Deep Dive: Stevie Nicks, THE WILD HEART

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Stevie Nicks had already firmly established herself as a solo artist to be reckoned with when she released her second solo album, The Wild Heart, on June 10, 1983. Led by first single, "Stand Back," the album featured a slew of Nicks' famous friends across its ten tracks. Let's look back at this poignant moment in Stevie Nicks history with seven fun facts.

1. The album was inspired by the death of Stevie Nicks' best friend, Robin Anderson
Nicks was on tour when her longtime friend passed away just two days after giving birth to a son in October 1982. In the aftermath, Nicks married Anderson's widow with the thought of raising the child as her own. The marriage lasted three months.

2. Nicks was inspired to write "Stand Back" by Prince's "Little Red Corvette"
Nicks and her then-husband, Kim Anderson, were driving to their honeymoon in Santa Barbara when she heard "Little Red Corvette" on the radio.

3. Nicks called Prince to tell him she had "ripped off his song"
"I asked him if he would come over to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles. Never in a million years expecting that he would say yes or that he was even in Los Angeles, and he was there in like 20 minutes," Nicks said in 2016 (via Billboard). "I didn't have to call and tell him that I kind of ripped off his song, but I did because I'm honest. So it turned into a really amazing relationship. She elaborated on the story to Timothy White for his book, Rock Lives. "I asked if he hated the song. He said, 'No,' and walked over to the synthesizers that were set up, was absolutely brilliant for about 25 minutes, and then left. He was so uncanny, so wild, he spoiled me for every band I've ever had, because nobody can exactly re-create -- not even with two piano players -- what Prince did all by his little self."

4. The Wild Heart peaked at #5 on the Billboard charts
While her debut solo album, Bella Donna, peaked at #1, The Wild Heart peaked at #5 for the week of July 23, 1983. The #1 album in America that week: The Police's Synchronicity. It spent a full year on the Billboard 200, from June 1983 to June 1984.

5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were her backing band on "I Will Run to You"
Not only did Petty co-write the track, he brought along his entire band to record it with her. While never released as a single in America, it reached #35 on the on Billboard's Top Tracks chart.

6. Mick Fleetwood played drums on "Sable on Blonde"
"I wrote this when I came off the Bella Donna tour, one of the most exhilarating and beautiful experiences I've ever had," Nicks said. "And I moved into my new dream house, but it was more of a nightmare because it was cold and empty. I only had my piano. There were no phones, and I was alone, freezing, with nothing. It was like going from heaven straight to hell without stopping off for a burger on the way. I was devastated. I moved into my closet with my quilt and pillows and my writing stuff. My clothes were hanging in my face, and I took my little stereo in there, and that's where I lived. But the song really is about learning to live with Stevie; learn to be a stranger, learn to live in silence, learn not to call on everybody else to get you out of everything or make everybody else pay for what you're going through because you've chosen this life. Like Arthur learned from Excalibur, you do not ever call on your most precious magic unless you are literally out of other choices."

7. "Nightbird" was written as something of a sequel to "Edge of Seventeen"
"This song does extend from 'Edge of Seventeen,' Nicks said in The Wild Heart press kit. "It's about the difficulties of female rock 'n' roll singers; it's about my friend Robin, it's about death, it's a spirit calling. Wearing boots all summer long is like, always being ready for a flood or avalanche to happen, for the worst to happen. Because when you really look at life, all the money, material things and dreams we all search after could not save one small girl." The song peaked at #33 on the Hot 100.