Stevie Nicks 1981
(Neal Preston)

REVIEW: Bella Donna

Rickie Lee Jones’ Pirates and Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna are both such long-awaited albums that you could all but hear the amens when they arrived in the stores.

It has been nearly two years since the release of Jones’ enchanting debut LP, which rode the success of “Chuck E.’s in Love” into the Top 10 and earned the singer a Grammy as the year’s best new artist.

It has been even longer since Nicks’ ethereal “Rhiannon” in 1976 helped make Fleetwood Mac one of the most commercially successful bands in recording history–a contribution that suggested Nicks would eventually attempt a solo album.

Now that the wait for the albums is over, the questions are: Does Jones live up to expectations? Will Nicks do OK on her own? The answers depend on whether you’re more interested in chart performance or music. Bella Donna (Modern Records) is a careful, respectable work that will chalk up sales, but it mostly repeats what we already know about Nicks’ music from her recordings with Fleetwood Mac. The album’s high points are the few times she steps into new territory.

[Editor’s note: The rest of the Rickie Lee Jones’ Pirates album review has been omitted from this article.]

The strange thing about Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna is that someone who presumably has been looking forward for years to recording away from the shadow of one band steps in the LP’s key track into the shadow of another: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Not only did Petty write and co-produce “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” but he also sings on it with nicks, and the Heartbreakers bands plays on the track. The arrangement–from Benmont Tench’s sinuous keyboard touches to Michael Campbell’s cymbal-like guitar licks– summarizes the feel of Petty’s moody, midtempo rockers so fully that it’s almost a caricature.

Still, the Nicks-Petty teaming is a classic pairing of two of rock’s heart-throbs and the single will be smash, adding even more to the audience for this album. The problem aesthetically is the song adds nothing to Nicks’ musical identity. Unfortunately, the same things can be said about the rest of the LP.

That’s not going to necessarily be a disappointment for hard-core Nicks fans, but I’ve always felt quivering, trance-like vocals are most effective in small doses.

One of Fleetwood Mac’s strengths is the flexibility that results from three singer-songwriters in the band. Just when Nicks’ initially seductive approach wears thin, the group shifts to one of the velvety Christine McVie ballads or rollicking Lindsey Buckingham numbers.

Using guitarist Waddy Wachtel and other musicians who have worked with Linda Ronstadt, producer Jimmy Iovine gives Nicks’ music a harder edge than it usually receives on the Mac recordings. Still, most of the songs on Bella Donna are built around the same swirling rhythms and frequent mystical allusions of such familiar Nicks tunes as “Sisters of the Moon,” “Rhiannon,” and “Dreams.”

Some of the songs–notably the upbeat “Think About It”–work especially well. Others, however, are ponderous. Among them: the title track, which is yet another reflection on pop stardom (“No speed limit…this is the fast lane”), and “Edge of Seventeen,” an over-wrought romantic flashback.

The high points in the album are the times she steps farthest form the Mac mold. Besides the Petty track, there’s “After the Glitter Fades,” a marvelous country ballad, and “Leather and Lace,” a folkish song with much of the delicate emotion of Tim Hardin’s best tunes. On both numbers, Nicks, who is joined on “Leather and Lace” by Eagles’ Don Henley, seems far more approachable and genuine vocally.

“After the Glitter Fades” is such an evocative account of loneliness amid the glamour of Hollywood rock ‘n’ roll that it’s surprising to note on the album’s lyric sheet that it was written before Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac and became a star herself. Sample lyric: “The dreams keep coming when you forget to feel.”

If Nicks could have broken awa a few more times from the relatively conversative shackles of her Fleetwood Mac image, Bella Donna would have been a lot easier to toast as it goes up the sales chart.

Robert Hilburn / Los Angeles Times / August 2, 1981

LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

February 10, 2024
Atlantic City, NJ

Mark G Etess Arena
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

February 14, 2024
Belmont Park, NY

UBS Arena
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

February 21, 2024
Greenville, SC

Bon Secours Wellness Arena
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

February 24, 2024
Hollywood, FL

Hard Rock Live ^
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

February 28, 2024
New Orleans, LA

Smoothie King Center
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

March 3, 2024
Omaha, NE

CHI Health Center
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

March 6, 2024 – North Little Rock, AR
Simmons Bank Arena
On Sale Friday, September 29. 2023

March 9, 2024 – BILLY JOEL
Arlington, TX
AT&T Stadium

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

For What It’s Worth (2022)

Edge of Midnight (2020)

Beautiful People Beautiful Problems (2017)

New Release

Stevie Nicks, Stand Back 1981-2017, compilation