September 22, 2015

OK, shall we talk about whatever contemporary female vocalists you think can sing? Look, I like Katy Perry as much as anyone. BeyoncĂ©? Taylor Swift? Well, let’s just put anything they’ve done (as good as they might be) up against these songs from Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks in the decade between 1976 and 1987. And it’s not just her vocals, her songwriting abilities and the intensity underlying both are pretty incredible to behold thirty years later (has it been that long)?

An unreleased version of “Silver Springs” from 1976.

Time cast a spell on you…but you won’t forget me
(I was such a fool)
I know I could’ve loved you, but you would not let me
(Give me one more chance)
I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you
(Haunt you)
You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you

A very intense song that brings back equally intense memories.

“Dreams”, from Rumours, 1976:

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself, it’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and,
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness,
Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering, what you had,
And what you lost and what you had and what you lost

It’s been played so much on radio that it becomes almost ubiquitous to the ears, but taken on its own it’s still a great song.

“Angel”, from Tusk in 1979.

So I close my eyes softly
‘Til I become that part of the wind
That we all long for sometime, yeah
And to those that I love
Like a ghost through a fog
Like a charmed hour
And a haunted song
And the angel of my dreams

One of Nicks’ truly unheralded tunes. Lindsay Buckingham’s grunge guitar in the back rocks.

“Sara”, from Tusk in 1979.

Hold on, the night is coming
And the starling flew for days and days
I’d stay home at night all the time
Well, I’d go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere
Ask me and I will be there
You just ask me and I’ll be there

Drowning in the sea of love
Where everyone would love to drown
And now it’s gone
They say it doesn’t matter what for
When you build your house, call me

Don’t know what it all means but it’s a damned fine tune.

“Storms”, from Tusk in 1979. A song so intense in the memories that it brings back from that time that even three decades later I find it difficult to listen to.

Every night that goes between
I feel a little less
As you slowly go away from me
This is only another test

Every night you do not come
Your softness fades away
Did I ever really care that much?
Is there anything left to say?

Every hour of fear I spend
My body tries to cry
Living through each empty night
A deadly calm inside

So I try to say goodbye, my friend
I’d like to leave you with something warm
But never have I been a blue calm sea
I have always been a storm

“Beautiful Child”, from Tusk in 1979.

I’m not a child anymore
I’m tall enough
To reach the stars
I’m old enough
To love you from afar
Too trusting yes?
But then women usually are
I’m not a child anymore
No, I’m not a child, oh no
Tall enough to reach for the stars
I will do
As I’m told
Even if I never hold you again
I never hold you again

This is so very “Tusk”. Sparse. Intensely personal. One of the reasons I love the album so.

“Gypsy”, from Mirage in 1981. (OK, so I violated the rules of the post, still…)

To the gypsy that remains
Faces freedom with a little fear
I have no fear, I have only love
And if I was a child
And the child was enough
Enough for me to love
Enough to love

She is dancing away from me now
She was just a wish
She was just a wish
And a memory is all that is left for you now
You see your gypsy
You see your gypsy

Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice

Compared with her songs from Tusk, this is as light and breezy as a midsummer day. Lindsay Buckingham’s guitar work at the end sparkles and shimmers light sunlight on water.

And, finally, how about “Seven Wonders”, from Tango In The Night in 1987?

So it’s hard to find
Someone with that kind of intensity
You touched my hand I played it cool
And you reached out your hand for me
But if our paths never cross
Well you know I’m sorry but
If I live to see the seven wonders
I’ll make a path to the rainbow’s end
I’ll never live to match the beauty again
The rainbow’s end

Although I must admit, as much as the melody and lyrics are cool, John McVie’s bass line makes me drool with envy.

Pretty damned good stuff, dontcha think?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments Off on Can We Talk About How Great a Vocalist and Songwriter Stevie Nicks Was During Fleetwood Mac’s Heyday?
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