Bella Donna

Album: Bella Donna (1981)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Bella donna" is Italian for "beautiful woman," but it's also a kind of herb - a deadly one. In tales of witches and witchcraft, belladonna is often the poisonous ingredient in their deadly brews. In small doses though, it can be used as a painkiller or for cosmetic purposes.

    Nicks has long been fascinated with witch culture, but in this case belladonna is a metaphor for the rock and roll lifestyle, which can kill you if you're not careful.
  • This is the first track on Stevie Nicks' debut solo album. In 1979, after touring with Fleetwood Mac for their Tusk album, Nicks took some time off and began work on the album. Working outside of the group was daunting, and the song reflects her fears and also her dreams. Nicks has often expressed herself though the women in her songs, like "Rhiannon" or the gypsy. "Bella Donna" is another spirit, giving her strength and guidance.

    Nicks ended up becoming the most successful female solo artist among those who made their name in famous bands. "Bella Donna" wasn't released as a single, but the album had plenty of hits, including "Leather And Lace" and "Edge Of Seventeen."
  • Some lines in this song could deal with Stevie's bond with Lindsey Buckingham. It's possible he's the guy swingin from the trapeze and "scaring all the people."
  • Nicks didn't use any of her Fleetwood Mac bandmates on the album, assembling, with help from producer Jimmy Iovine, a backing crew made up of top studio musicians. Key to her sound is guitarist Waddy Wachtel, who played with her throughout her career. Another vital component of her sound is her backup vocalist team of Lori Perry and Sharon Celani. Other musicians on this track include:

    Benmont Tench - organ
    Bill Elliott - piano
    Bob Glaub - bass
    Russ Kunkel - drums
    Bobbye Hall - percussion
    Davey Johnstone - acoustic guitar
    David Adelstein - synthesizer

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