NICKS: ‘More proud’ of new record than anything she has done before
When Stevie Nicks decided to record her first solo album in 10 years, she called her old pal, Eurythmics veteran Dave Stewart.
Not only did he prove to be a particularly well-suited writing partner and producer, he shared a unique historical circumstance that bonded them in a special sort of kinship: Like Nicks, Stewart had been part of a duo that was both musical and romantic. And like Nicks, his romance ended before the musical connection did.
Stewart, of course, was in love with Annie Lennox when the pair gained fame. Nicks had joined forces with Lindsey Buckingham when they were high school students.
Buckingham was invited to join Fleetwood Mac, he said the Buckingham-Nicks duo, which had released one dead-in-the-water album, was a package deal.
By the time they split, they had put their indelible stamp on what would become one of the bestselling albums of all time, 1977’s “Rumours.” And as if this isn’t enough couple trivia, “Rumours” is actually a chronicle of two band couples coming apart — Nicks and Buckingham and John and Christine McVie.
Then, of course, there was the affair between Nicks and band co-founder and drummer, Mick Fleetwood. But now this is getting confusing.
Fleetwood Mac members have since splintered and come together again more than once. In the meantime, each has made solo forays.
Nicks, who comes to Boston on Tuesday, July 10, has notched the most successful solo career of any Fleetwood Mac veteran. Her string of hits, with and without Fleetwood Mac, represents one of pop music’s most beloved canons: The list includes “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Dreams” (a favorite topic), “Edge of Seventeen,” “Leather and Lace” (a duet with one-time lover Don Henley), “Stand Back” and, with Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”
Her gypsy/witchy-woman look - Victorian-inspired gowns,
high-heeled boots, leather and lace, silk and satin, romantic hats,
long, blonde hair, all shown off with frequent
stage twirls, set a tone in the ’70s from
which she hasn’t wavered.
She hasn’t changed her songwriting style much, either — or at least, she hadn’t, until she began working with Stewart on “In Your Dreams,” released in May 2011.
Up until he sat in her L.A. living room, expecting her to sing along as he played, she’d never written a song with another person while sharing the same breathing space, face-to-face.
“I sent him 40 pages of poetry, never really expecting him to read all of it, but he did,” Nicks recalled, speaking over the phone in her deep alto tone. “He puts his guitar on and he takes one of the poems out of the binder that I had sent him, and he said, ‘I like this poem. Let’s do this one.’”
Startled, she wanted to tell him she doesn’t write with other people. But she kept quiet.
“Something in me said, ‘Don’t say that. Just sit there and see what he is gonna do,’” she confessed.
And he played. He asked her to sing. And she did.
“That’s actually the third to the last song on the record; it’s called ‘You May Be The One,’” she said. “That’s how it started. And 20 minutes later, we had a really good song.”
The only song on which they actually shared lyricwriting duties was “Everybody Loves You.” Stewart supplied her with a chorus and asked her to write verses. The words he provided were, “Everybody loves you but you’re so alone, no one really knows you, but I’m the only one.”
“I immediately took it like he was writing that about Annie Lennox, because that sounded like a person from a duo writing a song about the other person in the duo,” Nicks said. “And what Dave and I had that was great was that we’d both been in really famous duos, so the whole time we were making this record, I feel like Lindsey and Annie were floating around in the room. Because a lot of the stuff that we both wrote seemed to be directed to our years as famous people in duos.”
She’s hoping her summer solo tour will draw audiences to her poignant mix of love songs, reminiscences, dreamscapes and odes to soldiers, vampires, New Orleans and even Edgar Allen Poe (Nicks set Poe’s poem, “Annabel Lee” to music).
“In Your Dreams” also contains contributions by frequent collaborator Mike Campbell, along with Buckingham, Waddy Wachtel, Fleetwood and other players she’s worked with in the past. Except for drum overdubs, they recorded the entire album in her home, starting in January 2010 and finishing in December.
“It was the best year of my life,” Nicks enthused. “I am probably more proud of this record than anything I’ve ever done.”
IF YOU GO:
When: Stevie Nicks 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 10
Where: Bank of America Pavilion, 290 Northern Ave., Boston
Tickets: $150-$50. Call 617-728-1600 or visit livenation.com