Posts Tagged ‘Bella Donna’


In the mid-80’s rocker Stevie Nicks was at the top of her game with her multiplatinum-selling albums (1981’s Bella Donna &  1983’s The Wild Heart). However, by 1986, her “game” was being threatened by a deadly cocaine habit which greatly affected her then-latest album, Rock A Little, and its subsequent tour. Her 1986 concert, Stevie Nicks: Live At Red Rocks chronicles her concert at the beautiful Red Rocks Ampitheater tucked away inside the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Denver.

While this dvd is far from Nicks’ worst performance, it’s not up to par with her post-drugs performances such as her 2009 dvd: Live in Chicago. Nevertheless, there are some redeemable parts of this concert. For example, she opens the show with the Bella Donna-era classic, Outside the Rain with a nice fade-into her Fleetwood Mac classic Dreams. 

However, one of the best parts of the concert is when she performs Talk To Me from 1985’s Rock A Little. Her vocals sound amazing just as they do on the album.

One of the cutest moments of the film is after Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You. Someone in the audience releases a white-winged dove. The dove is then handed to Nicks (who tries to get the bird to speak into the mic) and she tries to release it, but the bird doesn’t leave.

Unfortunately Nicks’s performance of No Spoken Word is an absolute disaster in both sound and film. The closeups of her face are obviously retouched due to her drug issues. She looks tired. Additionally, her vocals sound tired. It gets even worse with Beauty and the Beast. On the ever-popular Edge of Seventeen, she performs a completely unnecessary vocal solo. At times, she even looks like she’s, as the great George Costanza once said on Seinfeld, in “a full-fledged body heave set to music.”

Overall, it’s an okay dvd due to the fact that it contains rarer songs that Nicks nowadays doesn’t perform live. However, it shows her in the worst part of her drug-fueled days. Fortunately after this tour she checked into rehab and has been off cocaine ever since.

B-.

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If you know the Wild Heartwell, it’s a widely-known thing that I LOVE Seinfeld. However, there is one particular episode

Happy Festivus from the Wild Heart

that strikes my fancy: The Strike. This one is perhaps best-known as The Festivus.

With that said, I present to you the Wild Heart’s celebration of Festivus. HAPPY FESTIVUS! LET’S RUMBLE!

Airing of Grievances:

The airing of grievances gathers everyone you know and you tell them how they have wronged you in the past year.

  • Heart – you come to Houston AGAIN and every time you do, you jack up your ticket prices. As a fan, I find this completely appalling. I haven’t seen your act since 2008’s Human Tour when I was in college. Between then and now, the economy went to hell and now this jobless college grad cannot afford to go to your concerts. Please lower your ticket prices!!
  • Amy Grant – Your “2 Friends Tour” COMPLETELY avoided coming to Houston. I really wanted to see you live again and performing all your old hits, as well as Michael W. Smith. So I suggest that you stop snubbing Houston, and come to some place like the Berry Center, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, or even the House of Blues. Otherwise I am done listening to your music!
  • KTRU – I go in for an interview twice with you dumbass hipsters and you refuse to hire me twice! You act all anti-record industry yet what do I see when I walk into your studios but a big white banner that says “TOM WAITS FOR NO ONE!” Guess what? He was signed to Asylum and Island Records – both are major labels. He’s currently signed to Anti records, the US distributor to Kate Bush. Hate to break it to you but that’s a major label too. Yet somehow you don’t like me because I tell you the artists I am currently loving are Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush. You are nothing but hypocrites. Thanks for crushing my on-air dreams.Oh and one more thing, since you are based at Rice University: GO COOGS!
  • Stevie Nicks – Why did you have to snub Houston for the “Heart and Soul” tour? I wanted to see you perform that duet of Young Turks with Rod Stewart Not cool! But thanks for coming for the “In Your Dreams” tour. That was amazing!
  • White Stripes, Rilo Kiley, & R.E.M – Why did you all break up? We need you to save us from the clutches of the evils of bad music such as Lady GaGa & Katy Perry!
  • Ke$ha – I couldn’t help but notice that your song “C U Next Tuesday” is an acronym for “cunt.” As a college educated woman who took at least 9 hours of womens studies classes, I find this VERY offensive. Just because a guy calls you that doesn’t mean that it is okay. It’s degrading a female to a mere body part and nothing more. Take a freaking lesson from the women’s lib movement from the 70’s Ke$sha!
  • The Ton Tons – How come you never got back to me about covering you guys?
  • Nameless haters of that know who they are – What the hell gives you the right to take shots at the Wild Heart? BTW keep up the hatin’ because people like you only make people like me stronger! To quote Pat Benatar: “Knock me down it’s all in vain. I get right back up on my feet again! Hit me with your best shot!” It’s never cool to make fun of someone’s album collection. Vinyl is cooler, better sounding as far as decibels go, but you are a clueless jerk who only cares about making other peoples lives miserable.

And now for the toasts of 2011

  • All of the local bands that I have covered this year – Nightbird – Stevie Nicks Tribute, Spare Parts, Spare Heart – Heart Tribute, August 83, Kozmic Pearl – Janis Joplin Tribute, Love It To Death – Alice Cooper Tribute, and BlackRozeHouston. I have loved every minute of covering you guys. Houston’s music scene is like a hidden gem of musical talent. All of y’all keep up the good work and I think you will go far! Special thanks to John Hill and Jennifer Nguyen for giving me this idea.
  • Glee – One of the best things that you do, aside from the funny storylines with Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison, is that you introduce classic rock numbers to a new generation. You did this well with last season’s salute to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. No thanks to the show, a new generation got to hear snippets about the emotional drama that went on behind the scenes but also hear the songs themselves as performed by the cast. I want an encore! However can that encore be with something by Yes or Styx?
  • Stevie Nicks – Your new album, In Your Dreams, is AMAZING! It reminds me of your old 80’s albums like The Wild Heart, Bella Donna, and The Other Side of the Mirror. Also, your In Your Dreams tour was pretty magical – least your concert in Houston was. (Never have I been to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion where a concert was done in 103+ degree heat under a big full moon. Even better, your merchandise wasn’t too expensive and my mom liked the keychain I got her.
  • Lindsey Buckingham – I won tickets to your concert at Cactus Records. Though I am unfamiliar with your solo work, I must say you were pretty amazing at the Verizon Wireless Theater. Also, I must give you mad props for performing my favorite Fleetwood Mac song, Tusk.
  • Cactus and Black Records – Without you lovely people, I would not have been able to cover 2 major shows (Lindsey Buckingham and Lost 80’s Night at StereoLive with Animotion, When In Rome, and A Flock of Seagulls), survived a bad day at work, and helping me to climb the ladder of success with blogging.

Magical. Mystical. Beautiful. Legendary. Mysterious. All of these words describe rock legend Stevie Nicks. One thing that Nicks seems to be immune to is age. She seems to live by the notion that “age isn’t anything but a number” because after all, she is in her 60’s and still looks great and sounds great for any woman in rock & roll – a rarity.

Nicks’ albums are sheer experiences – like dreams. This album is no exception. She starts out the album with the dreamlike-trance Secret Love, which is nothing short of sexy. It was a song that was written when Rumours was made back in 1976, but thankfully she kept it for herself and we have it now in this extremely beautiful version.

In Your Dreams is an almost-return to some of the songs that made Bella Donna famous – minus the duet with Tom Petty. It has a feel that is reminiscent of Stop Dragging My Heart Around. I am sure that it will please both classic and newcomers to Stevie’s music, something that she has always been good at doing.

One of the best things about this album is both the mix of rock and trance-likeness that weaves throughout the entire album. She proves this well on Wild Sargasso Sea, which tells the tale of a jilted lover and/or friends with benefits. She continues this haunting with the tribute to New Orleans song entitled New Orleans. As someone who lives in nearby Houston, TX and saw all the refugees coming from Hurricane Katrina, this is a very beautiful song about the hope and promise that New Orleans is back up and running despite the horrible events of Hurricane Katrina. Nicks exclaims “I wanna dress up/ I wanna wear beads.”

The best melodic song, though, has to be You May Be the One. Nicks’ classic backup singers, Sharon Celani and Lori Petty Nicks (her sister-in-law) join her in once again-unmatched harmony. It is nothing short of beautiful and sounds much like Nicks circa 1983 when The Wild Heart was released.

Annabel Lee sounds like an updated version mixture of The Wild Heart and Nightbird. All in all it is amazing and it is a welcome return to rock music. However, one of the biggest surprises comes on Solider’s Angel  – a surprise duet with Lindsey Buckingham, her former boyfriend and fellow member of Fleetwood Mac.

Overall the album is one of the best Stevie Nicks albums out there. It sounds much like classic Nicks with a dreamlike kick, which is what makes the album extremely beautiful. It is sure to be a bestseller and hopefully a successful tour will come out of this. This album will hit stores on May 3rd.


Stevie Nicks photographed performing on 2-1-08...

In celebration of Ms. Nicks (and the fact that this blog is named after one of her best albums, The Wild Heart) coming to the land Down Under this week, we’d like to present you with the 10 best songs that every little Nicks fan needs on their Grooveshark account or iPod if you can get them onto there – some are rare tracks. If you do not have a Grooveshark account, please do get one. You can thank me later.

  1. Gold and Braid –  This was a song that was often performed live during the Bella Donna tour in 1981.Why she never put this on any recording is beyond me.
  2. Thousand Days – Powerful song for anyone who has ever been through a bad breakup.
  3. Nothing Ever Changes – Probably one of her most underrated rock songs. This one is from the 1983 classic The Wild Heart.
  4. Rock and Roll – Though you can never touch this original classic by Led Zepplin, Stevie comes closer than the Wilson sisters did in the early 80’s.
  5. Blue Lamp – The soundtrack to Heavy Metal was chock full of rock’s greatest heavy hitters.
  6. Magnet & Steel – She sings backup on this song. Nevertheless Walter Egan brings the song to an unprecedented portion of believability.

A few months ago I wrote about how bad radio in Houston has gotten since rock 101 KLOL went off the air in 2004. Even worse, it seems like Clear Channel has taken over everything. The playlists from station-to-station are virtually indistinguishable.

I wanna know this: when it comes to playing an artist, especially a female one, radio programmers seem to stick to only a few hits – not all their hits. For example: when Stevie Nicks came to Houston in August, 93.7 the Arrow celebrated by playing one of her cds for their “Classic CD at Midnight.” However, did they pick one of her classics such as Bella Donna or The Wild Heart. No. They chose to play Crystal Visions: The Best of Stevie Nicks. There’s nothing wrong with that per se except for the fact that it furthers the fact that, whenever they play a popular artist, they will play the same 4-5 songs by that artist that are on their playlist and nothing more. Why not play Bella Donna when she comes to town?

The Gold Dust Woman isn’t the only one they do this to. They have also done this to Pat Benatar. They seem to play either Heartbreaker, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Love Is A Battlefield, Shadows of the Night, etc. No You Better Run or I Need A Lover or the like.

Here’s a thought: how about playing some different songs from various artists back catalogue? Take for example anytime Cocaine is played by Eric Clapton. How about playing Forever Man or Tears In Heaven. Would it hurt to do that? People are tired of listening to the same old song and dance.

 


On July 27, 1981 Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks released her landmark solo album Bella Donna. That album with songs

30 years of entertainment and white-winged doves

like Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Leather and Lace – both duets with Tom Petty and Don Henley respectively, and the ever-popular Edge of Seventeen launched her enduring solo career. Though its a belated birthday, I, would like to present you with the 10 facts that you probably didn’t know about Bella Donna.

  1. The most well-known single from this album is, of course, Edge of Seventeen. Nicks has said that this song is about the death of her uncle and the death of John Lennon. She explained in her Live In Concert video that “I was in Australia when John Lennon was shot. Everybody was devastated. I didn’t know John Lennon, but I knew Jimmy Iovine, who worked with John quite a bit in the ’70s, and heard all the loving stories that Jimmy told about him. When I came back to Phoenix I started to write this song. Right when I got to Phoenix, my uncle Bill got cancer, got very sick very fast, and died in a couple of weeks. My cousin John Nicks and I were in the room when he died. There was just John and I there. That was part of the song when I went running down the hallways looking for somebody – I thought where’s my mom? Where’s his wife and the rest of the family? At that point I went back to the piano and finished the song.”
  2. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around was one of the earliest videos to air on a new network that debuted on August 1, 1981 at midnight called Mtv. Mtv ended up being massively popular with teenagers and young adults and introduced both Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Nicks to a younger audience.
  3. Producer Jimmy Iovine (who has since worked with rap artist Eminem, Dr. Dre and R&B singer Mary J. Blige among others) produced the album. Iovine and Nicks ended up moving in together during the making of the album.
  4. Bella Donna is an italian expression for “beautiful woman.”
  5. Some tracks did not make the final cut of Bella Donna, but were included on other albums. Some of these tracks were “I Sing For Things (which was eventually re-recorded for her 1985 album Rock A Little), Gypsy (which was included later on Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage album in 1982), Sleeping Angel (which was included on the soundtrack to the hit film Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Blue Lamp (which was included on the Heavy Metal soundtrack) and Gold and Braid, which Nicks has performed live for the Bella Donna tour.
  6. The Bella Donna tour kicked off in Houston, TX at the the Summit, which was also where fellow rockers Journey recorded their 1981 Live In Houston – the Escape Tour video. Nicks herself would later return to The Summit in 1989 for her The Other Side of the Mirror tour and film the video for Whole Lotta Trouble at said concert. The Summit was the home of the Houston Rockets and later became known as the Compaq Center. It now currently houses bestselling Christian author Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.
  7. There are many tracks that still remain officially unreleased but have become popular on sites like youtube and other peer-to-peer sites. Some of these tracks include “Castaway,” “Lady From the Mountains,””China Doll”, “Christian (Spinning Wheels)”, another duet with Tom Petty, and “Stay Away.”
  8. Bella Donna hit #1 on the US Billboard charts in September 1981 and was awarded platinum status 2 months later. It has since gone 4x platinum.
  9. This was the 1st recording to feature Nicks’ longtime backup vocalists Sharon Celani and Lori Perry Nicks.
  10. Nicks wrote Leather and Lace for a duet album for country singer Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. However it wasn’t used by either singer so Nicks recorded it as a duet with Don Henley. The song itself hit #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1982.

Nightbird’s performance at the Flamingo Room in Houston, TX on July 17th was one that was rather memorable. It was almost as if you were in the audience for Stevie Nicks‘ Soundstage DVD.

Lead singer Brooke Alyson gave a spot-on performance as the lead singer of the Stevie Nicks tribute band, Nightbird. Alyson opened the show with a rousing, loud, and excellent rendition of Stand Back. Surprisingly enough, she even does Nicks’ signature high-kick at the end, which made the performance more authentic. But one of the best things about this opening was that it did not sound like the 1983 Wild Heart recording but rather the mystical-ness of the 1986 Live at Red Rocks version as well as the technological skill of the Soundstage version. This made the performance feel a bit more authentic along with how the lead singer was dressed – which was very Stevie-esque including long shawls, long black dress and a tophat.

On Nicks’ 1985 hit Talk To Me, Alyson sings with much ease on this beautiful song. One of the greatest highlights was when Alyson hit the line “Though we lay face to face and cheek to cheek our voices stray from common ground where they could meet/ the walls run high to veil a swelling tear” with great ease.

Other songs such as Dreams and Gypsy, Alyson shows that she has a slightly higher vocal range than the contra-alto vocal range of Stevie Nicks. However, this works well for both songs. Gypsy is only made better by the guitar skills of Adam Walton, who plays the solo much better at times than Lindsey Buckingham.

One of the more mesmerizing moments was during Rhiannon, which was done with a stunningly beautiful piano opening from keyboard player Kelli Thompson. Also, Alyson stayed true to the performance version rather than the original recording.

However, the exquisite show-stopper was the show closer: Nicks’ signature smash Edge of Seventeen from her 1981 album Bella Donna, complete with its signature repetitive guitar as Alyson croons the familiar opening “just like the white-winged dove sings the songs sounds like she’s singing/oooh baby ooh.” It was an excellent closer to a band that is as good and at times even better than its original counterparts.