Stevie Nicks is the queen of rock ’n’ roll. Anyone questioning this fact should immediately Google the dressing room version of her song “Wild Heart.” The footage was recorded without Nicks’ knowledge while she was getting ready for her 1981 Rolling Stone photo shoot. It’s perhaps the most stunning performance of her careaer (that we know of), and a telling example of her magnetic energy and raw talent.
And that voice. With her drawling vibrato—possibly picked up from young years spent singing country duets with her grandfather—Nicks belts each line like she’s unleashing hurricane-force gusts of wild joy. Though she’s an incredible singer, let’s not forget that she’s also responsible for writing some of rock’s best lyrics.
Stevie Nicks will make you fall in love with words. Her emotionally complex lyrics often capture conflicting feelings, whether she was writing barbs about her tumultuous romance with fellow Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham, her abortion (“Sara”), or something as seemingly meaningless as wearing “boots all summer long” (“Nightbird”)—possibly a reference to her years spent addicted to cocaine, when she’d walk around with a gram in her boot. Her breakup songs became anthems for personal autonomy; even when she was caught in the throes of love or pain, Nicks never seems to have forgotten who she is.
Here are some of Stevie Nicks’ most striking lyrics:
“Landslide” (Fleetwood Mac, 1975)
“Oh, mirror in the sky/What is love?/Can the child within my heart rise above?/Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?/Can I handle the seasons of my life?”
“Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac, 1975)
“She rules her life like a fine skylark.”
“Gold Dust Woman” (Rumours, 1977)
“Rulers make bad lovers/You’d better put your kingdom up for sale.”
“Dreams” (Rumours, 1977)
“Thunder only happens when it’s raining/Players only love you when they’re playing/Women they will come and they will go/When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know.
“Silver Springs” (1977 B-side)
“Time casts a spell on you, but you won’t forget me/I know I could have loved you, but you would not let me/I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you/You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.”
“Storms” (Tusk, 1979)
“So I try to say goodbye, my friend/I’d like to leave you with something warm/But never have I been a blue calm sea/I have always been a storm.”
“That’s Alright” (Mirage, 1982)
“I hope you find a love/Your own designs of love.”
“Nightbird” (The Wild Heart, 1983)
“And the summer became the fall/I was not ready for the winter/It makes no difference at all/’Cause I wear boots all summer long.”
“Wild Heart” (The Wild Heart, 1983)
“Don’t blame it on me/Blame it on my wild heart.”