Danny Goldberg: I was saved by Stevie Nicks

Danny Goldberg’s new book Bumping into Geniuses: My Life in the Rock and Roll Business was released today. Goldberg writes extensively about Stevie, devoting 27 pages to her in the chapter “Stevie Nicks: Turning Rainbows into Music into Gold”. He describes his initial meeting with her at a party, her “extremely limited clout” in Fleetwood Mac, and the series of events that led to her solo career debut in 1981. He also writes at length about Stevie’s relationship with Paul Fishkin, who was pivotal in launching Stevie’s solo career.

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Stevie Nicks: Turning Rainbows into Music and Music into Gold”:

“I knew that Peter Grant was right that rock stars held the real power in the business, but it took me some time to make it work for me. My ambitions were such that it wasn’t enough just to be thought of as a good PR person, since rock PR rarely led to career opportunities other than more rock PR. By the spring of 1979 it had been three years since I had left Swan Song, I was soon to turn twenty-nine with thirty looming ominously on the horizon, and I was consumed with the fear that my success with Zeppelin had been a fluke. The money that came in from PR fees didn’t always pay my monthly bills. I took a series of loans from my parents that added up over time to thirteen thousand dollars and I didn’t have any plan except to just stay in the game. I was saved by Stevie Nicks.

I met Stevie when she was dating Paul Fishkin, who was president of Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records and one of my best friends. Bearsville’s first hit had been “We Gotta Get You a Woman” by Todd Rundgren, who had grown up with Paul in Philadelphia and had written the song about him. Paul’s adolescent shyness had long since left by the time I had met him during my brief stint working for Grossman’s music publishing company. He had long curly black hair and a bushy black mustache and was a bit of a dandy, dressed in the expensive and well-tailored velvet-and-leather hippie clothing prevalent at the time. Paul always seemed to have an attractive woman on his arm but also had a gregarious affability that made him one of the guys.

Paul had developed an expertise in pop and rock radio promotion and was so instrumental in getting the blues-rock group Foghat to million-selling (platinum) sales status that Grossman gave him a 20-percent interest in the Bearsville label and the title of president. (Title inflation meant that the “president” was the number-two person in most record companies, typically reporting to the “chairman.”) Not long thereafter Paul retained my company to do the PR for all of Bearsville’s artists.

Paul had met Stevie at a Warners sales convention and a romance had promptly blossomed. Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours was the best-selling album in America at the time. (It would remain number one for thirty-nine weeks, a feat that has never been duplicated.) Stevie had written and sung “Dreams,” the biggest hit on Rumours, a haunting, beautiful, and bitter song about her highly publicized breakup with Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. Lindsey had reciprocated by writing the biting “Go Your Own Way” about Stevie. …”

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Stevie Nicks, Stand Back 1981-2017, compilation

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