It might surprise some of you who saw all of the trouble I got myself into by leaving Christine McVie out of my recent Rockologist column on Fleetwood Mac, that I would venture back into that possibly hostile territory this soon. Hell, to be honest I'm a little surprised myself.
But this isn't a review about Fleetwood Mac at all. Rather, it is about the work of one of it's most visible members as a solo artist. The truth is, like her band and one-time life mate Lindsey Buckingham, I've always preferred Stevie Nicks solo work over her stuff with Fleetwood Mac anyway.
Within the confines of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks just always struck me as but one element (albeit perhaps the most visible one) within that particularly well oiled, hit making machine. Besides, as a solo artist, Stevie just always seemed to rock a bit more. As much as I can appreciate the pop craftsmanship and witchy spell cast by a song like "Rhiannon" for example, I'll take her duet with Tom Petty on "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" first every single time.
In it's deluxe CD/DVD version, Crystal Visions: The Very Best Of Stevie Nicks summarizes Nick's solo work in a marvelously put together package. Included here are all of her greatest hits, all of her videos, and loads of great extras. For starters, there is 30 minutes of never before seen video footage of the recording sessions for the Bella Donna album. There is also a booklet that includes tons of great photos, as well as liner notes by Stevie herself on each of the CD's sixteen tracks. On the DVD, Stevie also provides commentary on each of the videos included.
Speaking of those videos, watching old MTV mainstays such as "Stand Back" quickly reminds just why Stevie Nicks was once regarded as the "first lady of rock and roll."
The rarely seen "Scarlett Version" of that song is also included here in addition to the more familiar "Stevie sings with windblown hair" version seen on MTV in the eighties. The key difference here, aside from the "Gone With The Wind" storyline, is that the track features a completely different vocal take. If you listen closely, you can hear different vocal inflections, and Prince's famous backing keyboard track (the song was modeled after "Little Red Corvette") also seems just a pace faster. That along with the more commonly seen videos for songs like "If Anyone Falls In Love" show exactly why Stevie Nicks was such an MTV staple back in the eighties.