The most iconic rock anthem of the 80s?

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Edge of Seventeen has also been covered by artists as varied as actress-turned-singer Lindsay Lohan, who recorded it for her 2005 album A Little More Personal (Raw), and cult dark-pop band Muna, who performed it while supporting Harry Styles on tour in 2017. Styles, incidentally, is another contemporary artist who hails Nicks as a major influence. When he inducted her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, he said appreciatively: “Her songs made you ache, feel on top of the world, make you want to dance, and usually all three at the same time. She’s responsible for more running mascara, including my own, than all the bad dates in history combined.”

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Edge of Seventeen is also deeply revered within Nicks’ devoted fanbase. Night of 1,000 Stevies, an annual drag event in New York celebrating the singer’s impact, has chosen the song for its finale every year since it launched 30 years ago. “We use it for a sacred Stevie ritual called the Battle of 1,000 Stevies [that’s essentially] an enormous group lip-sync/Stevie pose-off,” says the event’s founder and co-producer Chi Chi Valenti. According to Valenti, the song deserves to take pride of place at every Night of 1,000 Stevies because “it contains so much of the Stevie Nicks lexicon – from the ‘white-winged dove’ to the ‘nightbird’ – over that driving, twirl-launching beat”.

Speaking her own language

To say that Nicks has established her own songwriting lexicon is no exaggeration. Whether performing solo or with Fleetwood Mac, her music is sprinkled with witchy imagery from “rooms on fire” to “sisters of the moon” and “silver springs” that only she could come up with. When she and then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, two years after releasing a flop album called Buckingham Nicks that has since become a cult favourite, their songs instantly helped to revive the blues band’s commercial fortunes. During the group’s late-1970s imperial phase, Buckingham wrote Fleetwood Mac staples including the driving rock classic Go Your Own Way and cleverly experimental Tusk, while Nicks demonstrated her flair for indelible imagery on poetic gems such as Rhiannon, Landslide and Sara. She also wrote the band’s biggest hit of all, the 1977 chart-topper Dreams, on which she helped to cement the band’s status as a kind of rock soap opera by elegantly documenting her breakup with Buckingham. “When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know,” Nicks sings hauntingly on the chorus.

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