Stevie Nicks, Bella Donna

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.12.11 in Reviews

Bella Donna

Stevie Nicks
A blatantly commercial, glossy and booming solo debut

Blatantly commercial, glossy, and booming, Stevie Nicks’s 1981 solo debut was everything Tusk was not. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Eagles’ Don Henley and Don Felder, Roy Bittan of the E-Street Band, Donald “Duck” Dunn of Booker T. & the M.G.’s, top session guitarist Waddy Wachtel, and future Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine are among the rock royalty employed on a record diametrically opposed to then-cresting New Wave; where there would ordinarily be one or two guitars, there’s seemingly a half a dozen. The opulence is almost operatic; recalling Bob Ezrin’s work with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, Iovine’s production offers the femme-fronted leather and lace answer to glam rock’s sequins and glitter, one that would no doubt inspire Hedwig & the Angry Inch. Although Iovine, then her paramour, lacks Buckingham’s thorough synergy with Nicks, this nevertheless remains her most consistent solo album; the ornate title track, the rumbling “Edge of Seventeen,” and Petty’s pained “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” are nearly as flattering as her Mac best.