Today we celebrate the birthday of Stephanie Lynn Nicks, though she’s far better known by her nickname, “Stevie.” To commemorate the occasion of this distinctively-voiced songstress, we’ve put together a list of Ms. Nicks’ 17 best solo songs, just to remind you that, for as wonderful as she’s always been in Fleetwood Mac, sometimes you just want pure, unbridled Stevie.
“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (1981): Nicks’ debut single from her debut solo album, Bella Donna, was actually the only song on the LP that she didn’t have a hand in writing. Penned by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, the track wasn’t even intended to be a Stevie Nicks song, but producer Jimmy Iovine, who happened to be twiddling the knobs for both Nicks and Petty, successfully convinced Petty to turn the track into a collaboration, kicking off Nicks’ solo career in a big way and providing her with a No. 3 hit straight out of the gate.
“Leather and Lace” (1981): Nicks’ second solo single was also a duet, this time with Eagles frontman Don Henley, but she’d originally written it as the title track of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s duets album, Leather and Lace. In the end, the album went forward without actually included the song, but Nicks’ version was her second Top 10 hit, climbing to No. 6.
“Edge of Seventeen” (1981): It took until her third single for Nicks to deliver a song that was 100% Stevie, and while the chart results weren’t quite as substantial as its predecessors, it nonetheless managed to chug its way to No. 11...and, yes, that word choice is intentional, since it’s the perfect way to describe the riff that powers the tune.
“Stand Back” (1983): The debut single from Nicks’ sophomore solo LP, The Wild Heart, may well be the most instantly recognizable Stevie song of all time, having made its debut before the release of the album when she performed it at the 1983 US Festival and maintained a constant spot within her live sets ever since. More importantly, however, it also landed her in the top 5 for the first time on her own. (Bonus trivia: the song was inspired by Prince's "Little Red Corvette," and the iconic rocker provided the song's iconic synthesizer riff.)
“If Anyone Falls” (1983): The second single from The Wild Heart, this tune earned Nicks a tremendous amount of airplay on MTV, and it also led to another big hit, climbing to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Talk to Me” (1985): While this was another single that wasn’t penned by Nicks herself, it was once again a track that found its way to her through producer Jimmy Iovine. Written by Chas Sandford, co-writer of John Waite’s “Missing You,” it was the first single from Nicks’ third solo album, Rock a Little, and it was another big hit for her, climbing to No. 4 on the Hot 100 and topping Billboard's mainstream rock chart.
“I Can’t Wait” (1985): Not that there’s anything wrong with sounding a little dated, but when revisiting Nicks’ solo singles, this is absolutely the one that most screams, “I was born in the ‘80s!” Alas, the ‘80s weren’t nearly as excited about it as they had been the preceding single, but it still became a Top 20 hit, making it to No. 16.
“Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” (1985): It wasn’t a big hit at the time of its release, peaking only at No. 60 before beginning its descent, but in addition to finding fans through its inclusion on Nicks’ best-of compilation, Timespace, it also got a lot of love as a result of Stevie singing it on American Horror Story: Coven. Yes, really. If you haven’t seen her appearance on the show, look no further.
“Rooms on Fire” (1989): The lead single from Nicks’ fourth solo album, The Other Side of the Mirror, this actually remains Stevie’s biggest solo hit in the U.K., hitting No. 16. As it happens, that’s also where it landed on the Hot 100. Ah, the serendipity...
“Sometimes It’s a Bitch” (1991): Co-written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon, this was the obligatory new track on Stevie’s aforementioned best-of compilation, Timespace, and given that it was released as grunge was kicking into gear, it’s perhaps no surprise that it wasn’t a massive chart hit, only hitting No. 56, but Nicks’ appeal on the mainstream rock chart remained solid, as the song hit No. 7 over there.
“Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind” (1994): Released as the debut single from Nicks’ 1994 solo album Street Angel, this song actually charted lower than “Sometimes It’s a Bitch,” topping out at only No. 57, and the album itself remains the least successful of Nicks’ career, arriving after her departure from Fleetwood Mac and while she was in the final throes of a well-publicized Klonopin addiction. Catchy tune, though.
“Blue Denim” (1994): The lead track from Street Angel and an even catchier number, this really should’ve been a huge hit, so the fact that it didn’t even so much as crack the Hot 100 is nothing short of a crime.
“Planets of the Universe” (2001): Originally written by Nicks during the Rumours era, Fleetwood Mac fans might’ve heard the band’s rough demo of the song on the expanded edition of that album which was released in 2004. Recording it herself for her Trouble in Shangri-La album, she reportedly left out a verse which she’d since decided was too spiteful towards Lindsey Buckingham...because, of course, everything she wrote about during the Rumours era was about the end of their relationship.
“Sorcerer” (2001): This track is actually even older, having been written and demoed during the Buckingham Nicks era, i.e. when Stevie and Lindsey were working together prior to joining Fleetwood Mac. Considered at one point for Tusk, then for Stevie’s own album, The Wild Heart, and later recorded by Marilyn Martin for the Streets of Fire soundtrack, this version was actually co-produced by Sheryl Crow for Trouble in Shangri-La.
“Secret Love” (2011): Produced by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame, this song kicked off Nicks’ In Your Dreams album, an LP which some critics have argued to be the best album of her career. Your personal mileage may vary, of course, but given that it arrived 30 years after her solo debut, it’s certainly the work of an artist who - three decades on - was still capable of delivering quality songs.
“The Dealer” (2015): Taken from Nicks’ 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, which features new versions of demos done by Stevie between 1969 and 1987, this track was actually penned in the late ‘70s and was intended for inclusion on Tusk. Though it didn’t get much airplay as a single, it must be said that it was big in Belgium. Well, relatively big. Actually, let’s just say that it was bigger there than anywhere else, which is a shame, because it’s one of the best tunes Stevie’s released in years.
“Show Them the Way” (2020): If you weren’t paying attention in October 2020, you might well have missed that Nicks released this single, one which is ostensibly destined to appear on a future album. As of this writing, however, we haven’t heard any update as to when we might actually get that album, but if you haven’t heard it yet, give it a spin and then keep your fingers crossed that there’s more where that came from...and that we get to hear it sooner than later!