keep up with the men”, she once said. “It’s their world. To be taken seriously a woman has to walk softly and carry a big stick.” However, she also said this ingratiating approach was meant to allow her to soak up musical insights from men – and by that token, she was wildly successful. For example, Nicks and Iovine were a couple while making the album, although it was clear that he acquiesced to her creative wishes, with one notable exception: he insisted she record the Tom Petty–Mike Campbell song Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around and put it on the album. (Nicks initially resisted, but came around.)

That song might give people the wrong idea about Bella Donna. For as much as Nicks’s romantic exploits dominated conversation around her, the album explored how to define and discover your identity on your own terms – especially in terms of love or a relationship. She wrote Think About It years before to boost fellow Mac member Christine McVie’s spirits and encourage her to embrace music even as the McVie’s marriage was busting up, while the main character of Outside the Rain is tired of games, and emphatically says: “You know I’m changing.” Even the male protagonist of Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around acknowledges agency, as duet partner Petty yelps: “I know you really want to tell me goodbye / I know you really want to be your own girl.”

In the hands of other songwriters, Bella Donna could have ended up solipsistic or indulgent. But its stark vulnerability – After the Glitter Fades, for example, pictures what it’s like when fame washes out – keeps the album rooted in cold, harsh reality. “I did [the title track] to prove to myself that I could still exist alone,” she said in a 1981 interview with the radio station WLIR. “If you listen to the words to Bella Donna, you will realise that I’m not writing about a beautiful woman; I’m writing about the possibility of any woman not being beautiful any more. And just turning into an old, used-up woman.”


This wasn’t entirely new territory for her. On Landslide, she also fretted about ageing. However, the idea of a woman addressing the downsides of getting older or losing her edge – in the context of a pop-rock album – was and remains radical. Pop music is meant to be an escapist balm, solace from reality or at least a vehicle for shared commiseration. But Nicks carved out a confessional space by revealing her strengths and insecurities, and admitting that she didn’t have life figured out. That she felt as if her success could vaporise also made Bella Donna more relatable. Even bulletproof rock’n’roll goddess Stevie Nicks had a touch of imposter syndrome.

To British listeners, this may invoke parallels with Kate Bush’s iconoclastic material and command over her own career, several years before Nicks released Bella Donna. But although Nicks and Bush are frequently linked by fans, there’s little evidence to suggest Nicks was familiar with Bush at the time, although she expressed admiration for Bush’s songwriting, particularly Running Up That Hill, and aesthetic in a 2011 BBC interview.

Thirty-eight years later, as Nicks becomes the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, and oversees the release of a solo career-spanning box set (Stand Back 1981-2017), her influence on music is stronger than ever. That is certainly obvious at concerts by Nicks or Fleetwood Mac, where sartorial homages (some combination of a top hat, shawl, black dress and pointy black heels) are rampant. It is also evident in her long list of admirers. To name a few: Vanessa Carlton, Haim, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, Lana Del Rey, Sheryl Crow and Harry Styles.

This admiration starts with Bella Donna, an album that still reverberates across many areas of popular music. In some cases, the ripples are more like a strong current, as when Destiny’s Child sampled the guitar from Edge of Seventeen for Bootylicious. In other cases, these ripples are fainter – when Del Rey whispers of precarious stardom, or Florence and the Machine unspools antique lyrical intrigue. When musicians fight to make an album their way – Kelly Clarkson facing off against Clive Davis to make My December, for example, or Taylor Swift digging her heels in and jettisoning country on 1989. This is also a veiled nod to the way Nicks protected her art.

Bella Donna also provided a blueprint for artists such as Tori Amos and Styles to make dramatic sonic leaps with their solo careers, while serving as a manual for the latter (among others) to write complicated, multi-dimensional women. Nicks’s insistence on placing her own emotional and creative needs first has proved profoundly valuable to artists including Lorde and Hayley Williams: on Melodrama and Paramore’s After Laughter respectively, these women follow Nicks’s lead by making art to reclaim their own inner spark and sense of self, not to satisfy anyone else.


That Nicks wasn’t taken seriously as a songwriter before Bella Donna worked to her advantage, freeing her from any pressure except the kind she put on herself. Perhaps more importantly, this also gave her the space to not just reclaim, but preserve her inner life and identity. When Nicks included the scrawled phrase, “Come in out of the darkness” on the Bella Donna packaging, she meant it as a firm reminder to herself. As the album has amassed new audiences over the years, this simple message has evolved into an empowering rallying cry – and a way of life.

• Stand Back: 1981–2017 is out now on Rhino.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/20...mac-solo-debut
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kak125 View Post
The original vinyl insert of Bella Donna features just one photo of Stevie Nicks. Wearing a black dress with sheer lace sleeves, she peers over her right shoulder squarely at the camera, with a look that’s defiant yet a tad bashful. Next to Nicks are her two co-vocalists on the album, Sharon Celani and Lori Perry. The former sits stiffly on a formal antique couch, studiously looking at the floor; the latter perches on piece of ridiculously ornate wooden furniture, her arm slung over one knee.
That photo is the real start of Stevie's solo career. People gazed at it for days after buying the album that summer. Who really knows why it's so memorable? It isn't overtly sexual, obviously, or splashy or colorful or conceptually resonant—actually, in terms of its plasticity, it's rather staid and subdued. It doesn't strong-arm you from the album sleeve. But it's Stevie's most durable trademark: a mix of the antiquated and the erotic. It's evanescent, like a wisp image you see mentally from napping in the half-light.

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Once these sessions moved into the studio, this carefree camaraderie continued. The women sang together live and recorded live with the other musicians, leading to harmonies that pop out of the mix: a twangy chorus on the title track; R&B coos on the anxious Edge of Seventeen; soulful rock’n’roll oohs on How Still My Love. Unlike other rock albums of the early 80s, Bella Donna doesn’t overdo it with synthesizers or production gloss, which gives space for Nicks to bloom as a lead vocalist. She belts out the title track with passionate vibrato, matches Tom Petty’s ragged, wary tone on Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around and provides a tender, open-hearted foil to Don Henley on Leather and Lace.
In a way, Sharon and Lori are still hugely underappreciated. The Stevie aficionado knows them and loves them, but they're virtually invisible to the rest of the world. Kind of a shame, really, considering that they've done everything the great girl groups like the Supremes did, and then some (and for a lot longer).

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That Bella Donna turned out as it did is a testament to Nicks’s tenacious belief in her musical vision and songs. This was a hard-fought victory, judging by how difficult it was for her to extricate herself from Fleetwood Mac’s orbit, even temporarily. In a 1981 Rolling Stone interview, she described how being in the band had become a suffocating experience by the end of the previous year’s tour supporting their 1979 album Tusk. “My life was completely wrapped up in Fleetwood Mac.”
That was one of the most interesting moments in Stevie's professional life. She was tired of the mammoth Mac tours and doing Rhiannon and Landslide every night, as she said. So she went to Chile with one of the Mac studio engineers and somehow came back with a refreshing new version of herself and a vision for her path forward. I wish we knew more about it, but Stevie has talked very little about it.

Quote:
The break was a long time coming, as by the late 70s Nicks was looking for creative outlets outside the band. In a nod to her fascination with things mystical, she had written a batch of songs inspired by the Welsh mythological goddess Rhiannon that were earmarked for a future movie. (The film was never made, although it was far enough along in development to have the screenwriter for David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, Paul Mayersberg, attached to the project.) She also sang on several hit singles, including Kenny Loggins’ Whenever I Call You Friend and Walter Egan’s Magnet and Steel.
Heady days. In those days, believe it or not, we used to get very impatient with the "long" waits between Fleetwood Mac projects, and we looked forward to all the extracurricular work Stevie and the others did.

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To ensure that her decisions weren’t compromised, Nicks teamed up with two music industry veterans, future Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg and Bearsville Records’ Paul Fishkin, and formed a label, Modern Records. The idea was that the trio would partner with a bigger label to distribute Nicks’s solo work. As they worked to secure a collaboration, Nicks’s solo ambitions were dismissed or sneered at by male gatekeepers. In his memoir, Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business, Goldberg recalled Fleetwood Mac’s lawyer, Mickey Shapiro, derisively terming a Nicks solo album “artsy-craftsy”, while Mo Ostin, then-head of Fleetwood Mac’s label, Warner Bros, decisively passed on the Modern Records deal.
Despite the excitement that Stevie generated in people inside and outside the business, she had even by that time acquired a reputation for being a space cadet with loopy lyrics.

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Drummer Mick Fleetwood, with whom Nicks had recently had a fling, also wasn’t thrilled with her extracurricular contract.
Is this documented somewhere? I wasn't aware that Mick had ever expressed disapproval of Stevie's solo plans.

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However, she also said this ingratiating approach was meant to allow her to soak up musical insights from men – and by that token, she was wildly successful.
It's part of the paradox of Stevie Nicks that she never really soaked up specifically musical insights from women. She's talked about how Joplin's and Slick's stage charisma left its mark on her. But up until recently, where was Stevie's appreciation for other women songwriters? It was never very pronounced or deep—certainly nothing equivalent to the love she's had for the songs of Henley, Petty, et al.

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In the hands of other songwriters, Bella Donna could have ended up solipsistic or indulgent.
That must be a typo.

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To British listeners, this may invoke parallels with Kate Bush’s iconoclastic material and command over her own career, several years before Nicks released Bella Donna.
The occasional Kate Bush comparisons are absurd.

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That Nicks wasn’t taken seriously as a songwriter before Bella Donna worked to her advantage, freeing her from any pressure except the kind she put on herself.
One wonders why Stevie's seriousness as a songwriter was never picked up by the very men in the business she wanted to please and rival: the Eagles-Jackson Browne-JD Souther-James Taylor axis of West Coast singer-songwriters in the 1970s. Stevie gets a lot of love from other musicians, but they're almost all Gen Y and Millennial.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:18 PM
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That was one of the most interesting moments in Stevie's professional life. She was tired of the mammoth Mac tours and doing Rhiannon and Landslide every night, as she said. So she went to Chile with one of the Mac studio engineers and somehow came back with a refreshing new version of herself and a vision for her path forward. I wish we knew more about it, but Stevie has talked very little about it.
Carol Ann spilled the beans! He was engaged apparently then Stevie pulled a Stevie and so he wasn't engaged anymore and was involved with her instead, then Stevie dumped him shortly after. I assume she was just inspired from being in a new, very different country.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:51 PM
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Carol Ann spilled the beans! He was engaged apparently then Stevie pulled a Stevie and so he wasn't engaged anymore and was involved with her instead, then Stevie dumped him shortly after. I assume she was just inspired from being in a new, very different country.
Really? I had no idea. I always wondered. That's pretty interesting. It kind of shoots my theory out of the water. I thought she went down there to forge new paths, and as it turns out, it was all for the hooch and the bedroom rodeo.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:23 PM
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The photo insert was cool but the back cover fascinated me more. Her giant brown eyes in a daze. It was beautiful, mystical, bold, and a bit spooky all rolled into one. It was the dead stare that was captivating.
The bedroom pose on the insert was cool. I imagined it was a glimpse inside Stevie's house and it was. Cool to see a small shot of her bed. Years later I would discover her bathroom door on John Stewart's album.
The music, its top notch. I consider Bella Donna one of the best albums of the 1980s. The lyrics are tapestry. Its a bit of everything in every song.....a woman scorned....a woman heart broken.....a woman in love..... a woman in a fast paced life...…… Each song builds on the other one. No filler No padding.
I was surprised to hear Jimmy think the album was good but no one would hear it because there were no singles. Really? Leather and Lace and Edge would still have charted without SDMHA. But I suppose looking back, it was not a pop album which is probably what Jimmy meant. Its so good it may not get top 40 airplay. This is what I hated about RAL. The songs I love from the RAL era were bounced from the album. Even the Nightmare was scaled back and the worst version made the album. Too much emphasis was made to make it a pure pop album to be successful. That is when Stevie jumped the shark and it took awhile to get her game back. Everything that made Bella Donna so magical was lost in 5 years.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:55 PM
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Really? I had no idea. I always wondered. That's pretty interesting. It kind of shoots my theory out of the water. I thought she went down there to forge new paths, and as it turns out, it was all for the hooch and the bedroom rodeo.
In the Bella Donna reissue liner notes she mentioned how she'd gone to Chile with a boyfriend and something about the women there or some particular person inspired her and that's how she got the Bella Donna name. Something along those lines. She didn't go into details about the relationship tho (understandable as it would draw attention to her questionable moral compass lol) but it was discussed in Storms and I think Ken Caillait also once mentioned how Stevie had an affair with Hernan Rojas and like, proclaimed it to Lindsey in the studio once.
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:52 PM
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This is the quote re the title:

“I had already decided that the record was going to be called Bella Donna. With my previous boyfriend, who was an engineer on Tusk, I had gone to Chile for six weeks after finishing recording Tusk. I met his mother, who was just a marvelous lady; she became like Bella Donna to me. She’d been around when the military coup happened, and had been in love with a man who, when the government fell, was banished to France or face life in prison. She told me this story one night, and I just decided right there that my first solo record was going to be called Bella Donna.

I knew it meant ‘beautiful woman’, but also that it’s a poisonous root. People use it for healing, but if you take too much, you can die. So I thought: This is the perfect double-edged sword title for the record. So the idea was handed to me on a little silver tray with some toast and blackberry jam by the sweetest lady.”
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:50 PM
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This is the quote re the title:

“I had already decided that the record was going to be called Bella Donna. With my previous boyfriend, who was an engineer on Tusk, I had gone to Chile for six weeks after finishing recording Tusk. I met his mother, who was just a marvelous lady; she became like Bella Donna to me. She’d been around when the military coup happened, and had been in love with a man who, when the government fell, was banished to France or face life in prison. She told me this story one night, and I just decided right there that my first solo record was going to be called Bella Donna.

I knew it meant ‘beautiful woman’, but also that it’s a poisonous root. People use it for healing, but if you take too much, you can die. So I thought: This is the perfect double-edged sword title for the record. So the idea was handed to me on a little silver tray with some toast and blackberry jam by the sweetest lady.”
Thanks for posting that michelej1!
These are the reasons I love Stevie. The way she can turn a little moment like that into something real poetic, something with meaning yet open to interpretation.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:41 PM
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Hernan has done a few interviews where he's talked about their relationship and her sitting at a piano writing the song Bella Donna.

He did an interview a number of years ago stating the song Destiny Rules was about their relationship.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:28 PM
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This is what I hated about RAL. The songs I love from the RAL era were bounced from the album. Even the Nightmare was scaled back and the worst version made the album. Too much emphasis was made to make it a pure pop album to be successful. That is when Stevie jumped the shark and it took awhile to get her game back. Everything that made Bella Donna so magical was lost in 5 years.

Same. "Mirror, Mirror", "Battle of the Dragon", "Running Through the Garden", "Lady From the Mountain", "Thousand Days" replacing the languid "I Sing For the Things", "Imperial Hotel" and the filler pop songs "If I Were You", "Some Become Strangers", "Sister Honey" (as much as I enjoy the former two as guilty pleasures) would have improved it greatly. Throw in the extended versions of Nightmare and RAL as well.

If I could go back in time and just GUT any album it would be RAL. Even the songs I like all have problems. I'd honestly scrap every song and rework them from the ground-up. They have potential but are such messes.
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"I am just one small part of forever" -Think About It (The song that got me into Stevie Nicks)

"The face of a pretty girl x1,000,000" -Isn't It Midnight (The song that got me into Christine McVie)

"The sun is bright, but not too bright to see. When the darkness comes you've got to fly into the light." -Doing What I Can (The song that got me into Lindsey Buckingham)

"I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain" -The Chain (The song that got me into Fleetwood Mac)
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Old Yesterday, 06:36 PM
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One wonders why Stevie's seriousness as a songwriter was never picked up by the very men in the business she wanted to please and rival: the Eagles-Jackson Browne-JD Souther-James Taylor axis of West Coast singer-songwriters in the 1970s. Stevie gets a lot of love from other musicians, but they're almost all Gen Y and Millennial.
Actually, she was well-regarded for her songwriting in the beginning (after the white album and Rumours). Hence people like Waylon Jennings asking her to write him a song. And having her sing on your song would make it a much bigger hit-- which is why Kenny Loggins bypassed Melissa Manchester (with whom he wrote the song) to get Stevie on Whenever I Call You Friend, and John Stewart wanted her desperately on Gold as well as on Midnight Wind, etc.

I've never been sure why that dropped off a bit after Tusk. Her songs on there were all very good. I get that she may have turned things down because she was prepping for her solo stuff, but.... still. It turned then from people wanting her to write for them or sing with them to people trying to get her to record THEIR songs.... The songs on BD had higher quality because so many had been around for so long, As the pressure to keep cranking out 10-12 good songs for each album grew, her quality went down . Of course, the drug use skyrocketed during this period as well, so......
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