My on and off childhood crush on Stevie Nicks had no rival until Pat Benatar came along. Still, in the first half of the ’80s, it was all about Stevie. Her first solo album Bella Donna never strayed too far from the Fleetwood Mac formula. Her second one, 1983s The Wild Heart had more of the digital pop sheen that was more in keeping with the trends of the day.
All of the mystery was still there. Every one of the singles had a video that showed Nicks in her classic bat bird stance (often with smoke and lights in the background). Her signature move, the twirling about had become a trademark. The pageantry of her classic mystique was not diminished by synthesizer beats, as she proved that she could get down with the dance pop crowd via the Minneapolis sound of “Stand Back”.
The potential awkwardness of Stevie Nicks meeting techno dance was diminished by Prince’s knack of matching a song to a muse. Nicks deserved just as much credit for her ability to turn the purple product into something that fit into her world of Wicca witches and lace. Closer to the Nicks formula, the other singles like the rocker “If Anyone Falls” and “Nightbird” were closer to what fans might have expected.
In many ways “Nightbird”, a song neglected in many of Nicks early greatest hits compilations was one of the best she had written as a solo artist. It captured everything we liked about her mystique and updated it in a melodramatic modern context.
Other members of Fleetwood Mac like Christine McVie and Lindsay Buckingham also had solo projects with varying degrees of success. It was safe to say that Nicks own albums rivaled Fleetwood Macs at this point of the bands history.
The Wild Heart was Nicks somewhere between the old folk magic of Fleetwood Mac and the new pop of the synthesizer. Future releases would lean more towards electro pop (for better or worse). It was at that point that the Nicks-Benatar pendulum would swing more in Benatar’s favor. Of course by the end of the decade, I had moved on altogether.