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Music / Stevie Nicks

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Well maybe I'm just thinking that the rooms are all on fire,
Everytime that you walk in the room.
Well there is magic all around you, if I do say so myself,
I have known this much longer than I've known you.
— "Rooms On Fire"

Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks (born May 26, 1948) has been the lead singer off-and-on for Fleetwood Mac for over four and a half decades (since New Year's Day, 1975). She has worked intermittently as a solo artist since 1981, having by far the most commercially successful solo career of any current or former Fleetwood Mac member, and also the most prolific, with seven albums (so far) of new material, two greatest-hits compilations, one box set (a mixture of greatest hits, B-sides, previously unreleased songs and demos), one album of fully-finished versions of demos created throughout her career, and one live album, as well as numerous videos.

Her albums so far are:

  • Bella Donna (1981)
  • The Wild Heart (1983)
  • Rock A Little (1985)
  • The Other Side of the Mirror (1989)
  • Timespace (1991)
  • Street Angel (1994)
  • Enchanted (1998)
  • Trouble in Shangri-La (2001)
  • Crystal Visions (2007)
  • The Soundstage Sessions: Live in Chicago (2009)
  • In Your Dreams (2011)
  • 24 Karat Gold (2014)

The following tropes have been observed in the life and career of Stevie Nicks:

  • Adam Westing: Her appearance As Herself on American Horror Story: Coven, in which it turns out she really is a witch. (In Real Life, she's long been rumored to have an interest in witchcraft and/or Wicca, a rumor that she's always firmly denied.)
  • Badass Cape: She loves to perform wrapped in flowing capes and embroidered fringe shawls, twirling in them to show off her fabulousness and giver her a larger than life presence.
  • Blind Musician: While not completely blind, Nicks requires assistance onstage. She had eye surgery in the 1990s.
  • Breakup Breakout:invoked Averted. Her most popular solo albums were made while she was a member of Fleetwood Mac, and Street Angel, her only album made when she'd left Fleetwood Mac, completely tanked.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: In the early years of her career (both solo and with the Mac), she often came across as this. She's still very mystical but has become much more grounded in recent years.
  • Costume Porn: Basically one of her trademarks.
  • Cover Version: "Not Fade Away", "Crash", "Circle Dance", "I Need To Know" and "Rock And Roll".
  • The '80s: Her Annus horribilis, at least in her personal life.
  • '80s Hair: Most noticeable in the videos of "Talk To Me" and "I Can't Wait" (from Rock A Little) and the album cover of The Other Side of the Mirror. Her late '70s-early '80s Farrah Fawcett-like perm was a prototype.
  • Epic Rocking: In her solo concerts, she customarily turns "Edge of Seventeen" and "Stand Back" into major set pieces, complete with long drum and guitar solos. The former song also tends to get stretched out because of her traditional edge-of-stage promenades to collect gifts (see Girls Love Stuffed Animals below).
  • Follow the Leader:invoked Without a doubt she has had a major influence on the many female rock musicians that have emerged in the past 25 years.
    • One of the most notable is Courtney Love, who expresses her idolization for Nicks in just about every conversation.
    • Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan are also devotees who have worked with her. They seem to embody the kind of "elegant old rock & roll" that Stevie cherishes.
  • Free Handed Performer: She was solely a lead vocalist for Fleetwood Mac despite being self-taught on the piano and guitar.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: It's an end-of-concert tradition for Stevie to pace up and down the edge of the stage, accepting gifts of all sorts from her fans. She's said to have amassed one of the, if not the, largest stuffed-animal collections in North America thereby.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Stevie is a serious devotee of antiques of all sorts, including vintage clothing, and works hard on searching out particularly beautiful old clothes for her stage wardrobes. She's spoken about these costumes and her stage presence as relating to "a combination of Natalia Makarova and Greta Garbo and the elegant old rock & roll that I love".
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Stevie is 5'1" without her platform boots, so will look tiny next to most other folks, male or female. Especially striking when you stand her and Mick Fleetwood (6'6"!) side-by-side; she's tiny next to him even with her boots on!
  • Intentionally Awkward Title:invoked "Sometimes It's A Bitch", the single from her 1991 greatest-hits compilation Timespace. She didn't give the song that title (it was tacked on by the writers) and she's always hated it.
  • Live Album: The Soundstage Sessions
  • Moral Guardians: Stevie ran into trouble from some fundamentalist Christians in the 1970's and 1980's who believed she was promoting witchcraft or was, in fact, a practicing witch (due in part to incautious on-stage statements in which she introduced the song "Rhiannon" as being "about a Welsh witch", which is inaccurate; Rhiannon was in fact a goddess in Welsh/Celtic mythology) — then she went and called her production company "Welsh Witch Productions" — and due partly to her love of the color black in her clothing. The hassle got so bad on the later count, in fact, that she switched around the time of Tusk to dressing all in shades of white and cream for a couple of years (she's dressed in white satin and chiffon on the cover of Bella Donna). For the record, she has always staunchly denied practicing witchcraft. Her cameo appearances on American Horror Story: Coven can be seen as a Take That! to the people who hassled her on that account back in the day.
  • New Media Are Evil: She was highly suspicious at first of the Internet when it became popular, and doesn't like social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, and does not have an account on either, despite several identities purporting to be her.
    • She does have pages and profiles on the various popular social media websites, but these are mainly promotional tools maintained by her management as Nicks doesn't personally use the internet or even own a computer.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: She frequently wears long flowing chiffon capes and embroidered fringe shawls, twirling in them to show off her fabulousness.

  • Old Maid: Heading into her seventies, Nicks is single, has no children and has never been married (not counting her months-long marriage to Kim Anderson which was born out of grief more than anything). She blames her struggle to recover from drug addiction in The '80s as ruining whatever chances she had of getting married. note 

  • Opera Gloves: She often wears gloves of varying lengths on- and offstage (her 2011 "look", for instance, includes a pair of elbow-length black leather gloves with cut-off fingertips).
  • Pimped-Out Cape: See Also: Ominous Opera Cape
  • '70s Hair: She sported a Farrah Fawcett-like feathered perm in the late '70s. Both women exemplified the feathered look for women's hair in that era.
  • Shout-Out: Stevie often gives Shout Outs to people or places she likes in her songs. As may be expected from her, some of the references are rather cryptic. However:
    • She gave a rather obvious Shout-Out to Mick Fleetwood in "Juliet" ("Dancing to the rhythm of some man's ancient drum").
    • Her song "Jane", from Street Angel, is a tribute to renowned primate researcher Jane Goodall.
    • "Soldier's Angel", off In Your Dreams, is a Shout-Out to the wounded soldiers that she repeatedly visited at the now-closed Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. over the past few years. In a similar vein, "Desert Angel", from Timespace, is a Shout-Out to both the servicepeople who served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and their loved ones. (The sleeve photo of the "Sometimes It's A Bitch" single is a photograph of an inscribed U.S. flag that a fan of her flew from his vehicle during the February 1991 ground campaign.)
    • "Garbo" - the B-side of "Stand Back" - is a tribute to the famous star, and several other old-time Hollywood stars are referenced by name in the song as well. In 2014, Stevie released the song "Mabel Normand", a similar tribute to the famous silent star.
    • "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You" is a rather cryptic Shout-Out to her old friend (and sometime romantic interest) Joe Walsh. "Rooms On Fire" is also rumoured to be about the reaction she had when she first met him.
    • The very title of the album The Wild Heart is probably a reference to the old romance movie of the same name starring Jennifer Jones (who played a gypsy, incidentally - a character type that Stevie has often referred to, occasionally characterizing herself as a "rock 'n' roll gypsy"),
    • In her 1982 Fleetwood Mac song "Gypsy", Stevie Shout Outs the Velvet Underground by name.
    • Her 1989 solo album The Other Side Of The Mirror is a pretty obvious Shout-Out to Alice in Wonderland, complete with Stevie in a low-cut Alice-style red dress posing on a chessboard floor and a song titled "Alice" referencing the books as well. There's also a song titled "Juliet" inspired by Romeo and Juliet.
    • Her 2011 solo album, In Your Dreams, is full of Shout Outs to, among others, Edgar Allan Poe (the song "Annabel Lee" is the famous poem set to music, Anne Rice and Twilight.
    • 24 Carat Gold has a song titled "Mabel Normand", comparing the troubled silent film star's life to that of her own.
  • Signature Headgear: It's not just Stevie's boots that are famous - her top hats, usually accessorized with long flowing veils dropping down her back, are also a core part of her image.
  • Similarly Named Works: invoked"I Can't Wait" shared the charts with One-Hit Wonder Nu Shooz's hit single of the same name.
  • Special Guest: Nicks' solo albums have been guest-heavy from the very beginning with big names like Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Dave Stewart, and Lindsey Buckingham making various appearances through the years.
  • Solo Side Project: What her solo career is, officially. Fleetwood Mac has first dibs on her songs.
  • Those Two Girls: For her entire career as a solo artist, Stevie's two favorite backup singers have been Sharon Celani and Lori Perry, who appear on every one of her albums and have accompanied her on most of her tours, even on Fleetwood Mac tours. They're among her closest friends; indeed, Perry was married for years to Stevie's brother Christopher and is the mother of Stevie's niece Jessica.
  • Tomboyish Name: Stevie's full name is Stephanie Lynn Nicks. She got her nickname as a little girl because her attempts to say "Stephanie" always came out sounding more like "TeeDee".
  • Video Full of Film Clips: "If You Ever Did Believe"
  • Vocal Evolution: Her vocals ever since Tusk have sounded more nasal, likely due to the damage to the inside of her nose her cocaine use caused.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Stevie is famous - or notorious - for her Word Salad Lyrics in general. Interpreting the meanings of her lyrics has long been a popular pastime among her fans; she's helped the process along by commenting on more than one occasion that virtually all her songs are autobiographical in one way or another, so fans have long amused themselves by matching up Stevie's often-cryptic lyrics to events and people in her life.
    • Case in point: much of her 1983 solo album The Wild Heart, particularly the title track and the single "Nightbird", make more sense if you know that the album is in significant part of the process of Stevie working through her grief over the death from leukemia of her closest friend in late 1982 (which led to a very weird incident in which Stevie, out of a misplaced sense of duty to her friend's newborn son, married her friend's widower. The marriage, as might be expected, only lasted a few months.)
    • By Stevie's own explanation (in the interview accompanying her 1981 cover story in Rolling Stone), "Edge of Seventeen", one of her solo signature songs, is largely a reaction to the deaths in close succession of a favorite uncle and of John Lennon.
    • "Long Way To Go", from The Other Side of the Mirror, is a fairly clear Break-Up Song about the end of an unidentified relationship.
    • On the other hand, "Doing The Best I Can (Escape from Berlin)" (complete with cryptic subtitle) is a heavily disguised recounting of the events surrounding her trip to rehab in late 1986 and her struggle to stay drug-free.