Though much of Stevie Nicks’ long, storied career has been spent among the ranks of Fleetwood Mac and collaborating alongside everyone from close friend Tom Petty to Lana Del Rey, her solo output is as magical as the singer-songwriter herself. Over the course of eight albums, Nicks has established a musical identity of her own replete with mystical imagery and unflinching emotional honesty. While her sound has slightly evolved over the years — Hello, ‘80s synthesizers! — her status as one of rock’s reigning queens remains unchanged. Grab your favorite shawl and get ready to twirl to these ten Stevie Nicks songs.
10. “Ghosts,” The Other Side of the Mirror (1989)
A lesser-known gem from her fourth album, “Ghosts” has some of Stevie’s most introspective lyrics. Reminsdent in some ways of “Landslide,” the powerful tune is yet another honest reflection of a woman grappling with the ghosts of her past and her fears for the future. Even the music feels haunting at times. Nicks has called The Other Side of the Mirror her favorite album, and it’s the last to earn platinum status.
9. “After the Glitter Fades,” Bella Donna (1981)
There’s a lovely simplicity to this country-tinged ballad that allows Nicks’ versatility, voice, and songwriting skills to shine. Despite disagreements about the exact date of its composition (which is said to be somewhere between 1972 and 1975 when Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac), its lyrics now seem prophetic in retrospect, painting a portrait of a woman on the verge of stardom.
8. “Planets of the Universe,” Trouble in Shangri-La (2001)
Nicks originally recorded this as a demo for Fleetwood Mac’s iconic 1977 album Rumours, and it certainly feels like a good fit for the album’s themes of disintegrating relationships. Nicks re-recorded it for her 2001 solo album, earning both the top spot on the dance club charts and a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. The mix of jangly guitars and ambient electronic elements give “Planets of the Universe” an appropriate astral feeling as though you’re drifting through space.
7. “Nightbird,” The Wild Heart (1983)
One of the things that makes The Wild Heart album special is the multilayered female harmonies on many of its tracks including “Nightbird.” Co-written by Sandy Stewart (who also provides backing vocals), Stevie Nicks has called the song, which deals with her grief over friend Robin Anderson’s death, her favorite track on the album. Its poetic imagery sung in a round by Nicks, Stewart, Lori Perry, and Sharon Celani make the simple song take flight to somewhere truly beautiful.
6. “Blue Denim,” Street Angel (1994)
Nicks has been vocal about her disappointment with her 1994 LP Street Angel (which arrived just after the singer left both Fleetwood Mac and rehab for Klonopin dependency), but this particular track stands out thanks to a catchy hook and repetitive guitar riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of pal Tom Petty’s records. Written about Buckingham, “Blue Denim” didn’t chart, but it’s still delightfully evocative of earlier collaborations with her ex-bandmate and paramour.
5. “I Can’t Wait,” Rock a Little (1985)
According to the liner notes for her 1991 best-of compilation album, Timespace, Nicks wrote this in one night after being blown away by the electronic drum track written by her friend Rick Nowles. Recorded in a single, magical take (and, as she has noted, at the height of her struggles with cocaine addiction), “I Can’t Wait” has a frenetic quality that pairs perfectly with Nicks’ ethereal vocals and which creates a hypnotic effect sure to make you want to dance.
4. “Rooms On Fire,” The Other Side of the Mirror (1989)
Nicks was romantically involved with album producer Rupert Hine when she wrote this song about the power of fiery attraction. As with many of her songs, “Rooms on Fire” is packed with references to magic, nature, and thinly-veiled references to herself plus a super catchy chorus. With so many classic Stevie elements, it’s no wonder “Rooms on Fire” topped the Billboard Rock Charts. Sadly, she hasn’t performed it live in concert in years.
3. “Talk to Me,” Rock a Little (1985)
Though she initially balked at recording this Chas Sandford-penned track because of struggles with the vocals, Nicks got it in just two takes. “Talk to Me” hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Top Mainstream Rock charts, making it one of Stevie’s biggest hits. While it’s more anthemic pop-rock than her usual grittier output, there’s no denying she knocks it out of the park, which is probably why she also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
2. “Stand Back,” The Wild Heart (1983)
Inspired by Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” Nicks started writing this on the day of her wedding to Kim Anderson, and the Purple One even wound up playing guitar on the track (though he’s uncredited). “Stand Back” has become an enduring hit thanks in part to its frequent inclusion in setlists at Fleetwood Mac concerts, but its throaty vocals and catchy beat already make it stand out among Stevie’s discography.
1. “Edge of Seventeen,” Bella Donna (1981)
It’s a total no-brainer. “Edge of Seventeen” takes our top spot. From the rhythmic chugging guitar lick to the mystical imagery of doves, this is Stevie at the height of her witchy rock queen powers. Oft-imitated and even sampled by the likes of R&B trio Destiny’s Child, “Edge of Seventeen” has withstood the test of time; as seemingly ageless, raw, dramatic, and iconic as Stevie Nicks herself.
Photo Credit: American musician Stevie Nicks performs onstage during the US Festival, Ontario, California, May 30, 1983. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)