If you’re Stevie Nicks, pretty much anything you write is gold— even if it’s something as ordinary as a diary entry. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of her solo debut, Bella Donna, the Fleetwood Mac singer took to Instagram today to honor the occasion, sharing an excerpt from her journal that details the origins of the album.
Throughout the journal entry, Nicks explains her choice to work with background singers Lori Perry-Nicks and Sharon Celani, and how the album fits into Fleetwood Mac’s storied legacy. She also details a dramatic love story involving Nicks’ then-boyfriend’s mother, who inspired the title track to Bella Donna. As are most things Nicks attaches her name to, it’s pretty poignant. Read the full post below.
Bella Donna was a dream. I chose Lori Perry-Nicks and Sharon Celani as my army to go on that journey with me. I wanted us to sound like the girl version of Crosby Stills and Nash. I did not want the record to sound anything like Fleetwood Mac – that would have defeated the dream.
The song was written about my boyfriend’s mother who was involved with a man in Chile during the coup that happened there in 1973. The man she loved was banished to France. Bashined – or imprisoned, that was the choice. The love story never really ended – but she never saw him again. I was so touched by this story of lost love that I wrote Bella Donna – the moment the poem and then the song was finished I knew I had the basis for my first solo record. I believed in it deeply from the bottom of my heart. The girls and I instantly began our work. I never doubted for a moment that this song would be the title of the record and that it would change my life in so many ways – on so many levels.
It was ours – it defined how I would feel about love forever. It broke my heart and gave me the strength to fight for it – It was a fine line to walk between love and hate and passion – and the girls and I loved it. We never looked back. It came in at number three – and went to number one. The world smiled – I cried. I could not have been more proud of those songs – or the three months it took me, the girls – and Jimmy Iovine to craft it. It did not break up Fleetwood Mac. If anything, it kept us together.
And then – as all never ending dreams always do – it opened the doors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – took my hand, and invited me in for my own work – for the women of the world. The thing I am most proud of. And all because of a tragic love affair that caused an important and relevant song – to be turned into a story that the world seemed to love – Bella Donna –
Come in – out of the darkness….
Thank you Maria Teresa Rojas, for being my inspiration.
Aside from Bella Donna’s anniversary, Nicks has a packed schedule for the rest of the year: she’ll be performing festival sets at Napa Valley’s BottleRock, Austin City Limits, Atlanta’s Shaky Knees, and New Orleans Jazz Fest. Celebrate Bella Donna by revisiting our staff list of her eight best duets here.