Stevie Nicks
Photo: Herbert W. Worthington III
Home » ALBUM REVIEW: The Wild Heart

ALBUM REVIEW: The Wild Heart

Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart (1983)Seldom has Stevie Nicks been in better voice than on The Wild Heart. Her distinctive lower-range growl has broadened and strengthened considerably; it may not be a bluesmama instrument, but it carries some emotional oomph when it gets cranked up. The Wild Heart boasts one of the best producers in the business in Jimmy Iovine (reprising his yeoman board chores on Bella Donna), and at least two of rock & roll’s most valuable players, guitarist Waddy Wachtel and keyboardist Roy Bittan. And Nicks embarks on her second solo LP with some intriguing personal history to relate: she’s a married woman now, wedded to her best friend’s widower, stepmother to an infant daughter.

So the question is, how did it all turn out so badly? Let’s not mince words: much of The Wild Heart is an outright catastrophe, a one-two punch of cracked-cookie lyrics and stunningly pedestrian music. It’s hard to believe that the woman nominally responsible for such fine pieces of songcraft as “I Don’t Want to Know” or even “Edge of Seventeen” could have concocted the inchoate ramblings that pervade this record. Stanzas don’t hang together, and choruses verge on the utterly meaningless: “If anyone falls in love/Somewhere, twilight, dreamtime, somewhere/In the back of your mind/If anyone falls,” offers one particularly pellucid example in “If Anyone Falls.” “There is a gate/It can be guarded/Well, it is not heaven/It has a garden/So to the red rose goes the passion” begins the inexplicable “Gate and Garden.” Emotions flit through these songs like Hades’ shades–shapeless forms, unable to escape. In “Stand Back,” she sings, “No one knows/How I feel/What I say/Unless you read between my lines.” Well, whose fault is that?

The pro forma L.A. rock that accompanies – rather, encases – these sentiments only makes matters worse. It neither creates a structure that could codify Nicks’ wacked-out world nor enhances its ethereal, unfinished quality. Sandy Stewart lurches on her synthesizer as if it were Billy Swan’s organ, when she should be using the instrument to breathe life into Nicks’ phantasms with shimmering, spacey textures. The lockstep rigidity of the tracks blunts the idiosyncratic dash of Wachtel and Bittan and stomps on Nicks’ fragile visions. “Enchanted” could make a nifty Warren Zevon song musically, but behind Stevie’s tinkerbell tales and arrhythmic count-off, it sounds ludicrous. Only Mick Fleetwood’s deft drum accents on “Sable in Blond” bring any cohesion to The Wild Heart.

What went wrong? Part of the problem may have to do with Nicks’ oft-expressed love of fairy tales. Such stories may enchant us because of their distilled emotional quality: their ritualized time sequences (“…And on the seventh day”) and abstract kingdoms conjure up a richly romantic world, free of the mundanities of our own existence. But Nicks gets distracted by the archetypal trappings – doves, gardens, beasts with hearts o’gold–and misses the emotional core. As a result, her lyrics are awash in setting but curiously clumsy in matters of the heart. “Do I love you?” she asks in “Gate and Garden.” “Well, I always did.” Clunk. There’s no dance of souls here, nothing to lure us into caring. Nicks’ romances, as in “Beauty and the Beast,” are pure self-realization: “I never doubted your beauty/I’ve changed.”

It takes Tom Petty to coax Stevie out of the dusky bogs and bushy fens. His heart-tugging “I Will Run to You” may not have the angry fire of their Bella Donna duet, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” but it does snap side two to life. “I will run to you/Down whatever road you choose,” croon the pair in chilling harmony, and that straightforward sentence says more about love and experience than any of Nicks’ dizzy verse.

It’s simple to mug a mystic, and Nicks’ voyages into the ozone do make her an easy target. But mysticism doesn’t obviate the need for clarity, rigor, structure. In fact, it makes them all the more important, so that those of us who look askance at crystal visions can partake along with the true believers. And if her lyrics are going to have the open-ended quality they have here, Nicks needs eerie, on-the-edge music to complement them (the snaky grace of “Gold Dust Woman” comes to mind). Hers is a heady muse, and one hopes The Wild Heart will just be a brief slipup. Too bad no one told her early on, but as she sings in “Nightbird,” “Sometimes I am surrounded by too much love.”

Christopher Connelly / Rolling Stone (RS 399) / July 7, 1983



Stevie Nicks

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024 (with Billy Joel)
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
London, England

^ 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

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

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel


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