Fall is approaching. The leaves will soon turn. The lights will dim. It’s Halloween season, the perfect time to celebrate all things dark, spooky, and witchy. If you’re Stevie Nicks, every day is Halloween. The singer, songwriter, and rockstar burst onto the scene in the 1970s with a vibe and aesthetic unlike any of her peers. With tunes like “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” she showed that love and breakup tracks could be lush, chemical, magical. She had a way of turning the mundane into something interstellar, using witchy iconography to tell stories about everyday life. Rumors have swirled for decades about her possible connection with the occult—rumors that she has steadfastly denied—but even without any traceable Wiccan roots, it’s clear that Nicks is a words witch. Her music is poetic and jazzy, with a folksy twang that makes it feel timeless.
To celebrate the Halloween season, witches, and mysticism, we chose a sampling of Nicks songs that evoke otherworldliness. Here are 10 of the Fleetwood Mac singer’s witchiest tracks that are perfect for any Halloween playlist.
Stevie Nick and then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined British band Fleetwood Mac in late 1974 and helped catapult the band to international success with the release of their eponymous 1975 album. It contained the Nicks-penned rock track “Rhiannon,” which she wrote after reading the novel Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural by Mary Leader. The song, about a “white witch,” became Nicks’ signature tune—to this day she performs the track while draped in shawls. In the ’70s. live performances of the song were especially witchy. ““Her ‘Rhiannon’ in those days was like an exorcism,” her bandmate Mick Fleetwood once said.
Witchiest lyric: She is like a cat in the dark / and then she is the darkness
Before joining Fleetwood Mac, Nicks and longterm boyfriend Buckingham were part of a folk duo called, appropriately, Buckingham Nicks. They released a self-titled album together in 1973. It was during this era that Nicks wrote some of her most magical, lush songs, including “Crystal.” The song appears on the Buckingham Nicks album, and was repurposed with a new arrangement for Fleetwood Mac a year later. In both of those versions, Buckingham sings the soft, haunting lyrics, but decades later, Nicks would reclaim the vocals for the soundtrack to Practical Magic. The track is featured prominently in the film—about a family of female witches—and is even weaved into the score.
Witchiest lyric: Drove me though the mountains / through the crystal like and clear water fountain
“Sara” is one of Nicks’ most mysterious and unknowable songs, layered with so many different readings that fans have been puzzling over it for more than thirty years. On the surface, it appears to be about Nicks’ affair with Mick Fleetwood, who later left her for her best friend Sara Recor. It certainly sounds like a song about an affair, but it’s strung together by a haunting, syrupy melody and lyrics that feel like something out of a spell book. The song is so witchy that it was featured prominently in American Horror Story: Coven. (Along with the song “ Seven Wonders.”)
Witchiest lyric: The night is coming and the starling flew for days
“Sorcerer” is another Buckingham Nicks song that was later repurposed, appearing on Nicks’ 2001 solo album Trouble in Shangri-La. That version is a poppier version of what was originally a spooky folk song. The version with Buckingham is one of the best examples of how beautifully their voices blended in harmony, and shows off the mystical power of Nicks’ songwriting. It’s about a mountain witch who puts a man under her spell, just like the song puts us under some kind of trance.
Witchiest lyric: All around, black ink darkness / and who found, lady from the mountains
Nicks further fueled witch rumors in 1981 with the release of her first solo album, Bella Donna. The title track, named after a deadly nightshade, recalls a certain Wiccan iconography, and is essentially about a self-empowered woman centering herself in a chaotic world. It’s a witchy anthem, just like most tracks on Bella Donna—one of Nicks’ most successful and yet still somehow underrated works.
Witchiest lyric: The lady’s feeling / like the moon that she loved
Nicks’ follow-up to Bella Donna was another solo album titled The Wild Heart. Released in 1982, it’s also full of songs that recall some of the songstress’s witchiest inclinations. The upbeat-sounding track “Enchanted” is a fun one to dance and rock out to, even though the lyrics are about a relationship that went sour. In typical Nicks fashion, she uses shadows and other mystical ideas to communicate her emotions.
Witchiest lyric: Enchanted, you thought you saw something in my eyes
“Planets of the Universe”
Many of Stevie Nicks’ early demos would become very different-sounding songs later on. That was definitely the case for “Planets of the Universe.” The demo appears as a B-side on Rumours and was originally meant to be part of that blockbuster 1977 Fleetwood Mac album. It would later become a pop song on Trouble in Shangri-La. But the original version is scorching, heartfelt, and mesmerizing track. Just Nicks and a piano, purring beautiful words about her breakup with Buckingham—and filtering it through a cosmic prism.
Witchiest lyric: And the planets of the universe, go their way / not astounded by the sun or the moon, or by the day
It’s hard to talk about witchy Stevie Nicks songs without mentioning “Dreams,” the most successful Fleetwood Mac song ever and arguably her most recognizable tune. Like “Planets of the Universe,” it’s a song about her breakup with Buckingham, and like most of her best work, it isn’t content to just say simple things about a normal life event. Nicks uses nature and other forces as a metaphor for moving on. Just like any good witch.
Witchiest lyric: Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
“Sisters of the Moon”
Along with “Rhiannon,” this track—off the underrated Mac album Tusk—is Nicks’ most overtly witchy song. The gothic tune is almost definitely referring to Nicks herself, and talks about the darker sides of fame. All while referencing witches, black widow spiders, robes, and—as the title implies—the moon.
Witchiest lyric: A black widow spider makes more sound than she / and black moons in those eyes of hers made more sense to me
“Angel” is an underrated Mac song, one that is rarely referenced or performed, even though its one of Nicks’ most fun and addictive songs. Like “Sara,” it’s layered with a mystic meaning that’s hard to really crack. According to her, it’s a sister song to “Rhiannon,” as both were written around the same Welsh story of a sorcerer. It was also written around the time of her breakup with Buckingham and affair with Fleetwood, so there are references to both relationships peppered in there. Ultimately, it’s a fun pop rock song that’s anything but traditional—as is the Stevie Nicks way.
Witchiest lyric: To those that I love, like a ghost through a fog / like a charmed hour and a haunted song
Featured Image: Midnight Special