Album Reviews

Stevie Nicks

Bella Donna and The Wild Heart

Artist:     Stevie Nicks

Album:     Bella Donna and The Wild Heart

Label:     Rhino

Release Date:     10/04/2016

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Born from Buckingham Nicks, prospering in Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks’ music has always been the epitome of the quintessential flower child, all incense, patchouli and wide-eyed sentiment. When she opted to moonlight with these two essential solo albums, she wasn’t so much abandoning those ideals as embracing them to an extreme. Indeed, songs such as “Leather and Lace,” “After the Glitter Fades” and “Outside the Rain” from Bella Donna, her seemingly effortless debut, seemed to sum up the intertwined tales of innocence and awakening brought on the soap opera see saws of fame, romance and, yes, dabbling in recreational drugs and the extreme excesses of stardom. Nevertheless, it was enough to establish a solid solo career and keep the revenues flowing between outings with the Mac.

Now, given the benefit of multi-disc reissues, both Bella Donna and The Wild Heart sound as confident as ever, chock full of signature songs, and star connections as well — Tom Petty and Don Henley in particular. Bella Donna plays like a veritable greatest hits, with no less than three — “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Leather and Lace” and “Edge of Seventeen” — to its credit. Now, bolstered with live tracks, alternate versions, soundtrack contributions and demos — two extra discs worth for Bella Donna, one extra for The Wild Heart — they become essential acquisitions for the devoted fan, a group that naturally includes Mac devotees as well. Never mind her waif-like image — Nicks is a convincing rocker and these songs prove her mettle and affirm her mystique. Little wonder then, that each album makes for a most welcome return.

– Lee Zimmerman

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