Bella Donna, come in out of the darkness — it’s your 40th birthday! Stevie Nicks celebrated the four decade anniversary of her solo debut and career-defining song of the same name in a July 27 statement posted to her social media accounts captioned “From my journal…” The ballad went on to help establish her as an artist independent of longtime band Fleetwood Mac.
In addition to shouting out her collaborators Lori Perry-Nicks and Sharon Celani, the rockstar and songwriting legend shared the story that inspired “Bella Donna.”
“This song was written about my boyfriend’s mother who was involved with a man in Chile during the coup that happened there in 1973,” she explained. “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.'”
Nicks revealed that the moment she finished the song was the moment she knew she had the basis for her first solo record, which she believed in “from the bottom of my heart.” The story of her boyfriend’s mother changed the way she looked at love, a concept she would explore later throughout her first album. “It defined how I would feel about love forever,” she said of “Bella Donna.” “It broke my heart and gave me the strength to fight for it.”
The song and album didn’t just change Nicks as an artist, however. It also “opened the doors” to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which Nicks said “took my hand, and invited me in for my own work – for the women of the world. The thing I am most proud of.” Nicks was inducted into the Rock Hall as a solo artist in March 2019, and 1998 with Fleetwood Mac.
The major chart success and critical praise Nicks received in the “Bella Donna” era solidified her place as a solo musician, but she made one thing clear in her note. “It did not break up Fleetwood Mac,” she wrote. “If anything, it kept us together.”
Read Nick’s full recollection on “Bella Donna”:
From my journal… pic.twitter.com/GTFfuJWxLg
— Stevie Nicks (@StevieNicks) July 27, 2021