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Stevie Nicks' celebrates 40 years of Bella Donna: "It didn't break up Fleetwood Mac – if anything, it kept us together"

Stevie Nicks performing at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California on her first solo tour on December 3. 1981
(Image credit: Clayton Call/Redferns)

In honour of Bella Donna's 40th anniversary on July 27, Stevie Nicks shared an excerpt from her journal on social media, containing insights into what the debut solo album meant to her as an artist.

Describing the album as a "dream", Nicks cites that creating Bella Donna "defined how I would feel about love forever". She also acknowledges her previous anxiety over whether her first solo venture would come between her work with Fleetwood Mac, and states "It did not break up Fleetwood Mac. If anything, it kept us together".

Crediting her backing vocalists Lori Perry-Nicks and Sharon Celani as the "army" behind her first journey as a solo artist, she reveals that she wanted their collective voices to sound like the "girl version" of Crosby, Stills & Nash, and not anything like Fleetwood Mac.

Revealing the backstory behind Bella Donna, she writes that the album was inspired by her "boyfriend’s mother who was involved with a man in Chile during the coup that happened there in 1973.

"The man she loved was banished to France. Banished or imprisoned, that was the choice. The love story never really ended — but she never saw him again.

“I was so touched by this story of lost love that I wrote Bella Donna — the moment the poem and then the song was finished, I knew I had the basis for my first solo record.”

Nicks then comments on how the release of Bella Donna impacted her life, stating that "it would change my life in so many ways – on so many levels".

She continues: “It did not break up Fleetwood Mac. If anything, it kept us together. And then – as all never-ending dreams always do – it opened the doors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, took my hand, and invited me in for my own work, for the women of the world. The thing I am most proud of. Thank you, Maria Teresa Rojas, for being my inspiration.”

Released in July of 1981, Bella Donna was awarded platinum just three months later, and topped the US Billboard 200 charts that same year. In 1990 it was certified quadruple-platinum for four million copies shipped. Nicks would go on to release another seven solo albums, her latest being her 2014 LP 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault.

Read the full journal entry below:

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Liz Scarlett
Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.