Classic Hits & Oldies

Ooh, baby, ooh! Stevie Nicks’ ‘Bella Donna’ turns 40

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Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks‘ first solo album, was released July 27, 1981, and was an immediate success. To mark the 40th anniversary of the start of Stevie’s solo career, here are Five Fascinating Facts about Bella Donna.

5. Stevie began working on Bella Donna in between sessions for Fleetwood Mac‘s 1979 album, Tusk. She started recording it in 1980, after the Tusk tour ended.

4. The only song on the album Stevie didn’t write was “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which was penned by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers frontman Tom Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell. Producer Jimmy Iovine, who worked with both acts, had the idea of having Stevie record it as a duet with Petty. The song’s video was the 25th video ever shown on MTV.

3. Nicks wrote Bella Donna‘s other duet, “Leather & Lace,” for an album by country star Waylon Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter. When it didn’t make that album, Stevie recorded it with her ex-boyfriend, The Eagles Don Henley.

2. Bella Donna includes Stevie’s signature song, “Edge of Seventeen,” which was inspired by Petty and his wife, as well as the deaths of both Stevie’s uncle and John Lennon. It was sampled by Destiny’s Child for their number-one hit “Bootylicious,” and interpolated by Miley Cyrus on her 2020 single “Midnight Sky.” Stevie appeared in the “Bootylicious” video, and allowed Miley to do an “Edge of Midnight” remix with a sample of her original song.

1. Bella Donna hit number one on the Billboard chart, spun off four top-40 singles, and has been certified for sales of 4 million copies. Its huge success has allowed Stevie to run a solo career parallel to her work with Fleetwood Mac for decades. Having previously been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac in 1998, Stevie went in again in 2019 as a solo artist, making her the first woman ever to be inducted twice.

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