Stevie Nicks Kept a Dove as a Pet After an Unexpected and Meaningful Concert Moment

After releasing the song “Edge of Seventeen,” Stevie Nicks has been associated with doves. The birds, often seen as symbols of peace and love, provided Nicks with a good omen in a difficult time. The moment came at a crossroads in her life between her final time using cocaine and her stint in rehab. 

Stevie Nicks wears a black jacket and white shirt and sits in front of a microphone.
Stevie Nicks | Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Stevie Nicks sang about doves in her solo career

In her debut solo album Bella Donna, Nicks opened the song “Edge of Seventeen” with the lyrics, “Just like the white winged dove sings a song, sounds like she’s singing.” According to Nicks, the inspiration for this lyric came from a restaurant menu. 

“In 1980 I was flying home from Phoenix, Arizona, and I was handed a menu that said, ‘The white wing dove sings a song that sounds like she’s singing ooh, ooh, ooh. She makes her home here in the great Saguaro cactus that provides shelter and protection for her…’” she told Rolling Stone. “As you well know, I was very taken with that whole picture and went on to write ‘Edge of Seventeen.’”

Nicks wrote the song about her uncle’s death, but the dove imagery has stuck with her throughout her career.

She kept a pet dove after a Fleetwood Mac concert

Nicks and the other members of Fleetwood Mac used cocaine heavily while touring, recording, and writing. For Nicks, the drug became life-threatening in the mid-1980s. At this point, she was nearly constantly high, and it was affecting her performances.

After one Fleetwood Mac concert, The Chicago Tribune noted that “years of hard living have reduced her voice to a wretched rasp … she spent much of her 90-minute set spinning and whirling on and off the stage, often leaving her bewildered-looking band to pick up the pieces.” This was the final straw for those close to her. They staged an intervention, though it wasn’t until her father flew in to speak with her that she agreed to go to rehab after Fleetwood Mac toured.

According to the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoë Howe, Nicks’ final time using cocaine was at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. The band released 25 white doves during this show, but one remained contentedly in Nicks’ hand. As the crowd cheered, Nicks gently placed the bird in Mick Fleetwood’s hat. According to Howe, the moment was a near-perfect symbol of hope, and Nicks would go on to keep the bird as a pet.

Stevie Nicks says she recently heard dove song for the first time

Despite having one as a pet, Nicks said she first heard a dove sing in April 2020. 

“Several days ago, outside my room, I started to hear the sound of a bird singing the same thing over and over,” she said. “One little Ahhh~ and then three OOH’s ~ over and over again. I thought it was an owl, but a friend said, ‘No, that’s a dove!’ I started to cry. This dove had come here to watch over me.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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