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    Song Title »
Street Angel
    Authors »
Stevie Nicks

    Year Written »
1992

    This Performance »
Date Performance 1994-00-00
Running Time 4:09
Performers Bernie Leadon (Electric Guitars), Andy Fairweather-Low(e) (Electric Guitar), Waddy (Robert) Wachtel (Additional Guitar), Pat Donaldson (Bass), Glyn Johns (Percussion Programming), Peter Michael (Additional Percussion), Ben(mont) (M.) Tench(, III) (Hammond Organ), Ben(mont) (M.) Tench(, III) (Synthesizer), Cat Gray (Synthesizer), Joel Derouin (Electric Violin), Stevie Nicks (Produced By), David Crosby (Vocal Harmony), Thom Panunzio (Produced By), Stevie Nicks (Vocals), Bernie Leadon (Acoustic Guitars), Kevin Killen (Recorded By), Paul Dieter (Recorded By)
Appears On
Enchanted (1998)
Stevie Nicks
Street Angel (1994)
Stevie Nicks
Up Close (1994)
Stevie Nicks

    Lyrics »

I've been walking under rainbows too long to tell
You keep walking down mean streets my street angel
I try to bring you in out of the cold
But street angels live on the street
And they always will

Street angels aren't like anyone you know
They do what they want and they go where they go
They may tell you
that you hold the world in your hands
But they always give it back (They always give it back)

No amount of crying changes your mind
No amount of praying brings you inside
I know that you love me and that you always will
You just stand outside and call to me
My sweet street angel

A Charles Dickens character,with your top hat and your scarf
When you pull me through the rainbow I thought you'd stop
But you didn't you turned around You went back to the children and your music
And the people that you love

I can't help but wonder if
Every one in a while you remember the girl
When you were a homeless angel that drove you wild
Strange and elusive

No amount of crying changes your mind
No amount of praying brings you inside
I know that you love me and that you always will
You just stand outside and call to me
My sweet street angel

So I ended it all for the both of us
I fell down the stairs a broken rag doll
But you never knew you just thought I went away
With nothing more to hope for
But you don't hear voices anymore
No my sweet street angel
I've been walking under rainbows too long to tell
You keep walking down mean streets
my street angel
I try to bring you in out of the cold
But street angels live on the street
And they always will

Street angels aren't like anyone you know
They do what they want and they go where they go
They may tell you
that you hold the world in your hands
But they always give it back
They always give it back

No amount of crying changes your mind
No amount of praying brings you inside
I know that you love me
and that you always will
You just stand outside and call to me
My sweet street angel

A Charles Dickens character,
with your top hat and your scarf
When you pull me through the rainbow
I thought you'd stop
But you didn't you turned around
You went back to the children and your music
And the people that you love

I can't help but wonder if
Every one in a while you remember the girl
When you were a homeless angel
that drove you wild
Strange and elusive

No amount of crying changes your mind
No amount of praying brings you inside
I know that you love me and that you always will
You just stand outside and call to me
My sweet street angel

So I ended it all for the both of us
I fell down the stairs a broken rag doll
But you never knew you just thought I went away
With nothing more to hope for
But you don't hear voices anymore
No my sweet street angel

    Fan Interpretation »

There have been many angels in the world of Stevie Nicks. And not just angels either--witches and gypsies and girls that go through mirrors and girls that must stay There have been many angels in the world of Stevie Nicks. And not just angels either--witches and gypsies and girls that go through mirrors and girls that must stay "in the shadow of these castles walls." From "Rhiannon" in 1975, to "Alice" in 1989, and past that, Stevie has been exploring a world beyond our physical, everyday world. And angels are an important part of her metaphysical world. One of the questions concerning the song "Street Angel", from 1994, is who exactly is the street angel? In some of Stevie's songs, it is quite simple to figure out who she is referring to--for example, "Dreams" is obviously about Lindsey Buckingham. But some of her songs are a little more obscure--is "Sara" about Mick Fleetwood or Lindsey again? Or maybe both? Her street angel could be Mick--but evidence points towards it being Lindsey, as the songs refers to a time long ago.

"Street Angel" was the title song off of her first solo album after leaving Fleetwood Mac. She is free from any addictions by this point, but those past addictions to cocaine and painkillers left their mark. She is a very different woman than the one who effortlessly jotted down songs regarding her life and her lovers. On Bella Donna, from thirteen years earlier, Stevie writes every song herself, with the exception of Tom Petty's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." Street Angel contains four songs written entirely by herself, and four written by another artist completely.

On the album, she confronts issues such as her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham ("Blue Denim") and her need for a break ("Listen to the Rain.") It is an album of healing, of truly being on her own, this time with no Fleetwood Mac lurking in the background. The times of pain, agony, and addictions are almost all behind her now--and she is seeing the world almost with new eyes. "Street Angel" is one of those songs written by Stevie herself, which adds to its poignancy.

I've been walking under rainbows...too long to tell
You keep walking down mean streets... My street angel
I try to bring you in...Out of the cold
But street angels live on the street... And they always will

Stevie has been living in her own world--under rainbows. She is having trouble seeing if Lindsey is right for her or not, trouble telling what's wrong or right. Lindsey is walking down "mean streets"--she calls him her street angel. He is cold, and the implication is that he is lonely as well. Stevie tried, twenty years before, to reach out to him and to warm up his world. But he stayed out in the cold--and they broke up. And now Stevie seems to have resigned herself to the fact that he will never see the world as she does. Her world of candles and crystals and flowing chiffon doesn't mean nearly as much to him as it does to her. He seems to like it out there on the street--or does he?

However, if this verse is viewed in light of her leaving Fleetwood Mac, it can be seen that she views the band as the rainbows she has been walking under. Mick had refused to let her have ""Silver Springs" for Timespace in 1991--is she telling him that she tried to rescue that song, bring it back, but he wouldn't let her? For her, that was the straw that broke the camel's back and led to her leaving the band. She tried, too, to rescue Mick from the cold, but like Lindsey before, he stayed out there. And in the end, there was really nothing she could do about it.

Street angels aren't like anyone you know
They do what they want...and they go where they go
They may tell you
That you hold the world in your hands
But they always give it back...
(They always give it back)

In his classic, "Go Your Own Way", Lindsey tells Stevie that "If I could, maybe I'd give you my world" but then wants to know "How can I, when you won't take it from me?" Now Stevie is almost accusing him--you said I could have your world if I wanted it, but when I tried to take it, you held it back from me. And now you're telling me I can have it? Stevie switches her pronoun in this, which is a little interesting. Lindsey told her that she held the world in her hands, but he "gave it back"? According to the line before, she already had it. The best interpretation of these lines is that Stevie never did hold his world--he just said she did, as if to taunt her. But maybe he did give her own world back to her--he didn't want it, and that was to be expected, no matter how much she tried to share it with him.

No amount of crying...changes your mind
No amount of praying...brings you inside
I know that you love me... And that you always will
You just stand outside and call to me...
My sweet street angel

Stevie is begging Lindsey to love her--as much as he loves his music--she is begging him to come into her world, but he won't. And she tosses his words back at him--"I know that you love me and that you always will"; in 1987's "Big Love" Lindsey said "You said that you loved me and that you always will." It seems that both knew they still loved each other, and were extremely resentful that, in their eyes, the other had "thrown" the relationship away. Yet, as Stevie is calling to Lindsey, he stands out there and calls to her to come to him. And she no longer gives off the impression of "mean" streets and "mean" street angels--she calls him her "sweet street angel". Lindsey's song "Street of Dreams" from his 1992 release Out Of The Cradle is usually taken as being about his father, and I believe that it is. However, there are similarities between this song and that: "And I was praying you'd be staying on this lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely Street of Dreams"; "You just stand outside and call to me, my sweet street angel." Stevie was probably trying to remind Lindsey, yeah, you're lonely, and I would help you get over that loneliness, but you just stand there--you don't really want my help.

A Charles Dickens character,
With your top hat and your scarf
When you pull me through the rainbow... I thought you'd stop
But you didn't...you turned around
And went back to the children...and your music...
And the people that you love

Is the "Charles Dickens character" Mick, Lindsey, or herself? A prevalent image of Stevie through the years has been her with a chiffon scarf around her neck...and her top hat, adorned for Lindsey's "Go Your Own Way." Stevie might be feeling a little resentful--like Lindsey opened up a whole new world for her, helped make her songs the classics they are today, and then left her. She knew that with Lindsey, his music came first. She couldn't win out over it--although she did come very close, probably the closest of any of his girlfriends.

Also, Stevie could be hurt by the way Mick went back to his children and his life after she left. She was quite possibly feeling that she wasn't that important to him, after all.

I can't help but wonder if...
Every once in a while...You remember the girl
When you were a homeless angel...
That drove you wild
Strange and elusive...

Stevie knew Lindsey back when he was "homeless", but then again, so was she, since they lived together. She knows that she is different from who she was then--the rock and roll lifestyle had taken its toll on her. "The woman used to Hollywood living"--Stevie is asking Lindsey, when he thinks of her, to remember the girl that drove him wild, the girl he loved, the girl from whom his departure inspired songs like "Go Your Own Way" and "Second Hand News." She is begging him to remember the girl who "chose to dance across the stages of the world" playing her tambourine and wearing her flowing chiffon; the girl who landed on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and was called the "Queen of Rock and Roll." She was strange--again, she had her own world, a world full of elusive images and ideas that, in turn, made her elusive--hard to catch, even harder to hold on to.

No amount of crying...changes your mind
No amount of praying...brings you inside
I know that you love me...and that you always will
You just stand outside and call to me...
My sweet street angel


Stevie was also still very hurt at this point over Mick's not giving her ""Silver Springs"--she really didn't understand how he could refuse her that. She has realized that Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey is a totally different experience, and she is not sure if she likes that experience. It wasn't the first time she had been in the studio without Lindsey--but it was the first time she had been with Fleetwood Mac and without Lindsey. She recognizes that something has changed between her and Lindsey, her and Mick, her and the other members of the band. And she needs time to cope with that change--which is probably a big reason why Street Angel was her first solo album of new work in five years, as Timespace was a "Best Of" collection.

So I ended it all...for the both of us
And fell down the stairs...a broken rag doll
But you never knew...you just thought I went away
With nothing more to hope for...
But you don't hear voices anymore
No...my sweet street angel

Stevie ended the relationship between herself and Lindsey. And it killed a part of her inside--maybe even took away some of her strength, leaving her limp and broken. But Lindsey never knew the extent of her pain--he just thought she was gone. After all, didn't he tell her to "Go your own way?" So Stevie "went away", with no more hopes regarding him. She knew it was over. But what point exactly did she realize it was over? Maybe not until August 7, 1987, when Lindsey left the band. Maybe when he started seeing Carol Ann Harris. Maybe it was the night of President Clinton's Inauguration. Or maybe she still feels that because of their love for each other, there will never be an ending. Whatever the case may be, Stevie obviously feels that her prophecy of his loneliness in "Dreams"--"Listen carefully to the sound...of your loneliness...like a heartbeat drives you mad..."--has come true--he no longer hears her voice blending with his in the studio, harmonizing with his on stage. Stevie also ended the relationship between her and Mick. She was probably a little surprised that he let her go so easily--she was hurt, and is reminding him that her voice and her songs will no longer add that special touch of mysticism to Fleetwood Mac albums. Stevie didn't want to leave Fleetwood Mac, but she couldn't stay in the band any longer. As mentioned earlier, this was her first album where she was really truly on her own, and that had to be intimidating, knowing that there was no Fleetwood Mac to fall back on.

An interview with Stevie once concerned this song, where Stevie said that the song was about a girl who was rescued by a wealthy man who reminded her of something that Dickens had written about. The girl fell in love with that man, but he went back to his lifestyle and she couldn't handle his abandonment, and ended up killing herself. Stevie was possibly that girl, who couldn't cope with the "abandonment", as she saw it, of either Lindsey or Mick, and so "killed herself", or at least a part of herself, when she left the band. This song is an extremely melancholy, gut-wrenchingly sad song. It has a haunting and mystical quality that seems to embody that street angel she sings about, and is added to by the harmony of David Crosby.

During this period in her life, Stevie was not too happy, and still recovering from her past addictions. She both wants and needs help from a person in her past, and can't understand why he is just standing there. Stevie is reaching out, and is distraught that there is no response. As of this moment, this is the first new solo album she has ever released since leaving Fleetwood Mac. She was going through a lot of emotional trauma, and you can see that reflected in her songs--"Such a little girl...such a hard life..." This song is also a little depressing. It paints another shade in the portrait of Stevie Nicks--a shade of vulnerability different from one we have ever seen before. This is no "Edge of Seventeen"--that is a song that just commands strength. There is an underlying strength to this song overall--it paints a vulnerability, not a weakness. Stevie Nicks has been through many things, and come through each stronger than ever. Stevie Nicks has been many things. She has never been weak.

(The interpretations to these lyrics were compiled through discussions on the message boards of the Penguin, The Ledge. It is entirely possible that the artists had something completely different in mind.)

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(C) 1992 Welsh Witch Music, (BMI) Admin. by Sony Music/Songs, Inc. (ASCAP)

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    Last Modified »
2009-03-23

    Discography Credits »
Lyrics contributed by Nicholas Leone. Interpretation prepared by Becky, George, Les, Jessica S. and Keith.