Bella Donna (Deluxe Edition) [2016 Remaster]
In the '70s, Stevie Nicks cut one of the most singular profiles in rock—she gave Fleetwood Mac an otherworldly glamour and deepened their lyrical catalogue with metaphor-rich songs like "Sara" and "Landslide." On her solo debut, she maintained her mystic aura while adding a bit of AOR muscle to her sound, establishing herself as a force of femininity in a decidedly male landscape.
Nicks began writing Bella Donna while Fleetwood Mac were at work on their sprawling masterwork Tusk, and Nicks' star power and songwriting skills brought about the biggest of Mac's post-Tusk solo releases. Nicks fully embraces the bewitching side of her persona here, on the title track, which pairs a swaggering beat with an elegiac guitar line, and on the starlit "After the Glitter Fades," a country-music-inspired rumination on fame that balances gimlet-eyed reflection with the sort of drive that leads one to stadium stages. "Edge of Seventeen" embraces that duality even more fervently, its insistent guitar line (played by Waddy Wachtel, who would become one of Nicks' chief collaborators in the ensuing years) underscoring the anguish obliquely expressed in its lyrics.
Two musical heavyweights join Nicks on Bella Donna, soft-rock kingpin Don Henley and heartland riffer Tom Petty, on the dreamy folk-rocker "Leather and Lace" and the tormented "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," respectively. On both duets—one hopelessly besotted, the other tormented by dead-end-relationship frustration—she rises to the challenge, cementing the solo-star status Bella Donna set out to establish.