Stevie Nicks marked the recent 40th anniversary of her debut solo LP, Bella Donna, by sharing an intimate excerpt from her journal on Instagram. “It did not break up Fleetwood Mac,” she said of the record. “If anything, it kept us together.”
The singer-songwriter opened the note by detailing her sonic vision for the project. “Bella Donna was a dream,” she wrote. “I chose [backing vocalists] Lori Perry-Nicks and Sharon Celani as my army to go on that journey with me. I wanted us to sound like the girl version of Crosby, Stills & Nash. I did not want the record to sound anything like Fleetwood Mac — that would have defeated the dream.”
Nicks also opened up about the title track, which was inspired by her “boyfriend’s mother, who was involved with a man in Chile during the coup that happened there in 1973.” She continued, “The man she loved was banished to France. Banished or imprisoned, that was the choice. The love story never really ended — but she never saw him again. I was so touched by this story of lost love that I wrote ‘Bella Donna’ — the moment the poem and then the song was finished, I knew I had the basis for my first solo record.”
The album, she wrote, “defined” her feelings on love: “It broke my heart and gave me the strength to fight for it. It was a fine line to walk between love and hate and passion — and the girls and I loved it. We never looked back. It came in at [No. 3] and went to [No. 1]. The world smiled — I cried. I could not have been more proud of those songs.”
And the music, she wrote, also became pivotal for women in rock music. “As all never-ending dreams always do, it opened the doors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. [It] took my hand and invited me in for my own work — for the women of the world. The thing I am most proud of.”
Nicks was recently announced as a headliner for Atlanta’s Shaky Knees music festival, which runs Oct. 22-24. Alice Cooper and Wolfgang Van Halen’s band, Mammoth WVH, will also perform at the event.
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When considering a list of Fleetwood Mac albums, it’s easy to focus on Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.