Setlist History: Stevie Nicks Kicks Off Her First Solo Tour

Stevie Nicks flew the coop in 1981 away from the hugely popular Fleetwood Mac to spread her wings with a solo album, Bella Donna, and a corresponding mini-tour.

Dubbed the White Winged Dove Tour after a line in her new tune, "Edge of Seventeen," the singer visited a dozen venues in Texas and the west coast before quickly reuniting with the Mac in France where they were recording Mirage.

Fun fact: that's a parrot, not a dove on the cover of Bella Donna.

Unlike many who go solo, The White Winged Dove Tour wasn't inspired by revenge or spite. If anything she was following the lead of drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham who each put out seperate solo albums in '81.

Buckingham had his only Top 10 solo single from his project, the tune "Trouble," and nothing on Mick's album charted.

Waddy Wachtel sang with Stevie on her tour during "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"

Stevie, however, saw two Bella Donna singles break the Top 10, and they were both duets with classic rock legends. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" with Tom Petty peaked at #3 in Sept. of '81, and "Leather And Lace" with Don Henley made it to #9 in Jan. of '82.

Many believe "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" is a Tom Petty song and in lots of ways it is. Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell wrote the music, Tom wrote the words and they recorded it with the intention of it going on their Hard Promises album where Nicks had provided vocals for the track "Insider."

Stevie ended up with the better end of the duet deal. Petty got "Insider" and Stevie got a #3 hit.

But when producer Jimmy Iovine who was working on both the Heartbreakers and Stevie's albums asked Petty if Nicks could take a stab at the song, it soon became the duet that took FM radio and MTV by storm. Petty would go on to co-produce Bella Donna with Iovine and loan out Heartbreaker organist Benmont Tench for the tour.

Can you handle this? Destiny's Child also benefited from Stevie's first solo outing. The opening guitar sample of "Bootylicious" is straight off of "Edge of Seventeen."

Nicks' band was loaded and included Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan on piano and studio legend Waddy Wachtel on guitar.

Stevie was 33-years-old, had a beautiful collection of new material, a handy catalogue of old faves people knew her from, and a solid band. The only thing she didn't have was time. The tour would only last two months with a bonus appearance in June.

Her playlist was top heavy with Mac tunes to get the crowd going with faves like "Gold Dust Woman" and "Dreams."

She covered Petty's "I Need to Know" for an upbeat number followed by Fleetwood Mac's "Sara."

The set concluded with four new tunes including the live debut of "Leather and Lace" and ending with two more premieres: "Stop Draggin My Heart Around" and "Edge of Seventeen."

Kanye said no one man should have that much power, but no solo woman should have that many hits in her first set.

Professor Roy Bittan laid down a beautiful piano bed for the live version of "Rhiannon" for Stevie.

The White Winged Dove Tour eased to a soft landing in Beverly Hills where she took up a five night residency at the Wilshire Theater (now the Saban). What a sweet mini tour where half the shows allow you to sleep in your own bed afterwards?

In 2016 when Rhino put out an expanded 3-CD deluxe version of Bella Donna, the final disc was a live recording of the December 13th show at the Wilshire Theater.

That gig was the last of the tour and was also shot for HBO who released it the following spring.

Stevie is now 75 years old and still touring. You heard that correctly: right this minute she's on the road.

Get your tickets via her website.

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Last updated: 28 Feb 2024, 02:08 Etc/UTC