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Rock a Little
|Rock a Little|
|Studio album by|
|Released||November 18, 1985|
|Stevie Nicks chronology|
|Singles from Rock a Little|
|The New York Times||(Favorable)|
Rock a Little is the third solo studio album by American singer and songwriter Stevie Nicks.
Released in late 1985 while Fleetwood Mac were still on a lengthy hiatus following their album Mirage (1982), Rock a Little hit the top 20 in its second week and ultimately peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard 200, and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) after just one month of its release for sales in excess of 1,000,000 units. It was also certified Gold in the United Kingdom for sales in excess of 100,000 units.  The album was ranked number 41 in the best-selling albums of 1986 in the United States, although sales did not match Nicks' earlier albums, Bella Donna (1981) and The Wild Heart (1983) (which have sold in excess of four and two million copies in the US, respectively).
Rock a Little produced the hit singles "Talk to Me" (US #4), "I Can't Wait" (US #16), and the mainstay encore for Nicks' live shows "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?" (US #60). A fourth single, "Imperial Hotel", was released in Australia only. The album was particularly successful there and peaked at number five, becoming the sixth biggest-selling album of 1986.
Recording for her follow-up project to 1983's multi-platinum album The Wild Heart originally began in 1984. Selected songs were recorded, including "Running Through the Garden" and "Mirror Mirror". However, Nicks scrapped these recordings and parted ways with long-time producer and romantic interest Jimmy Iovine, and in late 1984 began work on what is now recognized as the Rock a Little project. "Running Through the Garden" would resurface in completed form in 2003 on the Fleetwood Mac album Say You Will.
The album is reputed to have cost $1 million to record (according to Mick Fleetwood in his autobiography), and is seen as a watershed in the singer's career. The vocal style is distinctively huskier and nasal (many claim this was due to increasing cocaine abuse) than on previous recordings. It was later revealed that Martin Page and Bernie Taupin had specially written the track "These Dreams" for inclusion on the album, but Nicks turned it down. The track was then recorded by the band Heart and became their first number 1 in 1986. Tom Petty and David A. Stewart also wrote "Don't Come Around Here No More" for the album, but after hearing Petty perform the vocals for her, she declined it as well, feeling she couldn't do the song justice. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers later released the song on their Southern Accents album.
Nicks had recorded various other tracks prior to the album's release, including "Battle Of The Dragon", a moody and intricate contemplation of stormy relationships. Rather than include on her own album, it was featured on the movie soundtrack for American Anthem, as well as on Nicks' 3-disc retrospective Enchanted in 1998. A duet with Eagles drummer and former lover Don Henley titled "Reconsider Me" would also see the cutting room floor, and the rock ballad "One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star" was relegated to the B-side of the "Talk to Me" single. Many other discarded demos from the sessions have never seen the light of day, but a few, including "Greta" and "Love Is Like A River", were dusted off for her 1994 album, Street Angel. "Thousand Days" was relegated to a B-side. "Mirror, Mirror" was tried out again for 1989's The Other Side of the Mirror, and was again revisited in 1994 for inclusion on Street Angel, but ultimately the original Rock a Little version was only released on a cassette single of "Blue Denim" in 1994.
Jimmy Iovine was originally brought in to produce the album and work on the demo recordings in 1984. However, he parted ways with Nicks midway through the recording sessions, claiming he did not like the direction in which Nicks wanted to take the album. It was later revealed that the two had been in a relationship for several years. Nicks' subsequent relationship with Eagles member Joe Walsh produced the ballad "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You". Keith Olsen, Rick Nowels and Nicks herself took over production duties after Iovine's departure.
Upon release in November 1985, Rock a Little received very mixed reviews. Combined with Nicks' growing addiction to cocaine at the time which hampered her tour performances (she would famously check into the Betty Ford Clinic at the tour's conclusion), the album did not achieve sales or chart positions expected of Nicks at that time. It entered the U.S. Billboard chart at #60, eventually peaking at #12 in its ninth week of release. The album spent 35 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, including 13 weeks in the Top 20.
Promotional videos were shot for the singles "Talk to Me" and "I Can't Wait". In 1986 a 6-track VHS tape titled I Can't Wait was released in many territories, and featured the following promos:
- "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
- "Leather and Lace" (Live, 1981 Bella Donna Tour)
- "Stand Back"
- "If Anyone Falls"
- "Talk to Me"
- "I Can't Wait"
This release is notable for including a live solo performance of "Leather and Lace" from the last night of Nicks' 1981 Bella Donna Tour, which was cut from the VHS release of White Wing Dove: Stevie Nicks Live, a 9-track edit of the same concert. The version was used as the song's music video, and was played on MTV in 1981.
Five of these promos are included on the DVD supplement to Nicks' 2008 collection Crystal Visions — The Very Best of Stevie Nicks, but the only DVD availability of the live version of "Leather and Lace" is the Australian release of Fleetwood Mac's Mirage Tour concert, for which all six videos of the I Can't Wait collection are included as a special bonus feature.
The US leg of the Rock a Little Tour kicked off in 1986 and concluded with a show at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, which was captured and released on video (and later on DVD) usually entitled Live at Red Rocks. Evidence of Nicks' drug abuse is apparent in both performance and vocals, but the show is noticeably 'cleaned up' with re-shot close-ups, inserts and vocal overdubs. The video/DVD is also a very much shortened version of the actual setlist, clocking in at only 57 minutes, 15 of which are devoted to a very lengthy version of "Edge of Seventeen" though this was adjusted on the DVD release.
Alternative versions and 12-inch releases
- "I Can't Wait" was released as a 12-inch single in an extended 6:00 rock version in many territories, but the UK release exclusively included a longer and different version of the album track "Rock a Little (Go Ahead Lily)" running at 5:12, currently unavailable on any other release.
- "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?" was also released in a 12-inch version in the UK, and included a 'dub' rock version of "I Can't Wait", clocking in at 5:50.
- All 7-inch and 12-inch releases of "Talk to Me" included the non-album track "One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star", written by Nicks, which later appeared with a slightly truncated ending on her 1998 retrospective boxset, Enchanted.
- Stevie Nicks – lead vocals, synthesizer on track 8
- Jamie Sheriff – synthesizers, programming (tracks 1-3, 11)
- Bill Payne – synthesizers (track 2)
- Charles Judge – synthesizers, piano (tracks 3-4, 8-9, 11)
- Greg Phillinganes – synthesizers, keyboards, timpani (tracks 5, 7)
- Chas Sandford – synthesizers, guitar, bass guitar (track 6)
- Rick Nowels – keyboards (tracks 1, 3, 8, 10-11)
- Bill Cuomo – keyboards (track 10)
- Benmont Tench – piano, organ (tracks 5-6)
- George Black – guitar, bass (tracks 1, 3, 8)
- Michael Landau – guitar, background vocals (tracks 1, 3, 8)
- Waddy Wachtel – guitar (tracks 2, 10)
- Danny Kortchmar – guitar (track 3)
- Mike Campbell – guitar (track 5)
- Les Dudek – guitar (track 3)
- Kenny Edwards – bass (track 2)
- Bob Glaub – bass (tracks 4-5)
- Mike Porcaro – bass (track 10)
- Bobbye Hall – percussion (track 3)
- David Kemper – percussion, tambourine (tracks 9, 11)
- Paul Leim – drums (track 1)
- Steve Jordan – drums (track 2, 5, 6)
- Russ Kunkel – drums (track 3)
- Andy Newmark – drums (tracks 8-9)
- Denny Carmassi – drums (track 10)
- Barney Wilen – saxophone (track 7)
- Lori Perry-Nicks – background vocals
- Sharon Celani – background vocals (tracks 1-10)
- Maria Vidal – background vocals (tracks 1-2, 7-8)
- Marilyn Martin – background vocals (tracks 1-3, 5-6, 10)
- Carolyn Brooks – background vocals (track 11)
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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