Stevie Nicks’ 10 Best Deep Cuts
Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac’s fairy-like frontwoman, has shawl-twirled her way into our hearts and solidified her place in history as not only a kind mentor to young musicians (and a collaborator with the new generation), but a force to be reckoned with: the mythical, ethereal lane that artists like Lana Del Rey and Florence + The Machine tread on was paved by none other than the Gold Dust Woman herself.
Witchy fashion icon status aside, Nicks came into rock n’ roll at a time when it was a boys club––and she brought her long black dresses and glittery shawls, disrupting the gender boundary of rock music while dealing out deeply emotive music.
It’s no secret that Nicks had a thriving solo career that often overlapped her run as Fleetwood Mac’s songbird (no pun intended, my diehard fans). From the Tom Petty feature on her debut Bella Donna to touring for an archival compilation called 24-Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, Nicks dedicated her life and love to music. Since the '70s, she’s accrued quite the catalog.
Dive into ten of Stevie Nicks' best deep cuts below.
“Crystal,” Practical Magic Soundtrack
Perhaps as deep as it gets without peeking into Nicks’ personal archive, this oft-ignored version of the famous Lindsey Buckingham solo song written by Nicks for their duo, and recycled into Fleetwood Mac’s second self-titled LP, shows off Nicks' titillating vocals against the backdrop of a very light, lilting guitar. Fleetwood Mac stans diverge on whether this one is better than the original––either way, Nicks was the one who wrote it, and the emotion is palpable.
“Gold Dust Woman,” Rumours
A not-so-deep deep cut, Nicks’ signature song was never properly released as a single or received the distribution that other singles on Rumours did. (Here’s looking at you, “Dreams.") Regardless, the mythology around "Gold Dust Woman" grew, with Nicks opening up about her drug-addled lifestyle and her desire to escape, which inspired the song. Her famous “crackhead dance” donning a golden shawl when she performs the song live remains a haunting staple at all of Fleetwood Mac’s shows.
“Silver Springs,” Rumours
If you thought “Landslide” was an intense emotional clash between famously star-crossed lovers Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, “Silver Springs” is an intense foil to the gentle track that’s become one of their staples. Starting off gentle, the song eventually grows into a roar, with Nicks yelling “You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you” with a ferocity that still stings after years of the relationship ending. For her, true love dies slow.
“Planets of the Universe (Demo),” Rumours
Perhaps the most heart-wrenching song anyone has ever written or will ever write, this early demo of a song that Nicks would eventually adopt on her solo album Trouble in Shangri-La features Nicks as we hardly see her: alone at a piano, young and lost. The edited version of he song from Shangri-La would go on to hit No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart in 2001, but this version––where Nicks sings her most distraught line: "I knew I was wrong to live for a dream / If I had my life to live over / I would never dream”––is a gem that’s overlooked in the canon of great Fleetwood Mac songs.
“Kind of Woman,” Bella Donna
A cut from Nicks’ debut as a solo artist, "Kind of Woman" remained hopelessly outshined by now-iconic “Edge of Seventeen” and Tom Petty duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” The jangly standalone positively exudes the mysticism that solidified Nicks in the pantheon of rock n’ roll stars that defined the '70s and '80s. It’s best heard while trouncing through a medieval castle and wearing a long, white cloak––it’s the Stevie Nicks way.
“Desert Angel,” Timespace – The Best of Stevie Nicks
One of Nicks’ funkier tracks, this unreleased gem came compiled within her first best-of compilation. Chugging forth with an '80s beat that borders on cheesy, only Nicks could feel authentic with a beat this big backing a song that most saw as an afterthought. Listen closely, and you’ll uncover her at her most poetic: “This is the first thing that I’ve written / Since I wrote about freedom.”
“Italian Summer,” In Your Dreams
This haunting love song from one of her more recent solo records conjures green ivory, soft yellow, guitars and roses––in short, a love affair somewhere deep in the mountainous regions of Italy. As tender as it is, this song has layers of heartbreak to it that remind us why Nicks is still the best artist out there to expunge emotion out of us: “At the end of the Italian summer / It rains fast and it rains hard / The wind blows right through you / It tears you apart.”
“Everybody Loves You,” In Your Dreams
Her most electronically-geared arrangement, this cut from In Your Dreams is Nicks at her most direct and club-ready, although this isn’t one to dance to: this is a song played at 3 AM, when the club is winding down, when the bar is about to close down; in short, a song for the lonely. For these few wandering souls, she offers an olive branch and some advice only a tender soul like Nicks could deliver without being acidic: “Everybody loves you / But you’re so alone / Everybody knows your name / But you can’t find your way home.”
“If You Were My Love,” 24-Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault
Nicks, at her most tender since “Landslide,” imagines a love that won’t be on this emotive ballad. When you think about its context––this is a song written when Nicks was much younger and sung in the modern day––and contemplate who it could be about, it makes it all the more heartbreakingly poignant.
“Belle Fleur,” 24-Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault
Ending our roundup on a high note, this song sees Nicks at her liveliest. Pushed forth by fast-paced guitar and her voice at its most powerful, this force of nature is an ode to joy at its finest. Most importantly it’s an invitation to dance with the woman herself, free from the very serious business of tainted love if only for a second: “It’s just love/ It’s only love / So will you dance with me?"
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