Saturday, 11 February 2012

Just like the white winged dove, sings a song sounds like she’s singing Oooh...Baby...Ooh...Baby...Oooh

Pick of the Week

“The Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks (1981)

Her voice is one of the most instantly recognizable female voices in pop music. With her platform boots, her top hat, and shawls, she developed a ‘mystic’ persona. She could have easily been the inspiration for ‘the Witches of Eastwich’. She sang lead on “Dreams” from the phenomenal Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumors’ album;
the only single to go to number one on that album. Other classic songs ‘Mac’ with the Nick’s stamp on them are “Landslide”, and “Silver Springs”.

She had been a songwriter since she was sixteen and received a Goya guitar for her birthday. She had enjoyed fairy tales from a very young age and this fantasy is portrayed in many of her songs – many of them dark, some of them self-portraits really. She wrote both “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” when she was in Aspen, Colorado in the early seventies.

Many of her songs are stained with darkness; forlorn and reflective of the personal battles she has had in relationships, with addiction to cocaine and tranquilizers and the sensitivity of a poet: a high priestess of rock.

She really began her solo career with ‘Belladonna’ in 1981. “Edge of Seventeen” which became an anthem for the struggling; although it sounds like an illicit teenage affair. The mesmerizing strum of Waddy Watchel’s guitar is one of those riffs that are simple yet so effective. This song introduces and showcases backup singers Sharon Celani and Lori Perry who have contributed to every one of her solo albums. The continuity and consistency of her albums is well served by Sharon and Lori’s beautiful voices which complement Stevie’s lower, raspy voice -the Nicks’ hallmark.

Also from Belladonna came two excellent duets in a time when duets had been out of fashion: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Tom Petty and “Leather and Lace’ with Don Henley of ‘Eagles’ fame.  These still get quite strong radio play to this day.

As well as continuing to work with Fleetwood Mac, she sang back-up on many albums including the late, great Warren Zevon’s debut album and Walter Egan’s ‘Not Shy’ – a great album with the single “Magnet and Steel” – we hear Stevie in the background.

“The Wild Heart”, “Rock a Little”, “The Other Side of the Mirror”  in the eighties did reasonably well with good ‘singles’ success but by the late ’80’s drugs were taking their toll on Stevie. After an Australian tour was cut short, she checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic.  Some doctor in his wisdom prescribed the powerful tranquilizer Klonopin upon her exit to help her stay away from cocaine – not such a good idea.

Still doing work with Fleetwood Mac and her own solo work she produced “Street Angel” and “Trouble in Shangri La”.  Nicks has a huge cult following and in 2011 released the album “In Your Dreams”

The Raspy Dozen: My Stevie Nicks song picks (with or without Fleetwood Mac):

·         Rhiannon
·         Landslide
·         The Edge of Seventeen
·         Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
·         Gold Dust Woman
·         Gypsy
·         Sarah
·         Stand Back
·         Leather and Lace
·         I Can’t Wait
·         If Anyone Falls in Love
·         Talk to Me

The short, blonde singer-songwriter now has a charity for returning vets where she hands out iPods with music on them in hospitals. Nice.

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