Sometimes great records just appear out of nowhere. A friend at work told me she had some old records that were from a family member and she wanted to know if I wanted them. I really didn’t expect much. Back in the day, a lot of people just didn’t know how to take care of records. If they get scratched up, they’re just not worth listening to; to me anyway. As expected, most of the records in the collection were scratched up, or they were old Mills Brothers albums that I just wasn’t interested in, but there were a few exceptions. Bella Donna, the exceptional debut album by Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks was one of them. I can now cross that one off of the list I carry with me, just in case I happen to wander into a used record store.
Bella Donna ranks right up there in the short list of the best debut albums of all time, it’s also one of the best albums ever. I’m surprised I let this record slip out of my record collection back in the late ’80s. Then again, the songs on it were all over the radio back then; many still are today.
Stevie Nicks has one of the most immediately recognizable voices on modern music. It’s that voice combined with Stevie Nicks’ exceptional songwriting (she wrote all but one song) that made Bella Donna an immediate success. It immediately grabbed the top chart position when it came out, selling over a million copies within three months of being released and stayed on the charts for an amazing three years. It went on to sell over six million copies. Bella Donna also yielded four hit singles, including a duet with Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, and another with Don Henley (from the Eagles), “Leather and Lace”.