Let’s get one thing straight: Stevie Nicks is, of course, already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac, since that band was inducted in 1998. However, Nicks has also carved out an impressive parallel solo career that certainly justifies her first-ever Rock Hall nomination as an individual.
In fact, the Arizona native is inarguably the most successful member of Fleetwood Mac outside of the band, a status cemented from her very first solo endeavors. In the late ’70s, a trio of singles on which she sang hit the Top 10: Kenny Loggins’ “Whenever I Call You ‘Friend,'” John Stewart’s “Gold” and Walter Egan’s “Magnet and Steel.”
That set the stage for her blockbuster debut album, 1981’s Bella Donna, which topped the Billboard album charts and spawned the indelible hits “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), “Leather & Lace” (a Don Henley duet) and “Edge of Seventeen.” Two years later, The Wild Heart delivered two more hits: the empowerment anthem “Stand Back” and “If Anyone Falls.” Oh, and in between these smashes, Nicks also landed a major hit from Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album, Mirage: the meditative, melancholy twirl “Gypsy.”
In the decades since, Nicks has continued to follow her muse in a variety of directions: songwriting, touring, acting and mentoring. What’s become clear over the years is that her solo career has evolved into something completely different than her work with Fleetwood Mac.
Here are 5 reasons Stevie Nicks deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
She has a vast, varied solo catalog.
Nicks has penned some of Fleetwood Mac’s best-known (and most beloved) songs, including “Dreams,” “Rhiannon” and “Gold Dust Woman.” However, her solo efforts absolutely feel separate from her work with Fleetwood Mac. Bella Donna nods to looser country, blues and rock—courtesy of members of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, E Street Band member Roy Bittan, and session whizzes Waddy Wachtel and Donald “Duck” Dunn—while The Wild Heart features similar instrumentalists but has more prominent synth work. In the mid-’80s, she continued to dabble in high-energy synth-rock—highlighted by “I Can’t Wait” and the sparkling power ballad “Talk To Me”—while her later albums hew toward witchy rock ‘n’ roll, romantic folk-pop, and lush adult contemporary.
Nicks is a versatile (and successful) collaborator.
Although Nicks cut her teeth in the pop and classic rock world, she has evolved into a go-to collaborator for any and all genres, which is a testament to her vocal versatility. Electronic duo Deep Dish recruited her for a synthed-up cover of “Dreams,” while in recent years, the vocalist has added her voice to songs by pop star Lana Del Rey, rock ‘n’ roll jack-of-all-trades Dave Grohl, pop-rock icon Sheryl Crow, and country act Lady Antebellum. Nicks was also part of two No. 1 hits: In 1985, she provided backup vocals on the Phil Collins-Marilyn Martin duet “Separate Lives,” while a sample of the guitar from “Edge of Seventeen” propelled Destiny’s Child’s 2001 chart-topper “Bootylicious.” And she also had the star power: After telling Prince that “Little Red Corvette” inspired her to write “Stand Back,” he showed up at the studio to lay down some keyboards on the track.
Her enduring cultural influence and popularity.
Prior to embarking on Fleetwood Mac’s 50th anniversary tour, Nicks went on a lengthy solo arena tour, 24 Karat Gold Tour, with the Pretenders that drew packed crowds across the U.S. and Australia—making her one of the few (if only) women rock acts to be able to draw such huge crowds as a headlining act. In fact, she sold out Madison Square Garden and the Forum in L.A. The 24 Karat Gold Tour featured songs and storytelling, and underscored how funny and personable Nicks is, about her decorated musical career and recording experiences.
However, Nicks’ cultural influence also looms large. Her recent musical and guest appearances on American Horror Story—she ended up making a cameo on the Coven and Apocalypse seasons—introduced her to an entirely new generation of fans. Naturally, AHS creator Ryan Murphy first rang her about using her music.
“He said, ‘This season is called Coven, and there’s one of the witches who lives in the swamp and she has no family, no friends, no nothing, but she has an eight-track and a couple of your albums, and you’re like her only friend. We would like to know if we can use your music for this,'” she told Us Weekly in 2014. “And I said, ‘That’s perfect! Because that’s exactly how I like to affect people. I want people to put my songs on because they are unhappy and need a boost to dance around their apartment a little and feel good. That’s why I write. Of course you can use my music. Take it!'”
Nicks also wholeheartedly embraces her status as an LGBTQ icon. And, for the last three decades, there’s been an annual, gigantic fan event/dance party in New York City called Night of 1000 Stevies that features drag, burlesque, performance art, vocal tributes, and impersonators. In 2019, the event is expanding to New Orleans for the first time. The event is even Nicks-sanctioned: In 2011, she sent a welcome video that underscored how much she appreciated the tribute.
Nicks has not only influenced diverse artists—she’s generous with praise.
Nicks has inspired, mentored and/or befriended a diverse array of artists over the years, including rockers (Courtney Love, Sheryl Crow), pop artists (Vanessa Carlton, Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey), country acts (Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift), R&B stars (Destiny’s Child) and indie-pop acts (Best Coast). It’s a reflection of Nicks’ diverse songwriting skills that her work transcends genres. However, it’s also a testament to her giving personality that she’s willing to share her knowledge with younger artists—and more than that, is quick to compliment their work. Nicks is supportive of the sisterhood, which can be an all-too-rare thing.
Her sartorial aesthetic.
Go to any Fleetwood Mac or Nicks solo show, and fans will be rocking their best Stevie Nicks cosplay—all-black outfits, of course, augmented by draped shawls and capes, delicate hair accessories, and perhaps a jaunty hat, bits of lace or other shimmery fabric. It’s Victorian, gothic-romantic, glam-comfort—and it’s a style all her own.