Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 28, 1998

STEVIE NICKS STILL ENCHANTS

Former Fleetwood Mac singer enjoying star role with box-set release.

by: Anastasia Pantsios

She's known for her rock 'n' roll princess image: long dresses, draped scarves and cascades of blond hair. Stevie Nicks' image has always been easy for classic rock types to scoff at. but for over two decades, legions of young women have been bewitched by Nicks' beauty and the edgy, overheated romanticism of her songs, while recognizing the strong-willed person behind the ultra-feminine style.

Nicks and her onetime boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham, had already put out an obscure album as Buckingham-Nicks when they were asked in 1975 to join British blues band Fleetwood Mac, a group then relocated in California and steadily moving into pop-rock territory. With keyboardist Christine McVie, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie, they created music that would soon make them one of the biggest supergroups in the world, producing one of rock's all-time best-selling albums, 1977's "Rumours."

The tempestuous life and death of Fleetwood Mac has been well documented. Subsequently, Nicks has enjoyed the most successful solo career of any Fleetwood Mac member. Starting with 1981's "Bella Donna," she has put out five solo albums, plus 1991's greatest hits package"Timespace," producing a string of sultry, pulsating hits as "Stand Back," "Edge of Seventeen," "Talk To Me," and "I Can't Wait."

Today Nicks will release "Enchanted: The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks," a three disc box set summing up her career to date.

Calling recently from Los Angeles, the affable, gravel-voiced singer explained, "My contract with Atlantic was six records. I'm with Warner Reprise now. So it seemed fitting to do this now to put some nice, really sweet and kind closure on the whole thing between myself and Atlantic. It's my idea of flow."

Friends help

Nicks returned to her native Phoenix after last year's Fleetwood Mac reunion tour wrapped up on December 1, with the deadline for the box set hanging over her head. "I was like, OK, now I deserve a total vacation. And it was like, well, you don't get one; you have to sit down and decide what songs are going on this record."

Instead, Nicks decided to invite a number of her friends to go through all six of her albums and choose the songs they thought should be included in the set. "These are all people that have been in my life since 1970, so they were kind of there for all these songs, " Nicks said. "I got all the lists from everybody, we talked about it, and it became fairly clear what stood out when you put all those lists together."

Once that was done, Nicks sequenced the record, a skill in which she takes special pride.

"I call myself a master sequencer. I sequenced 'Rumours.' Nobody in the band really wants to remember that, but it's true, I did [With the box set] I decided I was not going to do it in a chronological way. I was going to do it in a way were the ends and the beginnings of the songs were somehow similar, so they flowed well."

"Enchanted" features material from each of her discs, with a handful of rarities such as a blazing, eight minute version of "Edge of Seventeen" and a home demo of "Twisted," which Nicks wrote for the movie "Twister." The disc depicts Nicks' journey from hopeful young romantic to older, wiser romantic.

Sings about self

Most of Nicks' material features star-crossed lovers, people whose longing and passion for each other is intense, but who have different needs or desires, or are in different spaces in life. In many of the songs, it's clear that she's singing about herself and the choices she has made.

"One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star," for instance, isn't another complaint about life in the fast lane; it's about the conflict between commitment and the freedom needed for creativity. In real life, it's something she has grappled with constantly and now, at 50 feels confident that she has made the right decision.

"I realized I didn't want to stop my life for marriage and children. Maybe I was sent here for something else. I do feel good about that now. I am free to write my music. I am free to get up in the middle of the night and go to a recording studio, rent eight hours of time and work. Those are the kind of things that you can't do if you are tied up in a relationship."

"Would I have wanted to be in that situation? No, and I still don't want to be in it now. I figure [in] the next 28 years of my life, hopefully I'll make big steps toward being remembered when I finally pass away as being a really great writer."

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