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While Stevie Nicks had the most recognizable voice in Fleetwood Mac, there was no guarantee she could craft the same kind of pop-rock magic without the help of the Mac's guiding musical force, Lindsey Buckingham. As such, Bella Donna found her emerging surprisingly strongly as a solo talent. Part of the credit goes to Tom Petty, who gave her an excellent song in "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" (and duets with her on it). But other high points are Nicks's own creations, including the urgently rocking "Edge of Seventeen" and the country-tinged ballad "Leather and Lace" (a duet with Don Henley). A few tunes here are forgettable, but overall Nicks started her solo career on a high note. --Peter Blackstock
- STEVIE ROCKS!!
This is the best of Stevie, me being a professional singer myself, always have been a fan, even back when she was in Fleetwood Mac. Every song on this bella donna album is great! I especially love "After the glitter fades" and "Highwayman".It brings back a lot of great memories for me.
- Well, he ... seemed broken-hearted ...
Twenty years later, this album still breaks my heart....more info
- One Of My Desert Island Discs
Where the wispy fairy/poet/waif we adored on "Fleetwood Mac", "Rumours" and "Tusk" became the queen of rock and roll we are dared to worship, challenging the nay-sayers and snickering critics to take her seriously. With "Bella Donna", Nicks not only solidified her significance as a rock persona, but established herself as a great songwriting force to be reckoned with. Displaying that superlative craft, she employs a penultimate ensemble of musicians borrowed from the likes of Springsteen and Petty [including Tom himself on his "Stop Dragging My Heart Around"] and paints an incredible journey through the multi-facets of love. Her country music heritage is apparent on some of the best cuts here: from the bittersweet, elegiac "After The Glitter Fades" to the dark, but lovely, innuendo of "Leather And Lace" to "The Highwayman", about...well, just guess. There is also the great classic rock track "Edge Of Seventeen" and the albums best piece, the hauntingly beautiful, but enigmatic title track. As if possessing, albeit arguably, the most distinct and recognizable female voice in rock history isn't enough, one can measure Nicks as an archetype of portraits to come: could anyone really see Prince's images of lace, purple and doves without wondering if his evolution didn't come via Nicks' mirror? [He did play keyboards on "Stand Back" from her "Wild Heart" album]. And who begat the whole angels-as-rock-imagery but Nicks on her Mac recordings and solo work? But, that all aside, "Bella Donna" is Stevie Nicks' most consistent solo work to date, and it, above all her other works, remains an achievement that still stands almost a quarter century later. My grade: A+
- Her best solo effort
Stevie Nicks as we all know came to fame with Fleetwood Mac.
Her songs with Fleetwood Mac were dark, like Rhiannon, Gypsy etc.
In her first solo effort she sheds the image somewhat and shows us her Rock side.
She engages Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Don Henley and others to come up with a classic solo album.
I can listen to this as easily as any Fleetwood Mac album with her and Lindsay Buckingham.
She also goes country with Leather and Lace. She also does "Stop draggin my heart around" which could arguably be the best song of her career.This shows she does not need Lindsay Buckingham ( or Fleetwood Mac for that matter). She is also one of the great writers of Rock history.
If you like Stevie Nicks, this is where I would start. This will always be her classic solo album.
She is one of the great Rock icons of all time..........enjoy...more info
- Just like the white winged dove...sings a song...
Despite hearing her vital early singles on her greatest hits, I never bothered to go back and get Stevie Nicks' first two albums, having begun with Rock A Little. Until now, that is. Many of the songs have the trademark of loneliness, a yearning for permanence, haunted by men who come and go, probably never to see them again, or haunting women.
The title track sets the pace of the sound, Waddy Wachtel's distinctive lead guitar that later proves key to making "Edge Of Seventeen" its flavour. It's a mixture of lively Tom Petty with a twist of country, with a very faint drop of Fleetwood Mac. It proves that Stevie Nicks has a sound of own independent of FM.
"Kind Of Woman" is a slower number that tells a woman's POV of her man being attracted to another woman, who is "the kind of woman that'll haunt you".
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" is the first of two duets she does. Might as well call this Stevie Nicks and the Heartbreakers. It's almost like Nicks's "Refugee." Seriously though, the signature Heartbreakers sound makes this radio staple, however overplayed, a classic. So the next time you hear it and roll your eyes, hey, stop draggin' Stevie down!
"Think About It" could make a good country remake. "After The Glitter Fades" is a country-tinged portrait of a star Hollywood actress who despite the stigma of being lonely at the top, decides that it's all worth it because it's all she knows: "Evern though the living is sometimes laced with lies/It's alright/The feeling remains even after the glitter fades."
Then comes that well-known chugging rhythm guitar that forms the backbeat of the single. Yes, it's "Edge Of Seventeen." With five verses intercut with the chorus, it's quite a long song, but there's a haunting quality to the imagery she presents. However, I have vivid memories of this song because Bill, my roommate in college used to put his LP on this song, put the headphones on, and sing to this out loud. I kid you not! And this isn't the only Nicks song he did this too. More on that on future reviews.
"How Still My Love" has a mellowed melody reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams". However, things go up a crescendo with the intense guitars that come on from the time she sings "Standing...in the doorway."
Then comes the other hit duet, "Leather And Lace" which she does with Don Henley. Roy Bittan's piano really gives this a sweet melody. This song seems to have the most hope of all here. It's a conversation between a strong independent woman who through her intuition knows that the man is going to stay. The chorus, where she sings "Give to me your leather/Take from me ...my lace" is a reference that he thinks she's fragile and she says to give her some of his strength and remove her weakness.
"Outside The Rain" is a song I can picture Petty and his Heartbreakers doing during their Damn The Torpedoes era. Small wonder, as Petty, Michael Campbell, and Benmont Tench are the players here.
The slow country-ish "The Highwayman" is another song of a man fighting hard for a life of adventure, not willing to be tied down.
The plethora of guest stars here guaranteed this to be a hit album, ranging from "Professor" Roy Bittan of the E Street Band, the Heartbreakers, and Don Henley and Don Felder of the Eagles. Also, the dates of the songs range from 1974 to 1981, demonstrating that Nicks was lucky enough to have some songs to spare for her talent instead of for Mac. And this of course introduces her regular backup singers that made her sound unique, Lori Perry and Sharon Celani--take a bow, ladies. The sign of even better things to come from this bella donna.
Speaking of which, the title of the album, meaning beautiful lady, but also the deadly plant of the nightshade family, which is used to make a woman's eyes larger, like a creature of the night, and the haunting, ghostly women of the eve....more info
- One of the Best Releases of the 1980s
Throughout the 1970s Stevie Nicks was among the "golden line up" of the legendary Fleetwood Mac, and her lyrics and vocals did much to fuel the band's remarkable success on such releases as RUMORS. Still, when Nicks announced that she was going solo, there were naysayers aplenty. Many felt that Nicks' success with Fleetwood Mac rested in part on the musical settings created for her by various band members; others felt that she lacked the business know-how to put a solo deal together.
But Nicks proved much more artistically resourceful and a much tougher deal-maker than her critics expected. Released in 1981, BELLA DONNA exploded to the top of the charts. Throughout the 1980s Nicks would score further solo successes with THE WILD HEART and ROCK A LITTLE; at the same time she remained a mainstay of the on-again-off-again Fleetwood Mac. And she would become one of the most admired performers of the decade.
Whatever the merits of her other work, BELLA DONNA remains Nicks' single best selling solo effort, a release beloved by fans and admired by critics alike. And it isn't hard to see why. Although Nicks had done some very tough rock and roll with Fleetwood Mac, and had often performed folk and country-flavored songs with the band, BELLA DONNA extended her range in both directions. At the same, however, she did not make the mistake of doing material so completely different as to alienate her core fans, preferring instead to elaborate her previous work than to dismiss it completely.
The result is a series of songs that are very clearly by the same Stevie Nicks who performed with Fleetwood Mac--but which don't simply repeat the sound she acheived with that band. Perhaps the most obvious example is the opening title cut, which sounds very much like something Fleetwood Mac might have done, but which gradually turns in a number of directions that one would never expect from that band--a sort of fusion of Nicks' previous work and the new music she is about to present.
Nicks had done some fairly hard rockers with Fleetwood Mac, but with "Edge Of Seventeen" she takes her skills in that direction to the max, creating a hard, hard, hard rock vocal to a driving beat against a background of some the tightest back-up vocals you've ever heard any where. Her duet with Tom Petty, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," is done at a slower tempo but still creates a hard rock sound, and Nicks and Petty's voices are remarkably well blended. Nicks also veers more significantly toward a country music tone than she had in the past with "After the Glitter Fades," which proved a cross-over hit on the country charts, and her duet with Don Henley, "Leather and Lace," mixes pop and country idioms to tremendous effect.
If these cuts at least reference her original sound with Fleetwood Mac, the remaining cuts might have been written with Fleetwood Mac specifically in mind--and very likely were, songs that were probably never recorded for lack of space. "Kind of Woman," "Think About It," "How Still My Love," and most particularly "Outside the Rain" are very much in the Fleetwood Mac style, all of them expertly done, and all of them memorable.
In spite of her success as a solo artist, Nicks would continue to work with Fleetwood Mac--and fortunately so, for whereas her work with Fleetwood Mac would still find her in top form, her post-ROCK A LITTLE solo releases became increasingly problematic until her stunning TROUBLE IN SHANGRI-LA. But whatever her ups and downs, Nicks has remained one of the most interesting performers of her generation, a woman with a unique voice, a talent for creating unusual lyrics, and a powerhouse presence. It's hard to imagine any other performer quite like her. And BELLA DONNA remains one of her best. Recommended.
--GFT (Amazon.com)--...more info
- The Best Album You've Never Heard
Personally, I find Stevie Nicks a little bit nutty, but this really is a damn fine album. Every song is melodic and pleasant. Stevie's constantly quivering vibratto can get to some after a while but the sheer quality of songcraft here is stellar. For my money this is far and away her best work. Very nice thru headphones, too. ...more info
- BELLADONNA & STEVIE NICKS OUTSTANDING
This is an excellent CD capturing Stevie's soul. Her timeless songs and how she sings them are phenomenal. My favorites from this CD are Bella Donna, Kind of Woman, Think About, It EDGE OF SEVENTEEN - I just love that song no matter how many times I play it I love it even more.
This is a "must buy" for listening and you'll definitely want to get some of her DVD's for super great enjoyment.
This work was deeply important to Stevie, as she shares that she wanted to do this her entire life.
She proves to be an outstanding solo artist, and gets better and better note by note.
Can't wait for the concert next month - after 34 years I FINALLY get to see Stevie live. She is truly amazing!
- Stevie Nicks: Bella Donna (1981)
We all know that Stevie Nicks was a member of the infamous rock band, FLEETWOOD MAC. Stevie Nicks had joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, when Fleetwood Mac had received its best lineup of "Mick Fleetwood", "John McVie", "Christine McVie", "Stevie Nicks", & "Lindsey Buckingham". After that lineup configuration, Fleetwood Mac released the album, FLEETWOOD MAC. In 1977, Fleetwood released their greatest album entitled, RUMOURS, which featured the hit singles, "Don't Stop", "Dreams", & "The Chain". In 1979, Fleetwood Mac released their last album of the 70s entitled, TUSK.
But in 1981, Stevie Nicks released her first solo album entitled, BELLA DONNA. This album is sounds a bit different than that of anything heard from Fleetwood Mac.
This is a pretty good song to start off her first solo album. The acoustic piano is a great touch.
KIND OF WOMAN
STOP DRAGGIN' MY HEART AROUND (Duet with Tom Petty)
One Stevie's marked greatest hits. This song is not bad, but I had expected more out of it, but all in all, this song is worth the time.
THINK ABOUT IT
AFTER THE GLITTER FADES
This is a great song, where in one line, Stevie says that she "...Never thought I'd make it hear in Hollywood..."
EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
When I first heard this song I was blown away. This song is raw in its edgy rock sound. This is one Stevie Nicks' greatest songs.
HOW STILL MY LOVE
LEATHER AND LACE (Duet with Don Henley)
This is the only Stevie Nicks duet that I ever really liked. I mean her Tom Petty duet was okay, but this one is much better.
OUTSIDE THE RAIN
I never used to like Stevie Nicks, but when I first heard "Edge Of Seventeen", I decided to buy this album and give her try and I was glad that I did. There a few songs on here that I do not really care for, but it made me realize that Stevie Nicks is a Diva of Rock....more info
- Great Job Stevie!!!
I have just started listening to Stevie and FM about a year ago and when I heard Bella Donna I was amazed!
Bella Donna- A classic! The vocals are beautiful!
Kind Of Woman- This is my third favirote song on the album. Its very energetic!
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around- Awesome! She does a duet with Tom Petty and The Heartbrakers in this one!
Think About It- This version is very different from the version on the Rumours re-issue but other than that it's wonderful!
After The Glitter Fades- This one is a little bit on the country side but I truly think this song is wonderful also.
Edge of Seventeen- Oh My Gosh! If ANYONE hasn't listened to this song yet they MUST be CRAZY! This is my second most favirote song that Stevie has ever written!
How Still My Love- I don't know exactly how to describe this song but it is VERY cool!
Leather and Lace- This song she sings with Don Henley which I never exactly new who he was but, this song is a slow song,but it is a very heartwarming song.
Outside The Rain- This one is also one of those songs you just have to love!
The Highwayman- I think this song is nice because I love the lyrics. Especially the line where she says" A dream begun in wine." Though I don't know how a dream can begin in wine, I just get chills when I hear that line.
So If you want to buy this cd BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...more info
- Stevie Makes Her Mark...
with this inaugural solo work. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 is for sound quality. Her earlier albums are in desperate need of remastering/reissue. Stevie established herself as a musical enchantress with this album and she's never looked back. Her sound is her own, never to be successfully copied....more info
- Work of Art
Bella Donna is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever listened to. This album is start to finish great starting with the title track. This song sets the mood for what is mostly to come, and is just a stunning track. Then you go to "Kind of Woman" which is another wonderful track. After which is Tom Petty's "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" which is a great song, but does stand out as a bit different from the rest, as does the mega hit "Edge of Seventeen". "Outside the Rain", "After the Glitter Fades", "Think About It", and "Bella Donna" have to be the most outstanding tracks in my mind. The only track I dont care for is "How Still My Love" which is purely my oppinion, but it is a definite must have for any Nicks fan....more info
- Stunningly Beautiful Debut
Stevie Nicks began her mystical legacy with this gem, the stellar Bella Donna. I instantly fell in love with it on my first listen. If you're a fan of her works in Fleetwood Mac, you should get this album. This is her solo work that sounds most like her Fleetwood Mac efforts.
I'll start off with the songs. Each one is special in its own way. Now let me tell you, I don't particulary like the duets, Stop Draggin' My Heart Around and Leather and Lace, but they're still great songs. I found the best songs on the album to be Bella Donna, Edge of Seventeen, and Kind of Woman. Bella Donna is beautiful, with words such as "and we fight..for the northern star". It is my favorite on the album, but Kind of Woman is haunting as well. She's biting the words in that song, especially on "oh but the sun goes down..every night". Edge of Seventeen was the true rocker hit of the album, but it's a little hard to understand. I believe, lyrically speaking, that Outside the Rain is the best song on this album. Take this line for instance, "love is a word that some entertain...if you find it, you have one the game".
Musically speaking, it might be Stevie's best. All of the tracks except Stop Draggin' My Heart Around are written by Stevie both musically and lyrically. From the first chords of the catchy Think About It, to the dark tune of How Still My Love, Stevie covers it all. In this album she proved herself to be an amazing musician.
This is not my favorite Stevie album, but for many people, it is. One thing I do not like about this that a lot of the lyrics are very cryptic and mysterious. You can't really figure them out. Edge of Seventeen comes to mind, and if you didn't know what that song was about, you wouldn't have a clue. Another thing I don't like about this album is that it's definitely her darkest. When I listen to it, there's a very dark and moody feeling about it. The one pick me up song is Think About It, with an upbeat melody.
Other than those points that I made, this album is flawless. Excellent work by the Welsh witch herself, Stevie Nicks. If you're in the mood for a dark and mysterious side to her, or if you want to hear a Fleetwood Mac-esque album, buy this. Mine is never out of my stereo. "And the woman may be so awestruck..and the woman may truly care..but the woman is so tired..and so the woman..disappears"....more info
- Thank you Stevie
Bella Donna was the second CD i ever bought. I already had some vinyl records of fleetwood mac and found sevie's voice very special on these albums. The album didn't dissapointed me, no it really was a big surprise. It was not fleetwood mac but it was stevie nicks. Some great songs appear on this album and even the duet with tom petty is nice and i'm not a petty fan, no not at all. I now own four stevie nicks albums and yes you have to listen to this, please... do yourself a favor....more info
- pure magick.
nobody doubted that stevie nicks could rock as part of fleetwood mac, but plenty of naysayers would have loved to have seen her take a tumble on this, her debut solo album. fortunately for the rest of us, nicks disappointed critics by crafting one of the most memorable albums of the decade. canon for the student of contemporary music, _bella donna_ finds nicks weaving a spell from intoxicating melodies, enchanting lyrics and her very own rock-n-roll soul. aside from establishing her as a solo artist, _bella donna_ pave the way for other female rockers from ann and nancy wilson (of heart) to joan jett to strut their stuff independently of men....more info
- An excellent solo effort by the wonderful Stevie Nicks
The first is the best, and it is true with this effort by Fleetwood Mac's, Stevie Nicks. This album was an effort by Nicks to branch out and try songs that she wrote for herself, and she is most successful in the effort.
From the gritty "Edge of Seventeen" to my personal favorite "Leather and Lace" which shows the pure feminine side of this beautiful singer, all the songs on here show a different side of this complex, magical woman. Stevie Nicks has a unique voice, her songs are unique, and this CD is unique and a must have for all fans of Stevie Nicks, and also those who are fans of Fleetwood Mac. Highly recommended!...more info
- Excellent Solo Debut
Stevie Nicks capitalizes on her excellent talent for great song lyrics by presenting us this fabulous album Bella Donna. There are 10 gorgeous gems on this album. Outside The Rain is just a wonderful track, that I still haven't gotten tired of yet. Bella Donna is a great opener to the album. Stop Draggin My Heart Around mixes Tom Petty with Stevie very well, along with Leather and Lace. The standout track on this album is Edge of Seventeen. I love how this track is performed live, but the album track is still worth listening to....more info
- Hooked from the first listen!
I was always a big fan of fleetwood mac but I only really got into stevie's solo stuff after hearing this album....definately her best...Edge of Seventeen and the title track are amazing! but then again so is the whole album....get it....get it NOW!!...more info
- The Madonna Bella Donna=Stevie Nicks
She, Stevie Nicks was becoming a legend in her own time and she did not need L. Buckingham to help her sing or succeed. On the edge of seventeen is a powerful song and stirs your senses as Stevie begins her journey through the dangerous world of drugs, money, glamor, and heartaches the songs speak about after the glitter, meaning after all the glory and fame she's just one beautiful woman with a lot of talent and who wouldn't want to have a love affair with Stevie Nicks? She is a deep loving soul. We are soul sisters of the moon. Lots of Love Stevie! Deb.B....more info
- Where it all began
When Stevie Nicks set out to record Bella Donna, she was one of the biggest stars, but she was also considered among the flakiest. Paul Fishkin set out to repackage Nicks as a rocker, still poetic, still somewhat mystical, but a rocker nonetheless. Jimmy Iovine, tapped to produce the album, had to instill some discipline into a woman who would go off and do her own thing when she didn't have any vocals to add to a Fleetwood Mac cut.
Some of the songs on this album don't fit that description; in fact, a couple of the big hits (Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; Leather and Lace, with Don Henley; plus After the Glitter Fades, which hit #32 in the pop charts and #70 in the country charts) were country-flavored. But the first "real" solo hit, Edge of Seventeen, was inarguably a straight up rocker.
Their efforts at repackaging Nicks were a huge success. Bella Donna rocketed to number 1 and the album spawned four top 40 hits. It also includes some gems that today's hit-oriented radio seemingly forgot about: How Still My Love is one of her best songs on the album; the title cut is an epic journey through the depths of Nicksian imagery; and Kind of Woman is another underrated classic.
If you've bought Trouble in Shangri-la and you want a non-greatest hits album that showcases Stevie Nicks in her heyday, this may be the best album you could buy....more info
- Bella Donna
Good product, good service. Well pleased. I have ordered several times from Amazon allways with good results....more info
- The Finest Solo Effort from Rock's Eternal Gypsy
"Bella Donna" is my favorite album of all time by any artist.
I have been a huge Stevie Nicks fan since age 11, and this was the album that began my love affair with her music and enchanting, mystical image. The song that struck a chord most
strongly with me was "Edge of Seventeen", Stevie's best and most
driving rocker in her career. Although I detest country music,
I loved (and still do) the three country-tinged songs on the album, the first being "After the Glitter Fades", Stevie's
disillusioned ode to the downfalls of mixing love (more like
one-night stands) with stardom. "Leather & Lace", the duet with
Eagle (and ex-boyfriend) Don Henley, is beautifully arranged and
is sung with an aching poignancy. "The Highwayman" is a poem set to music, it seems to me. The first time I heard it, I got
tears in my eyes...there is such a note of regret and longing throughout. "Outside the Rain" is another incredible Stevie rocker, one that she has opened her concerts with for the last
twenty years. I love the line "Love is a word that some entertain...and if you find it, you have won the game." The
front and back covers to this album always enchanted me...Stevie's trademark chiffon-gypsy garb, the cockatoo, the
tambourine...it appealed to me as a little girl...and it still does. This is the one album I could NEVER live without....more info