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by Justin Farrar

January 24, 2014

The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks

by Justin Farrar  |  January 24, 2014

I nicked the title to this post from the recent episode of American Horror Story: Coven featuring none other than Stevie Nicks. Playing a fictionalized version of herself, the Fleetwood Mac singer performs a piano-only rendition of "Rhiannon" to a mansion full of back-stabbing witches. The scene culminates with the legendary White Witch bestowing one of her iconic shawls upon young Misty Day (portrayed by Lily Rabe). A swamp witch gifted in the art of backwoods potions (her skills are more intuitive than learned), Day is utterly obsessed with Nicks. When not practicing the power of resurgence (i.e. returning souls to the earthly realm), she devotes her time to imitating Nicks' onstage twirls while blasting classic Fleetwood Mac tunes in a rickety bayou cabin.

The creators of the FX anthology series, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, just love packing the show with these kinds of pop-culture references. (Season Two's American Horror Story: Asylum was even more over the top in this regard.) Turning Nicks' White Witch persona into a fictional character certainly was a clever move. Now, for those of you too young to remember, Nicks in the late 1970s really had fans believing that she was some kind of rock 'n' roll witchy woman. And she played the role to the very hilt: Exotic, beautiful and mesmerizing, she wore flowing lace while crooning mysterious pop ballads littered with mystical-inspired lyrics. Boasting memorable lines like "She is like a cat in the dark/ And then she is the darkness," the radio staple "Rhiannon" surely is one of her most famous examples. But there really are so many, like the amazing "Sisters of the Moon," from Fleetwood Mac's Tusk album:

Intense silence
As she walked in the room
Her black robes trailing
Sister of the moon
And a black widow spider makes
More sound than she
And black moons in those eyes of hers
Made more sense to me
Heavy persuasion
It was hard to breathe
She was dark at the top of the stairs
And she called to me

In honor of the great White Witch (who, according to reports, is due to make a second cameo on American Horror Story: Coven), I've put together a playlist spotlighting both her great work with Fleetwood Mac and myriad solo hits (from "Stand Back" to "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" with Tom Petty). I of course am in no position to tell you how to listen to Stevie, but if you don't attempt at least one twirl while cranking "Rhiannon," you simply ain't living. And that goes for all the boys reading this as well.

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