Bella Donna (album)

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Bella Donna
Studio album by Stevie Nicks
Released July 27, 1981
Recorded Autumn 1980 – Spring 1981
Genre Rock
Length 41:55
Label Modern, Atco
Producer Jimmy Iovine and Tom Petty
Stevie Nicks chronology
Bella Donna
(1981)
The Wild Heart
(1983)
Singles from Bella Donna
  1. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
    Released: July 8, 1981
  2. "Leather and Lace"
    Released: October 6, 1981
  3. "Edge of Seventeen"
    Released: February 5, 1982
  4. "After the Glitter Fades"
    Released: 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[2]

Bella Donna is the debut studio album by American singer, songwriter and Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks. Released on July 27, 1981, the album reached number one on the U.S. Billboard charts in September of that year. Bella Donna was awarded Platinum status by the RIAA on October 7, 1981, less than three months after its release, and has since been certified quadruple-platinum.[3] 'Bella Donna' spent nearly three years on the Billboard 200 from July 1981 to June 1984.[4] The album has sold over 8 million copies worldwide, more than 5 million copies in the US alone with approximately a million copies since 1991 in the US according to Nielsen Soundscan.

The album spawned four substantial hit singles during 1981 and 1982: the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-penned duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (#3), the Don Henley duet "Leather and Lace" (#6), the iconic "Edge of Seventeen" (#11), and country-tinged "After the Glitter Fades" (#32).

Bella Donna would mark the beginning of Nicks' trend of calling upon her many musician friends and connections to fully realize her sparse demo recordings. Along with friends Tom Petty and Don Henley, Nicks brought in famed session musician Waddy Wachtel, Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, and Muscle Shoals session man Donald "Duck" Dunn of Booker T. & the MGs. Though Bella Donna's personnel list includes some 20 musicians, the album is very much Nicks' own work, with all but one of the songs on the record written by her.

The album also marked the first recording featuring Nicks' backing vocalists, Sharon Celani and Lori Perry, who still record and tour with Nicks today.

History[edit]

Nicks began work on Bella Donna in 1979, in between sessions for her third album as part of Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, released in October that year. The initial recordings for the album were in demo form, with Nicks accompanying herself on piano or electric piano for songs that were initially planned for inclusion but later shelved, such as "Lady from the Mountains" (later recorded as "Moonlight" for In Your Dreams), "Castaway", "Gypsy" (later resurrected for Fleetwood Mac's Mirage in 1982), and "I Sing for the Things" (later re-recorded for 1985's solo album Rock a Little).

Further demos were recorded during Fleetwood Mac's extensive ten-month world tour of 1979–80 including a notable April 1980 session with Tom Petty that ultimately went unused; following the tour's end in September 1980, work with a full band of other musicians commenced. Among the earliest songs recorded during the autumn 1980 sessions were "Blue Lamp", "Outside the Rain", and "How Still My Love."

Numerous sessions and multiple takes ensued, including various re-recordings, well into the spring of 1981, when the final songs for the album, "Edge of Seventeen" and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", were completed. A trove of finished material for the album, with the same band of musicians, was not included on the official ten-song 42-minute album release in the summer of 1981 – "Blue Lamp", which was released instead on the Heavy Metal soundtrack later in 1981, "Gold and Braid", performed live in concert during Nicks' 1981 concert tour, and "Sleeping Angel", released on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack in 1982. These three songs feature on her Enchanted boxed set in 1998. "If You Were My Love", "The Dealer (aka Mistress of My Fate)", "Baby Doll", and "Julia" remain unreleased completed takes.

Nicks recorded several solo piano demos for the album that were not recorded with the full band personnel, such as "China Doll", "Christian (Spinning Wheels)", and "Stay Away", and other songs were attempted but not completed with the full band, such as "Belle Fleure" and "Sanctuary." Nicks attempted some of the unreleased songs for future albums but a wealth of material from the Bella Donna era remains unreleased. However, some of these demos have recently surfaced as bootlegs on peer to peer sites and primarily youtube.com.

On her Enchanted boxed set release in 1998, remastered versions of some Bella Donna tracks ran noticeably longer in some instances, notably "Leather And Lace".

Video footage of the album sessions can be found on the DVD portion of Nicks' 2007 retrospective release Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Bella Donna"   Stevie Nicks 5:21
2. "Kind of Woman"   Nicks, Benmont Tench 3:12
3. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (performed with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) Tom Petty, Mike Campbell 4:04
4. "Think About It"   Nicks, Roy Bittan 3:35
5. "After the Glitter Fades"   Nicks 3:31
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Edge of Seventeen"   Nicks 5:28
7. "How Still My Love"   Nicks 3:54
8. "Leather and Lace" (performed with Don Henley) Nicks 3:44
9. "Outside the Rain"   Nicks 4:18
10. "The Highwayman"   Nicks 4:48

Personnel[edit]

The Band[edit]

Additional Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Produced by Jimmy Iovine & Tom Petty
  • Engineered and mixed by Shelly Yakus and Don Smith
  • Assistant engineers: Dana Latham, Tori Swenson, Niko Bolas and James Ball
  • Additional engineering by Thom Panunzio
  • Mastered by Stephen Marcussen

Tour and HBO television special[edit]

Nicks underwent a short national tour in support of the album, starting on November 27, 1981 and finishing on December 13, 1981. The final night at The Wilshire Fox Theatre in Beverly Hills was recorded by HBO for a television special and later released on VHS in many territories by CBS/Fox in 1982 as White Wing Dove – Stevie Nicks in Concert. The whole show was recorded, but only 9 tracks were shown on the TV special and released to VHS. To date, the show has never been released on DVD or CD, although two tracks ("Edge of Seventeen" and "Gold And Braid") can be found on the 1998 boxset The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks. Only "Gold Dust Woman", "Gold And Braid", "I Need to Know", "Outside The Rain", "Dreams", "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", "Sara", "Edge of Seventeen" and "Rhiannon" were included on the VHS release. "Bella Donna", "Angel", "Blue Lamp", "Leather And Lace", "After The Glitter Fades" and "How Still My Love" were recorded and received audio broadcast on radio but were not televised, and as such have never been officially released.

The live performance of "Leather And Lace" was, however, used as a video promo for the single release (even though it was a solo version and did not feature Don Henley), and did surface on the 1986 VHS collection I Can't Wait, which featured six of Nicks' promo-clips between 1981 and 1985. These six promos were released on DVD as a special feature to the Australian issue of Fleetwood Mac – Mirage Tour in 2007.

Nicks' 2007 retrospective Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks included the full live 1981 clip of "Edge of Seventeen" on the DVD supplement, with optional commentary from Nicks. She admits that her tears at the end of the song were due to her thoughts of having to join Fleetwood Mac in France the following day to begin recording the Mirage album, one of the key reasons why the 1981 tour was so short.

The White Wing Dove performance remains unreleased in its entirety, although it has been circulating for many years amongst fans as a bootleg.

Tour set list[edit]

  1. "Gold Dust Woman"
  2. "Think About It"
  3. "Outside The Rain"
  4. "Dreams"
  5. "Angel"
  6. "After The Glitter Fades"
  7. "Gold And Braid"
  8. "I Need to Know"
  9. "Sara"
  10. "Bella Donna"
  11. "Blue Lamp"
  12. "Leather And Lace"
  13. "How Still My Love"
  14. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
  15. "Edge of Seventeen"
Encore
  • "Rhiannon"

Tour dates[edit]

  • November 27 – Houston, Texas, The Summit Arena
  • November 28 – Houston, Texas, The Summit Arena
  • November 29 – Dallas, Texas, Reunion Arena
  • December 3 – Oakland, California, Oakland Coliseum
  • December 5 – Tempe, Arizona, Compton Terrace (?)
  • December 6 – Los Angeles, California, Wilshire Fox Theater
  • December 7 – Los Angeles, California, Wilshire Fox Theater
  • December 8 – Los Angeles, California, Wilshire Fox Theater
  • December 12 – Los Angeles, California, Wilshire Fox Theater
  • December 13 – Los Angeles, California, Wilshire Fox Theater


Singles[edit]

Single Chart (1981) Peak
position[5]
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
Billboard Hot 100 3
Single Chart (1982) Peak
position
"Leather And Lace" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 26
Billboard Hot 100 6
"Edge of Seventeen" Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 4
Billboard Hot 100 11
"After The Glitter Fades" Hot Country Songs 70
Adult Contemporary 36
Billboard Hot 100 32

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[16] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henderson, Alex. Bella Donna at AllMusic
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "American album certifications – Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  4. ^ "Stevie Nicks - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  5. ^ Bella Donna at AllMusic
  6. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  7. ^ "RPM – Library and Archives Canada". RPM. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "charts.org.nz - Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna". charts.org.nz. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  10. ^ "Chart Stats - Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna". chartstats.com. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ Bella Donna (album) at AllMusic
  12. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1981". RPM. December 26, 1981. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. December 25, 1982. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Billboard.BIZ: Top Pop Albums of 1982". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1983". billboard.biz. December 31, 1983. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna". Music Canada. 
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
4 by Foreigner
Billboard 200 number-one album
September 5–11, 1981
Succeeded by
Escape by Journey
Preceded by
Hitwave '81 by Various artists
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
September 21–27, 1981
Succeeded by
Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones