Stevie Nicks' 10 greatest solo songs, ranked

12 June 2024, 14:36

Grab your silk scarves and rekindle some boho spirit as we rank the ten greatest solo songs of music's original witchy woman: Stevie Nicks.
Grab your silk scarves and rekindle some boho spirit as we rank the ten greatest solo songs of music's original witchy woman: Stevie Nicks. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Edward

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She's the original witchy woman of rock music.

Stevie Nicks was adored the world over for her confessional contributions to Fleetwood Mac's success in the mid-to-late seventies.

Songs like 'Dreams', 'Landslide', 'Rhiannon', 'Gold Dust Woman', 'Seven Wonders', and 'Gypsy' will rightly go down in history as some of soft rock's most entrancing moments.

Away from the relationship drama and drug-addled feuds of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks proved herself to be a mercurial talent, achieving major success as a solo star.

Throughout the eighties and beyond, Stevie went on to sell millions of records in her own right as her band went through various phases of tolerating one another.

But plenty of fans love Stevie - there's ample reason why she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and why she's earned fans from pop music's new generation in the likes of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

So, grab your silk scarves and rekindle some boho spirit as we rank Stevie Nick's ten greatest solo songs:

  1. 'I Can't Wait'

    Stevie Nicks - I Can't Wait (Official Video) [HD Remaster]

    Stevie's carefree attitude to life and loving was infectious, which was the driving force behind writing 'I Can't Wait'.

    "To understand this song, you sort of have to let yourself go a little crazy," Nicks later recalled about her 1985 hit. "Love is blind, it never works out, but you just have to have it. I think this was about the most exciting song that I had ever heard."

    Featuring on her album, Rock A Little, Nicks left little regrets on her rockier album which spawned this top 20 US hit.

    Though she couldn't say the same about her level of substance intake during the music video shoot: "It just makes me want to go back into that video and stab myself," she joked in the book I Want My MTV.

  2. 'Leather and Lace' with Don Henley

    Stevie Nicks & Don Henley - Leather And Lace (Official Audio)

    'Leather and Lace' was an early solo hit for both Stevie and the Eagles' Don Henley, which propelled both of their fledgling careers outside of their respective mega-bands.

    Written by Nicks about her former lover in Henley, she managed to stay friends with him and even convince him to duet with her on the song from her debut 1981 solo album, Bella Donna.

    "Don and I had been going out for quite a while, and, bless his heart, he did sing it with me, and again, as fate would have it, it became one of the most special love songs that I would ever write... and remains that, even today, after all these years," Stevie later reflected. "All in all, it was an unforgettable experience, as was he."

    The song left a lasting impression on the public too, reaching number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts.

  3. 'Talk To Me'

    Stevie Nicks - Talk To Me (Official Music Video) [HD Remaster]

    Though Stevie wasn't a fan of 'Talk To Me' at first, she managed to transform the song into a number four hit on the US Billboard charts.

    Written by songwriter Chas Sandford, Stevie's producer Jimmy Iovine was "always on the hunt for a hit song" and encouraged her to take on 'Talk To Me', though she struggled to hit the right notes in the studio.

    "This was a hard song to sing, but I had loved 'Missing You' (co-written by Chas with John Waite), and I loved the words to 'Talk To Me'. It took a long time to finish it."

    And finish it she did, with the throaty power ballad becoming one of her highest-charting hits that decade.

  4. 'Sorcerer' with Sheryl Crow

    Stevie Nicks - Sorcerer (with Sheryl Crow) (Official Music Video)

    'Sorcerer' had previously existed for the best part of thirty years before Stevie Nicks finally recorded the song in 2001 for her album, Trouble In Shangri-La.

    Penned whilst she was still in a songwriting duo with her then-partner Lindsey Buckingham, it was rejected firstly for Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, and then again for Nicks' 1983 album Wild Heart.

    Stevie then handed it to Marilyn Martin for the Streets Of Fire soundtrack (singing backing vocals on the recording), waiting a further seventeen years to record it herself.

    Teaming up with Sheryl Crow - a self-confessed Stevie fangirl - for a bit of stomping country heft, 'Sorcerer' would become one of Nicks' finest songwriting achievements.

  5. 'Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?'

    Stevie Nicks - Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You

    Stricken by the story the Eagles' guitarist Joe Walsh told her (who she was then dating) about the death of his three-year-old daughter and the song he wrote to her, Stevie felt compelled to write a song for him and his grief.

    The result was 'Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You?', an Earth-moving piano ballad that Stevie continues to perform as her encore with every concert.

    After a long drive with Walsh who explained his daughter's story, Stevie went home and wrote the song almost instantly.

    "So he wrote a song for her, and I wrote a song for him," she later recalled. "'This is your song', I said to the people, but it was Joe's song. Thank you, Joe, for the most committed song I ever wrote. But more than that, thank you for inspiring me in so many ways. Nothing in my life ever seems as dark anymore, since we took that drive."

  6. 'Wild Heart'

    Wild Heart

    Stevie's 1983 album The Wild Heart was inspired by her late friend, Robin Anderson, who died of leukaemia and encouraged Nicks' to live life to her fullest.

    She first wrote the song back when her first album, Bella Donna, came out, in the midst of Anderson's illness, saying at the time "Everybody’s heart is wild, so it’s not like I’ve got any kind of hold on it."

    The studio recording showcases Stevie's one-of-a-kind vocal talent, though it was an impromptu early performance of 'Wild Heart' that cemented its place in the hearts of her fans.

    Capturing Nicks casually, yet immaculately, singing the song backstage during a photoshoot in 1981, it later went viral, enamouring the bewitching singer to new generations.

  7. 'Rooms On Fire'

    Stevie Nicks - Rooms On Fire (Official Music Video) [HD Remaster]

    With 'Rooms On Fire' Stevie Nicks scored her highest-charting single in the UK, reaching number sixteen, whilst the album it came from The Other Side Of The Mirror was also certified Gold.

    The mysterious, gothic soft rock ballad was inspired by the song's producer Rupert Hine, who Nicks fantasises about meeting at a party and establishing a magical connection with, despite being a defiantly single and unmarried singer in real life.

    Saying that Hines lit up any room he walked into, the pair also had a brief relationship.

    "The night I met Rupert Hine was a dangerous one. He was different from anyone else I had ever known. He was older, and he was smarter, and we both knew it," she remembered about their dalliance.

  8. 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around' (with Tom Petty)

    Stevie Nicks - Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (Official Video) [HD Remaster]

    Stevie pleaded with Tom Petty to write a song for her, and he pulled through with the track they'd eventually duet on in 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around'.

    Appearing on her 1981 debut, Bella Donna, Nicks initially chose Petty to produce her first solo creative venture outside of Fleetwood Mac, though it didn't work out.

    Nevertheless, they came together for this song which her career hinged on - according to Jimmy Iovine who produced her album - releasing 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around' as the first single.

    It certainly paved the way for Stevie to become a chart phenomenon in her own right, peaking at number three on the US charts, and aligning with the MTV boom at the same time.

  9. 'Stand Back'

    Stevie Nicks - Stand Back (Official Music Video) [HD Remaster]

    Inspired by Prince's 'Little Red Corvette' - hearing it on the day she got married - Stevie was dumbfounded when the man himself contributed the driving synth lines for 'Stand Back', a song she insists "belongs" to the late icon.

    Though his musical contribution was uncredited, the memory sticks with Stevie, who later revealed: "Prince did come into the studio the night I called him and told him about the song, and he played incredible synthesiser on it. And then he just walked out of my life, and I didn't see him for a long time. It was extraordinary."

    'Stand Back' has since evolved into one of Stevie's most beloved songs, featuring frequently on her setlists having reached number five in the US charts in 1983.

    Upon Prince's death, Stevie was devastated they never got to perform live together.

    "That should have happened. So whenever I play 'Stand Back' from this day forward, Prince will be standing next to me. That is always going to be a joy."

  10. 'Edge Of Seventeen'

    Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen (Official Music Video)

    You can't look past 'Edge Of Seventeen' as the greatest Stevie Nicks song that she created as a solo artist.

    The iconic muted guitar riff was given a new lease of life after Destiny's Child sampled it for their 2001 song 'Bootylicious', which Stevie herself loved so much she appeared in the music video.

    According to Stevie herself, the song is a tribute to her uncle and John Lennon who both died within weeks of one another.

    Though she didn't know Lennon personally, she recalled being in the hospital with her uncle when he died, thinking: "Where's my mom? Where's his wife and the rest of the family? At that point, I went back to the piano and finished the song."

    Many fans believe the song to be about young love, but Stevie herself insists she nabbed the title from Tom Petty's wife Jane when she told her they'd met "at the age of seventeen" in a strong Southern accent which stuck with Stevie.

    Upon its 1981 release, 'Edge Of Seventeen' wasn't Stevie's biggest hit, but it has since become her most undeniably enduring song.