March is Women's History Month and that inspired me to write about favorite female artists and their songs. I'd love to tell you I'm going to do this all month (and I certainly could without coming anywhere near exhausting the list of amazing women whose work fills my Tower of Song) but let's be real: this is the first thing I've written in 2019, the first thing I've written in six months. But I'm here and you're here so let's dive right in...
It is appalling it took until 2019 for a woman artist to become a two-time Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductee but I have to say it's brilliant the Stevie Nicks gets to be the first! She's a brilliant talent as singer, songwriter, and entertainer who influenced countless artists through her fifty-year career and in the process has become an icon who is unmistakable and completely her own. You can be inspired by her but you can't be her. No one can. She wrote the amazing role that is being Stevie Nicks and plays it to perfection. She was, is, and always will be cooler than you, me, and pretty much everyone else.
Highlighting "Edge of Seventeen" is an obvious choice but I regret nothing. It is quintessential Stevie. She is the heart, soul, and voice of this song, something she couldn't always be on her Fleetwood Mac hits or even on some of the amazing duets she did through the years in her solo work. This has to be the simplest, most repetitive riff in pop music history but it's also one of the catchiest. You can't mistake it for anything else and I question your taste and sanity if your eyes don't light up and you don't reach for the volume when you hear it coming at you on the radio or when it pops up on a playlist.
The riff is unmistakable but Nicks' voice is naturally the star of the song. Her vocal is all conviction, passion, spirit, strut, and swagger. The lyrics are great and filled with her frequently ethereal imagery but it's her performance that makes everything else work. Do you have any idea how long it took me to figure out she was singing "wild-winged dove?" I don't know how many absurd permutations of this I sang with her in our road trip duets before I finally got them right but we had a great time doing it. The song is weighty in nature and yet still demands from its listeners that we turn it up and sing along, loud! The at times very '80s production can't date this timeless classic. It sounds as brilliant today as it did in 1982.
So congratulations, Stevie Nicks! Thank you for forever being our Gypsy. I hope you give the longest acceptance speech in the history of the Rock Hall and someone makes Lindsey Buckingham watch and listen to every single word. Enjoy your moment. You earned it and it's about time the Hall did something about it. As for the rest of us? You know what to do!