Top 10 Stevie Nicks Songs
Stevie Nicks first came to prominence when she teamed with Lindsey Buckingham, with whom she recorded the 1973 Buckingham Nicks album, which in turn led directly to the duo joining the ranks of Fleetwood Mac. Nicks kicked off her solo career with the release of 1981’s Bella Donna, an album remembered as much for its collaborations — including “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” credited to Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and “Leather and Lace,” a duet with Don Henley — but the swirling songstress quickly proved that she could produce memorable music all by herself. These are the top 10 Stevie Nicks songs.
“After the Glitter Fades”
The fourth and final single to be released from Nicks’ 1981 solo debut, the country-tinged “After the Glitter Fades” is listed in the album credits with a copyright date of 1975, but Nicks has indicated on several occasions that it was actually written a few years earlier, placing its composition date in the 1972-73 range. As such, she and Lindsey Buckingham hadn’t yet joined the ranks of Fleetwood Mac, making the lyrics about how “what I seem to touch these days / Has turned to gold” decidedly prophetic.
“Planets of the Universe”
Originally composed during the period when Fleetwood Mac were working on Rumours (a demo of the song can be found on the expanded version of the album), Nicks wrote “Planets of the Universe” about her disintegrating relationship with Buckingham. Revisiting the song in 2001, Nicks excised one of the more bitter verses and, with the help of producer John Shanks and remixer Tracy Young, took the track to the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance Music / Club Play chart.
Although it served as the lead-off track for Nicks’ first solo album since her departure from Fleetwood Mac, “Blue Denim” — a co-write with Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers — failed to secure the first-single nod. After “Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind” peaked at a relatively unimpressive No. 42, “Blue Denim” got its shot at glory, but despite its insistent guitar riff and radio-friendly hook, it failed to chart in any capacity, making it somewhat of a rarity among Nicks’ songs released as singles.
“I Can’t Wait”
According to the 1991 best-of collection Timespace, “I Can’t Wait” was recorded in a single take, with Nicks writing in her liner notes. “Some vocals are magic and simply not able to beat,” Her recollections of the song’s video, however, are decidedly less positive: in I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, by Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks, a chagrined Nicks admits, “I look at that video, I look at my eyes, and I say to myself, ‘Could you have laid off the pot, the coke, and the tequila for three days, so you could have looked a little better’?”
“Rooms on Fire”
The first single from 1989’s The Other Side of the Mirror, Nicks revealed in the Timespace liner notes that ‘Rooms on Fire’ was inspired by her short-lived romantic dalliance with producer/musician Rupert Hine, who helmed the album. Although the song topped Billboard‘s Album Rock Tracks chart and made it to No. 16 on both the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary Singles chart, Nicks dropped the song from her live sets in the ’90s and — based on the set lists available online, anyway — does not appear to have revisited it in a live setting since.
The last of the three singles from The Wild Heart may not have managed to crack the Top 20, stalling at the No. 33 position, but Nicks has nonetheless described the song — one of three tracks on the album which she co-wrote with her friend Sandy Stewart — as her favorite track on the album. In addition, “Nightbird” is also directly responsible for inspiring the name of the self-described “Premiere Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks Tribute,” but try not to hold that against the song.
“Talk to Me”
The first single from Rock a Little, “Talk to Me” was a composition by Chas Sanford, co-writer of John Waite‘s “Missing You” and — later — Chicago‘s “What Kind of Man Would I Be?” Although Nicks struggled to nail the vocals to producer Jimmy Iovine’s satisfaction, she eventually pulled them off successfully, thanks to the encouragement of Jim Keltner, who offered to stick around and provide moral support while she recorded the song. (Yes, this story comes from the Timespace liner notes, too. They provide a wealth of background about your favorite Nicks songs.)
“If Anyone Falls”
Another Nicks / Sandy Stewart co-write, the second single from The Wild Heart‘ was a song of unrequited love, with Nicks observing how, no matter how good or bad a relationship goes, the feelings continue to exist “Somewhere in the twilight dreamtime / Somewhere in the back of your mind.” Although it didn’t match the success of its predecessor (“Stand Back”), “If Anyone Falls” still pulled a highly respectable No. 14 placement on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Arguably her most recognizable solo single, a status aided immeasurably by its regular inclusion in Fleetwood Mac’s sets as well as remaining a staple of her own shows, Nicks premiered “Stand Back” during her performance at the US Festival in 1983, prefacing it with a giddy (yet sadly unfulfilled) vow to hand-deliver copies of the yet-to-be-released The Wild Heart to everyone in the audience, “sort of like Girl Scout Cookies.” Even without Nicks making good on her promise, however, both the single and the album made it to No. 5 on their respective Billboard charts.
“Edge of Seventeen”
Given that it was Nicks’ designated entry in our list of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs, “Edge of Seventeen,” the third single from Bella Donna (but the first to be credited solely to her alone), was always destined to land atop the list of the 10 greatest Stevie Nicks songs, but it’s a placement that’s hard to argue: any song that can survive being covered by Lindsay Lohan and having Waddy Wachtel’s famous guitar riff sampled by Destiny’s Child (“Bootylicious”) yet still come out with its reputation unscathed has more than earned its placement in the top spot.