11 Best Stevie Nicks Songs, High Priestess of Rock and Roll

With a voice for the ages and songwriting ability that rivals contemporary music’s greatest composers, Stevie Nicks’ long career is a rare one that highlights equal success with her rock band Fleetwood Mac and her own chart-topping solo career. One of rock and pop’s leading ladies, Nicks’ influence spans generations, with a slew of awards to her name as well.

From the biggest hits she penned while heading up Fleetwood Mac to her highest charting solo tracks, we unpack the best Stevie Nicks songs below.

11. Gold Dust Woman

One of Nicks’ most personal songs ever written, ‘Gold Dust Woman’ delves into the complicated breakup she went through with fellow bandmate, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. Appearing on Fleetwood Mac’s legendary Rumours album, the recording process was especially tough for Stevie. Not only was her failed relationship a central part of the tune, but her battles with drug addiction were explored within the mystifying lyrics as well. Because of this, she was adamant the vocal take had to be perfect, but they recorded it in the early morning hours. It took over seven takes for her to be satisfied with it, and she made use of inhalers, cough drops, and mineral water in between takes to sooth her voice.

10. Gypsy

Dedicated to one of her longtime best friends who passed away from Leukemia, ‘Gypsy’ contains themes of freedom, adventure, and living fearlessly. Nicks penned the tribute for her Bella Donna album, a solo project she worked on in between Fleetwood Mac projects. But she had too much material for her solo record so she held it over for Mirage, one of the band’s most popular albums to date. The nostalgic tune is credited as one of the band’s favorites.

9. Bella Donna

Part of Stevie Nicks’ charm was her wistful nature and the gypsy-like quality she emitted. She had a love for witchcraft and symbols of the practice often ended up in her songs. For ‘Bella Donna,’ the tune takes on a double meaning. Though many know it is Italian for “beautiful woman,” it’s also the name of a powerful herb. In legends and tales, it often shows up in witches’ brews who plan to poison people with their concoction. For Nicks, “bella donna” in the song stands for the music industry and the toll it takes on rockers who give their lives to it. The title track to her solo album, the release as a whole would go on to be one of the most successful records by a solo female artist who also played the part of frontwoman in a band.

8. Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?

Nicks has said that ‘Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?’ is the “most committed” song she’s ever penned. Though she would often dedicate the track to the crowd when she played it live, it was actually written for Eagles’ band member Joe Walsh. The poignant tune first appeared on her solo Rock a Little album, and it was born from a drive the two musicians took together one day while bonding. As they were making their way to Colorado, Walsh told Nicks about his young daughter who had passed away. He drove them to a park he used to visit with his daughter and showed Nicks a fountain he had built as a tribute for her. Suddenly, Nicks’s problems she had been complaining about seemed so small. Feeling an intimate connection with the fellow rocker, she wrote ‘Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?’ in honor of Joe, and their comforting friendship.

7. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (with Tom Petty)

A big part of Nicks’ solo success can be attributed to her trusted producer, Jimmy Iovine. The two developed a kinship while working together that really comes out through Stevie’s solo work. For her Bella Donna album, Iovine was in search of a leading single for it, one that would have chart success, setting up a type of chain reaction for following releases. Nicks had a huge amount of respect for Tom Petty, and after she asked him to pen a song for her, he presented her with ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.’ Nicks thought the tune was perfect, and Iovine chose the duet recording as the album’s leading single. The tune rose all the way to the third spot on the Billboard charts and set the stage for other hits off her debut solo record.

6. Stand Back

Over the course of her career, Nicks has had the honor of working with some of the music industry’s biggest artists like Don Henley and multiple collaborations with Heartbreakers frontman Tom Petty. For ‘Stand Back,’ one of her most enduring solo tunes, she paired up with rock icon Prince. Not only did his hit single ‘Little Red Corvette’ act as Nicks’ original inspiration for her own song, when she recorded it Prince stepped into the studio and colored it with memorable synthesizer parts that really helped the song stand out. Though they never had the opportunity to perform it live together, after Prince’s passing, every time Nicks’ performed ‘Stand Back,’ she dedicated it to the late rocker and said he would always be standing beside her in spirit while she sang it for audiences.

5. Silver Springs

Another tune written about her tumultuous relationship with fellow Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, Nicks got the name of the tune while taking a road trip with him while they were still together. Silver Spring, Maryland is the location that served as her initial inspiration. She loved the name so much she decided to incorporate it into a song. After her and Buckingham split, she worked on the track and turned it into a haunting number focused on the ghost of their relationship following them for the rest of their lives.

4. Edge of Seventeen

“Words from a poet and a voice from a choir.” A tribute to two different influential figures is at the heart of Nicks’ ‘Edge of Seventeen.’ Written for both her uncle and songwriting icon John Lennon, the two died around the same time. Having to mourn both a family member she was close to and one of her musical heroes in such close proximity to one another devastated her. Appearing on her historic Bella Donna release, though it was the third single off the album, it was her first to debut that didn’t involve a duet with a prominent male musician. ‘Edge of Seventeen’ would go on to be one of the record’s most successful single releases, and one of Nicks’ most enduring tracks.

3. Rhiannon

An early song she penned before ever joining Fleetwood Mac, Nicks wrote ‘Rihannon’ alongside then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. Much of what would go on to define Fleetwood Mac as a band and Stevie Nicks as a powerful female voice can be found in this mystic-heavy tune. It draws on mythological elements involving the Welsh goddess Rihannon, whose story is loosely told throughout the lyrics, which center around an otherworldly being. The references to witchcraft and mythology would go on to become a central part of their brand, with Nicks taking on a witchy-type appearance and fans attending concerts in similar attire to honor their leading lady.

2. Dreams

Though this song’s title is ‘Dreams,’ the tune is perhaps best recognized by its iconic line, “Players only love you when they’re playing.” Nicks wrote this number one hit (shockingly, this would go on to be Fleetwood Mac’s only number one hit) while the entire band was going through breakups with their respective partners. This caused a ton of turmoil throughout the group, who could barely even record together during the studio process for their Rumours album. While this Nicks-penned tune is directed at Buckingham, his followup track, ‘Go Your Own Way,’ is directed at her.

1. Landslide

A coming-of-age story, though ‘Landslide’ wasn’t one of Fleetwood Mac’s highest charting tunes, it is one of their most enduring and is generally considered to be their signature track. Nicks wrote it in less than 10 minutes early on in her fledgling music career while visiting her parents in Colorado. Frustrated by the obstacles she was facing while trying to make a name for herself in the industry, though she wanted to quit, her father urged her to give it one more try. Not long after their chat, she and Buckingham joined forces with soon-to-be Fleetwood Mac, and Nicks would go on to reach the heights of fame she was hoping for back when she visited her parents in Colorado.

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ZingInstruments.com. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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