Fleetwood Mac blew up in the Seventies thanks to three top-notch singer-songwriters — guitarist/producer/mastermind Lindsey Buckingham, bluesy songbird Christine McVie and the gypsy queen herself, Stevie Nicks. Her “Rhiannon,” “Sara” and “Gold Dust Woman” were full of post-hippie witchy imagery, but under the gossamer surface, they were deceptively tough-minded accounts of heartbreak and betrayal in the L.A. heyday of free love and hard drugs. She and Buckingham were a couple when they joined Fleetwood Mac, but some of her greatest songs came out of the wreckage of their relationship — including the Number One “Dreams.” “We write about each other, we have continually written about each other, and we’ll probably keep writing about each other until we’re dead,” she told Rolling Stone last year. She remains undiminished as a writer, as she proved on her 2011 gem In Your Dreams. But her most famous song is still “Landslide,” her acoustic lament for children growing older, written before she’d even turned 30. “I was only 27,” she said. “It was 1973 when I wrote it, about a year before I joined Fleetwood Mac. You can feel really old at 27.”
“I live in the world of romantic possibility,” says Stevie Nicks. Nicks is one of the most successful and iconic (overused word, but it’s appropriate here) singer-songwriters of the past fortysomething years. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona–but her millions of besotted fans know that cannot be true! Not only does Stevie live in a “world of romantic possibility,” she lives in a world of unicorns and benevolent magic; of flowing scarves and eternally windswept hair. She is a one-woman magical mystery tour.
Few artists have maintained the consistency of Stevie Nicks, in her presentation and in the quality of her distinctive voice (a compelling, keening sound: not quite beautiful, but seductive and soul-catching).
Stevie has been consistently linked–since her high-school days!– to Lindsey Buckingham. Both would be linked, to this very moment to the band Fleetwood Mac. Nicks and Buckingham joined the group in 1975, after several years of writing and performing on their own. The inclusion of the couple–romantically involved at that time–galvanized the group. Nicks’ songs “Landslide” and “Rhiannon” became instant classics, and drove the album to the top of the charts. Her dreamy onstage look (created by designer Margi Kent) was at odds with her powerful impassioned delivery. (The platform boots she favored gave her not only height–she’s tiny–but a certain grounded, solid quality. She still wears those boots!)
Yet success, as always was a cruel mistress. Tension wracked the Nicks-Buckingham relationship and they parted, personally, during the recording of the follow-up album Rumours. This records, another hit, addressed some of the inside gossip about the end of their affair. But this was nothing compared to what came later, during the tour for that album. Nicks and Mick Fleetwood (who was married with children) began an affair. Nicks was horrified it happened and anger from friends was a daily burden. The relationship would end, but, in a sick twist–it’s only rock ‘n’ roll!–Mick would eventually leave his wife for Stevie’s best friend!
Stevie, almost comically prolific–how much could a woman write and know and express?!–now began branching out. She appeared occasionally with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and in 1981 released her first solo album, Bella Donna. It was a smash. Her second solo effort The Wild Heart, came in 1983. Another smash, more hit singles. Then came Rock a Little in 1986 (November, 1985), which continued her streak of solo successes. Her lyrics were–and are–deeply personal but universal. “I write songs that people can’t write for themselves,” she has said.
Still working with Fleetwood Mac, Nicks faced a variety of issues, personal (i.e. cocaine, chronic fatigue syndrome) and professional. But the band played on, seemingly unstoppable despite the fact that Buckingham had left.
In 1995, Nicks and Buckingham reunited for the duet “Twisted” which is heard on the soundtrack to the popular tornado movie, Twister.
Stevie continued to spit her creativity between Fleetwood and her own solo career, which she managed with apparent ease. When Fleetwood began a new album in 2001, Nicks was, for the first time, the sole woman in the band–Christine McVie had left, Buckingham had returned. The subsequent tour was successful but fraught.
Married only once, briefly to musician Kim Anderson in 1983, Stevie Nicks seemed to float above the gritty, grim world of bruised egos, shattered dreams, and an industry that worships the new obsessively. Even when she’d speak of her once-upon-a-time drug habit, or above love or sex or growing older, there seemed to be a distance–great candor through gauze, so to speak.
I once sat in a room with Stevie, in the office of her press representative, Liz Rosenberg. I wasn’t there to interview Stevie, so I didn’t feel right about repeating, afterward, the conversation that poured out. There’s an old expression, “Ask a question, get a pageant.” Stevie definitely is a pageant. It’s almost stream-of-consciousness. She often asked and answered her own questions. She was quirky, fascinating, intelligent, and yet…the gauze was up.
As I write this, Stevie is back on the road with Fleetwood Mac. McVie has returned and–so far!–nobody’s backed out of the tour. One sophisticated woman I know fairly well took me by surprise when she told me she was a huge Stevie Nicks fan, and was rapturous after seeing her in concert.
“A goddess, this woman is a goddess!” (The goddess also appeared on the popular and fabulously bizarre T.V. series American Horror Story: Coven. She played herself. Well, the fan fantasy version of herself, singing to the coven of witches. She was mesmerizing.)
A few years back, contemplating her enviably long career, Nicks said, “I never wanted to be just some ‘girl singer.'”
Stevie has talked now and then about writing her memoirs. On the one hand, she says she wants to wait until everybody who could be hurt “is too old, no longer cares,” about what she might reveal. On the other hand, she demurs on the basis of sex–she won’t write about her sex life, she insists! Well, why not keep up that mysterious quality? (Madonna she ain’t!)
Personally, Stevie Nicks admits she is still searching. (Young men are too dumb, older men are too, well, old!) But professionally, Stevie got her wish. She never was, never will be, just some “girl singer.”
Sitting in a suite at the top of one of the fanciest hotels in Manhattan, Stevie Nicks plays with a diamond-encrusted silver moon necklace. The charm was given to her by the father of a young woman named Sara, who Nicks met through the Make-A-Wish foundation in 2005. Sara died in 2008 of a rare type of cancer and Nicks dedicated her 2011 album In Your Dreams to her. “I need to wear this because it’s the 32 diamonds of the 32 shows she came to,” Nicks said, pressing her fingertips to the moon. “If you flip it, it’s a gold moon. It’s whatever you want it to be.”
It had been a month since Nicks released her most recent album, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault, comprised of unrecorded songs written between 1969 and 1995. “To me, these songs are the pieces of jewelry you put away in your special jewelry box and save and will someday give to your daughters,” she said, “or your fairy goddaughters or your nieces or the people you love that you will leave your jewelry to.”
At 66, Nicks is in the midst of some of the busiest years of her life. In the last 42 months, she released In Your Dreams and a documentary about its creation, toured endlessly with Fleetwood Mac, welcomed keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie back to the band, appeared on both NBC’s The Voice and FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, debuted 24 Karat Gold and opened a well-received exhibit of Polaroid self-portraits at the Morrison Hotel Gallery. With just a few days to spare in between show dates, Nicks came to New York to promote the record. She booked an appearance on “The Tonight Show,” a “Today” show spot and multiple interviews.
“I don’t want this record to die,” she said, leaning back in a massive armchair draped in a bath towel to calm her dust allergy. “These old hotels,” she said before arranging herself. The sun had set hours ago, but ombre sunglasses sat low on her nose. “When I made this record I didn’t know it was going to be what I consider one of the best record I’ve ever made. I was just doing it to fulfill an obligation to my record company.”
Recorded in Nashville, 24 Karat Gold was made in just 10 weeks, before Fleetwood Mac started rehearsals for the “On With The Show” tour. It’s a look back at Nicks’ storied past, dotted with allusions to former lovers and idols. “Mabel Normand” is her warning song against drugs. “Cathouse Blues” and “Lady” are specifically about her former lover and constant bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, whose shared history with Nicks could fill a book. Two tracks, “24 Karat Gold” and “Watch Chain,” were written about Mick Fleetwood, the six-foot-five Fleetwood Mac drummer whom Nicks had an affair with after she and Buckingham broke up. Fleetwood was married at the time, but is credited with introducing Nicks to the album’s namesake, 24-karat gold. She’d never seen that kind of metal before. “I was in love with Stevie, or the closest thing to knowing what that is,” Fleetwood said. “Who knows, I maybe bought her a few things of 24 karat. I hope I did.”
The songs were meant for the mothers and daughters who attend her concerts in matching, floor-length velvet coats. For the obsessive Stevie Nicks fan who goes to the Night of 1000 Stevies, the annual Stevie Nicks tribute party in New York City, like it’s church. For the American Horror Story fans who just discovered her witchy ways. For the diehard Fleetwood Mac fan who will listen to anything she writes because in a world where everything changes, Stevie Nicks is one constant.
“Any woman that is close with her would do anything for her.”
“My songs are just one continuation from beginning to end, from 1965 when I wrote my first song when I was 15,” Nicks said, “just kind of the same song, goes along and we twist it and scramble it and change it a little bit. I just tell a neverending story.”
Along the way, she’s invented a mythology that explains her extreme Stevie-ness. She sings about birds, horses and fantastical magical castles where Nicks, or perhaps her alter-egos Rhiannon or the Gold Dust Woman, lives, reincarnated in real-time. Her Victorian aesthetic — fitted velvet riding coats, long black skirts, top hats, platform boots and shawls (oh, those shawls!) — never changes. On stage she’s a force, twirling expertly with a tambourine, often in front of two ex-boyfriends. “There’s really such a thin veil between the everyday Stevie and the Stevie on the stage,” her close friend , singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton, said. “That is a testament to her really knowing who she is as a woman.”
Nicks’ influence on music is easily seen in bands like Haim, Destiny’s Child, Lady Antebellum and the Dixie Chicks. A long list of artists that includes Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Florence Welch and Courtney Love have spoken at length about how Nicks inspired them to be their own kinds of rock stars.
From where she stands now, arguably as rock and roll’s reigning queen, Nicks has found a greater role as mentor. From Carlton and Sheryl Crow to Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson and the Haim sisters, Nicks has created a coven, filled with disciples who aspire to the Stevie Nicks gospel: being emotionally direct in your work and the most honest version of yourself you can be.
“I’m looking for the great people, the legends,” she said. “These, I think, are legendary women. I want to do what I can do to help them stay on track.”
The one time I ever went to therapy,” Nicks said, sinking into her chair, “this lady said to me, ‘I think the saddest day of your life in a lot of ways was the day you joined Fleetwood Mac because you are such a caretaker. From that day on everybody wanted to take care of you and you didn’t really want that.’”
Nicks doesn’t drive, own a phone or a computer. Her assistant of 25 years, Karen Johnston, lives barely a mile from her in Los Angeles. She’s one of the biggest celebrities on the planet and has had to admit that, yes, she needs people to help her out. But her natural caretaking instincts kick in constantly. They fuel her desire to nurture relationships with the next generation of artists who are as dedicated to their crafts as she is to hers.
“She showed me how to put on a show,” Carlton said, referring to the North American leg of Nicks’ 2005 tour. That was the first time the two toured together. “As much as she herself is crafting and creating all of this stuff on her own, it’s really interesting to see how important the other element is to her, to serve and really entertain.”
The Haim sisters connected with Nicks for a T Magazine story and remembered having dozens of questions to ask her during the five-hour shoot. “We asked her, ‘Were you ever scared of the future? Were you ever worried about things?'” Alana Haim said. “And she said, ‘Honestly from the start, I knew exactly what I wanted and I walked into a room saying, This is who I am. This is what I want.'” They spoke at length about their music and Danielle Haim came away with Nicks’ biggest piece of advice: Don’t ever release a song you don’t believe in. “It was that song, ‘Reconsider Me,'” Alana said. “She was like, ‘No one could ever make me sing a song like that. I would never ask a man to reconsider me.’ We would never do that either.”
Any psychology student could muster up a connection between Nicks’ natural attraction to mentorship and not having kids. She’s quick to make the comparison herself, before waving the notion off. “But even if I had had a couple of daughters, I would still be doing this. I would still be looking around the music business or the arts business for people that I like and respect, that I think can carry on my tradition, which is just the tradition of simply being as great as you can be.”
“I feel like we maybe as a society have grown into what Stevie has always represented,” said New York Magazine reporter Jada Yuan, who wrote a profile of Nicks in 2013. “But there are so many women that are taking the path that she took, which was she found a love of music and she gave up being a mother and having a family to pursue something that she felt she had a greater purpose doing.”
For Nicks, her greater purpose lies in cultivation, in growth. “They know they can call me. I’m never far away,” she said. “I like to say a fairy godmother as opposed to a mom because I don’t become their moms. They have moms. They don’t need another mom, but maybe they need a fairy godmother.”
When I read that quote back to Carlton a few days later, she laughed. “That’s so Stevie. She very much looks at herself as a service to the people. I think that Stevie is like a sister to us. She feels more like an older sister to me than a mother.”
One word comes up in nearly every conversation about Stevie Nicks: generous.
“She’s a straight shooter,” Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield, who’s been writing about Nicks for 25 years, said. “It’s fascinating to hear her talk because it’s coming from the same place, same wild heart, so to speak, as her music.”
It’s the same kind of selflessness that she puts into her performances. If you buy tickets to a Stevie Nicks show, you know she will twirl, bring out a gold shawl and seem infinitely taller than her five-foot-one frame. “The first time we performed together,” her longtime guitar player and bandleader Waddy Wachtel said, “I told her, ‘You’re a rock and roller. I never knew that about you and I will never forget it.’”
After Yuan’s profile hit newsstands, Nicks dedicated “Landslide,” the fan-favorite Fleetwood Mac ballad, to her at a Jones Beach concert. “I cried,” Yuan said. “This is this incredibly generous act that somebody’s doing for me. That’s who she is. She knows what kind of impact that would have on me, for someone like her to do that for someone like me.”
Come Christmas, Nicks said she will fly back to New York to welcome Carlton’s new daughter with her husband, Deer Tick singer-guitarist John McCauley, whose wedding Nicks officiated. Last year, Carlton had emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. “It almost killed me,” she said. “Honestly, Stevie is the first one to get me on the phone before and after that surgery. She’s right there with a hilarious story making me laugh even though you’re on all these drugs in the hospital. That’s the kind of friend she is.”
“She makes you feel good,” Carlton added. “The biggest thing I’ve taken away from my time knowing Stevie is that warmth. It doesn’t take much and it’s really powerful.”
As we spoke, Nicks brought up a letter she had written to the Haim sisters. The T Magazine shoot was meaningful for both parties, and Nicks was eager to continue a relationship with Este, Danielle and Alana. “When I get back, I want to spend time with them,” she said. “I would love to make a record with them. I would love to go on tour with them. I would love to be a part of their lives because I think they’re the best of the best to come along in a long, long time. I think they’re going to be a major force in rock and roll.”
We asked Nicks to pick her favorite songs from newer artists. Here’s what she’s listening to these days.
At the end of their interview, Nicks gave each of the sisters (and their mother) a moon necklace, declaring them all Sisters of the Moon, a phrase taken from a 1979 Fleetwood Mac song by the same name. When performed, it’s known as the “speaking in tongues” song. Nicks becomes otherworldly, as if reaching out to gather her literal sisters of the moon. Nicks has given moons to Carlton, Gevinson and other people she’s fallen in love with over the years. “They deserve to have a moon. They deserve to have that inspiration and that little tip of my top hat to them to say I believe in you and I think that you’re amazing. So I’m telling you right now, you can have it all if you want it.”
“That moon necklace holds a lot of power,” Alana said. “Ever since I put it on, every single person I’ve met has been like, ‘Where did you get that necklace?’ People are drawn to the moon. I can’t express it.”
Nicks gave Carlton her moon a few weeks into their first tour together, and four years later “upgraded” it to a more solid gold one, Carlton remembered. “Jewelry holds energy so when you’ve worn something for five years it’s good to give it to your next person,” she said. “It’s her band of people. I think that’s what matters the most, connecting. Any woman that is close with her would do anything for her.”
Nicks didn’t have a true musical mentor in her early years. She was extremely close with her mother, who died suddenly after a bout with pneumonia in 2011, but her only female pseudo-role model came when she joined Fleetwood Mac. McVie, who was five years older, had experienced success and helped Nicks navigate the early stages of fame. “I did have a mentor and I did have somebody who was able to help me and be my friend, but understood that I was a really strong woman and that I didn’t need her to take care of me,” she said. “But did I have Stevie Nickses around to give me 24-karat moons or just the wisdom? No, I didn’t. I just had to figure it out … and I did figure it out.”
Last month, after Fleetwood Mac’s two-night Madison Square Garden run, I sat in my apartment with two friends rewatching old Stevie Nicks clips. Someone queued up the one where she doesn’t know she’s being filmed singing “Wild Heart” at a Rolling Stone cover shoot. I picked the one where she and Buckingham stare each other down on stage while singing “Silver Springs,” a song that can make your heart hurt just a little bit. We tried to pinpoint why we were all drawn to her, and came up with this: It was just music in the purest sense. You can love Stevie Nicks and her winding stories when you’re 8, 25 or 70 years old. Accessible and friendly, but dark and dramatic, Nicks’ music holds the answers to secret love affairs and bitter tragedies. She describes the scary parts of our world in ways we can understand: awe in “Seven Wonders,” innocence in “Edge of Seventeen,” courage in “Stand Back” and the comedown in “After The Glitter Fades.” “She has this confidence and magic,” Carlton said. “Her wings cannot be nailed down.”
“I want every woman in the world to meet her,” Alana Haim said. “After I met her, I’m telling you, I looked at the world a different way. She makes you feel like you’re a better person. Every time I see her I feel like I can lift a bus and throw it across the world.”
Stevie Nicks doesn’t care if her taste is “cool.” She likes what she likes: Twilight and NCIS, fairies and tiny dogs. She hasn’t changed her stage uniform in 40 years because she knows what looks best. She has lived on the brink of death, snorted enough cocaine to blow out her nose, gone to rehab twice, experienced great, tragic love stories, and lived to tell the tales in ways that rival the Pied Piper. “I got to sing, I got to dance/ I got to be a part of a great romance still forbidden, still outrageous,” she sings on “For What It’s Worth,” a song from In Your Dreams. It’s one of many Nicks songs that gets at the heart of human pain. She doesn’t apologize for broadcasting her emotions. She doesn’t have to. Neither do we.
“Maybe you don’t have the greatest voice in the world, but maybe you have the greatest soul in the world and your music is going to be spectacular because you just have so much soul,” Nicks said. “You might not be the best of the best, but you might be the one that’s famous.”
Legendary American singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks invites fashion designers and stylists across the world to design a show-stopping shawl inspired by her mystical visual style and symbolic lyrics.
Designers can submit a ready-made shawl design or a sketch. Both should include a written description about why they think this shawl would be appealing to Stevie Nicks. The selected artist will receive $2,000 of which they will be required to produce their final piece.
A professional photograph of Stevie Nicks wearing the shawl will be taken for the selected artist to include in their portfolio. The photograph and winner will receive an official feature on stevienicksofficial.com and across her social channels, potentially being seen by millions globally.
HOW STEVIE NICKS WILL CHOOSE
Stevie Nicks will select from all qualified submissions. A qualified submission is one which meets all the Terms & Conditions, Guidelines and Official Rules.
The community can support their favorite submissions through social voting via Facebook and Twitter. The artist with the largest public support will be chosen as the Community Choice.
CREATIVE INVITE GUIDELINES
This opportunity is open to global residents.
All entries must be original work of the participant (meaning not using third party pre-existing copyright materials) but can be pre-existing or created especially for this opportunity.
Participants must join Talenthouse using an active email address in order to ensure they can be contacted should they be selected.
Participants must have an up-to-date Talenthouse profile with a short description about themselves.
All submissions will feature as part of a global gallery with public voting on Facebook and Twitter.
When you look up Stevie Nicks on Urban Dictionary you get a list of results ranging from the the silly to the right on point. But in the 46 years since Stevie Nicks — the white witch, the singer/songwriter, the fashion icon, the “hottest older woman on the face of the earth,” and the performer — formed her first band Fritz with Lindsey Buckingham, the Fleetwood Mac singer has not left the cultural conversation. Here are some of the reasons why we love her so.
1. She appeared on American Horror Story.
There have always been rumors that Stevie Nicks was actually involved in witchcraft. And while she’s always denied the allegations, she’s apparently got a sense of humor about them: This year Nicks appeared on the TV show, American Horror Story: Coven where she played herself and was a part of Jessica Lange’s coven.
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2. She’s a fashion icon.
Nicks is the bohemian queen of the long flowing frocks and shawls to match, with her long locks bouncing as she spins around on stage. If she is your spirit animal and you are looking to dress like her, check out Free People to channel your inspiration. Last year she turned 65, and she still chooses to be decked out in knee-high platform black boots, fingerless gloves, and gorgeous dresses. “The Stevie Thing” has been a staple for quite some time now, and it’s refreshing to see that she has stuck with it for all these years.
3. She twirls.
Not much has to be explained for this one; the girl can twirl. If you watched American Horror Story, you got a lesson into how to do the perfect Stevie spin (I may be guilty of giving it a try once or twice myself). This signature move appears many times over the course of a performance or music video. She talked twirling with Vulture saying, “I do this thing at the end when the music’s going duh-duh-duh-duh-duh … to me it’s like the horses are running through the forest and the goddesses and gods are all there. It’s a really dramatic part, and when I perform ‘Rhiannon’ myself onstage, I always twirl to it and I love it…When you twirl, you want to look beautiful, you know? You want to have your hands up, and you definitely want to spot or you will get dizzy.” Paired with her flowing outfits, the twirl is the perfect move to showcase her look. See here.
4. She officiates weddings.
There must be something to this Stevie Nicks being so cool thing that people want to get in on. The past December Vanessa Carlton and John McCauley of Deer Tick tied the knot, and officiating the wedding was none other than Stevie Nicks! Adorned in a flower crown, like the bride, she married the two in a private ceremony. We hope she continues with this hobby.
5. She can take a joke.
South Park is known for busting the chops of many a celebrity alive or dead. So when Stevie Nicks the goat appeared on a Season Five episode, laughs were had. In an interview she stated, “You know, I like South Park, and I like the two guys that do it. I think they’re really funny and I think that they’re relevant…You know, they already did an episode kind of about me [a long time ago], and I got kidnapped by the Afghanistan people and they sent the army in to get me. Yes, I was a little goat in a cape. But who cares? It was hysterical. The fact is, they sent the whole army in to get me.“ The fact that Stevie Nicks can laugh at herself as a cartoon is just great whereas others haven’t responded as kindly (looking at you, Kim Kardashian).
6. She reunited with Fleetwood Mac.
The touring line-up consisted of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums — everyone minus Christine McVie. They toured all throughout 2013 playing “two hours and 40 minutes, every night — for 47 nights” with a possible 2014 tour in the works. And then something happened: Christine McVie, who wrote many of the bands hits, decided to rejoin the band. Keep your eyes peeled for tour updates.
7. She’s an amazing songwriter. Stevie Nicks is a very talented songwriter responsible for many hits. She was nominated for Songwriter’s Hall of Fame along with Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, and named one of Paste’s 100 Best Living Songwriters. Nicks has performed at the ceremony alongside with many other talented songwriters to showcase her talents. Nicks has written solo and with others but overall has quite a collection of songs under her belt.
8. She opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
Before joining Fleetwood Mac, Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were in a four-piece band together called Fritz. They had opened for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in the late ’60s when Nicks was just out of high school. She gives three nods of appreciation to Hendrix, Joplin and Grace Slick (of Jefferson Airplane) and says, “From those three people I got slinky, attitude and humility.”
9. She appeared in Sound City.
Dave Grohl made a documentary about the famous recording studio Sound City, in Los Angeles last year. Many artists have worked in that studio and have a fond memory of it, including Stevie Nicks. For the soundtrack of the movie Grohl compiled a band called the Sound City Players and played a bunch of songs with some very famous friends. Grohl and the Players played Letterman in anticipation of the movie release and played a cut off the album, “You Can’t Fix This,” with Stevie Nicks doing vocals. Watch below.
10. Her drama
Without the drama we wouldn’t have had 1977’s Rumours and many of the quintessential tracks the band has produced. The love affair between Nicks and Buckingham was intense, cocaine-ridden and messy. And he is not her only ex in the group. Mick Fleetwood was also connected with Ms. Nicks, and each night they would all go onstage and listen to Nicks belt out the raspy words to heartfelt songs with the two men who helped cause it playing beside her. All spats seem to have been put behind them as they continue to show audiences they still have it, one twirl at a time.
Stevie Nicks’s limousine is so huge that you can sit with your legs outstretched and still not bother the person in front of you. In this instance, it’s Nicks’s personal assistant, whose toes are about 12 inches from mine, and who’s eavesdropping on our interview and taking calls on what would now be a museum-piece mobile phone (this is the late ‘90s, after all).
The real Stevie Nicks: The white witch of rock ‘n’ roll Interview from 1997
Stevie Nicks’s limousine is so huge that you can sit with your legs outstretched and still not bother the person in front of you. In this instance, it’s Nicks’s personal assistant, whose toes are about 12 inches from mine, and who’s eavesdropping on our interview and taking calls on what would now be a museum-piece mobile phone (this is the late ‘90s, after all).
We are on our way to an airstrip, where Fleetwood Mac’s private plane is waiting to take them to Buffalo, New York. Nicks is sat next to me, dressed in black despite the blazing sunshine, and sipping a concoction of lemon and honey from a glass tumbler. “Oh, I could easily fallen for John,” she purrs, over the faint hum of the car’s engine and air conditioning. She is talking about Fleetwood Mac’s bassist John McVie. “It’s those eyes,” she adds.
Nicks has volunteered this information after learning that I spent most of the previous evening in the hotel bar with McVie. “Of course, John drinks too much,” says Stevie. Her assistant looks aghast. “Well, he does,” she protests. “Everybody knows it.”
Nicks’s vulnerability is what audiences loved from the start.
During our half-hour journey, Nicks is charming, gossipy and ridiculously candid. She discusses her past addictions (the prescription drug Klonopin, which “they gave me in the Betty Ford Clinic” was harder to get off than cocaine, apparently); ex-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham (“His girlfriend is so good for him. She’ll straighten him out”); and why she’s never had children (“This is the life I have chosen”). I’ve barely asked any questions.
Onstage, wafting about in her chiffon scarves and towering heels, Nicks comes across like a soft-rock version of some imperious Hollywood diva. Offstage, she is disarmingly down-to-earth.
Growing up, first in Phoenix, Arizona, then California, Nicks was close to her grandfather, a struggling country singer. His lack of success haunted her, and she struggled to shake off feelings of inadequacy when writing songs alongside the more experienced Buckingham and Christine McVie. That vulnerability is there in hits such as “Dreams” and “Sara,” and is something her audience adored about her from the start. Listen to Tango in the Night’s “When I See You Again.” She sounds like she’s singing from another planet. But that’s sort of what makes it so appealing.
The limo pulls up at the airstrip and Nicks waves goodbye. When I glance back, I see her hugging Mick Fleetwood. She looks like a small bird being wrapped in the wings of a much bigger bird. The limo drives me back to the crappy Holiday Inn in which I’ve been billeted. As I climb out, I notice the glass tumbler smeared with honey and lipstick jammed into the ledge of the door. I resist the temptation to take it as a memento. That would be too sad.
Mark Blake / Q / October 2013 (From “The High Times of Fleetwood Mac – 17-page collector’s special”)
Fashion is having a rebel moment. But long before maverick icons Grace Jones in black rubber, Courtney Love in ripped tights and lace, and Chrissie Hynde who cut her own hair and never removed her leather jacket, there was Stevie Nicks. ‘My whole life is a rebellious moment,’ she laughs – a long, throaty, mocking-the-world-laugh.
The look she invented for herself in the early Seventies was part Dickensian waif in raggedy chiffon and heavy boots, party romantic gypsy. At first, this came from her own wardrobe, but she later developed costumes with Californian designer Margi Kent. They made her look as if she inhabited an imaginary world of birds of paradise and fairies, but they were highly practical on stage: a leotard here, a floaty skirt and fringed scarf there. It is a look that still works for her now – deliberately so. ‘I planned to still be doing this when I’m 60. I wanted to make sure that what I wore then, I could wear at any age,’ she says. I suggest she should have started her own label. ‘I thought of doing a fashion line, but there would be a lot of work involved. I don’t have time.’ It’s a shame, as I’d certainly shop there. My entire wardrobe is stuffed with tops named Stevie. The black Stevie, the grey Stevie, the shimmery Stevie.
At 65, she’s still rocking the Stevie, too-today’s is wispy and black. I am in something almost identical, which she admires, examining the label so she can buy the same. This makes me very happy. I have always loved Stevie – her look, mystical fairy meets ethereal temptress; her voice raw, rippled with emotion. I love her fearlessness and I love the drama of her falling in love with so many rock stars.
This is actually the third time we have met. Today, we are sitting in a giant London hotel suite, decorated in muted and minimalist beige and grey – somewhat at odds with Stevie, who is most definitely maximalist. In the flesh she looks amazing – her hair still in thick, dirty-blonde cascades, her skin flawless. Her books, drawings and clothes are everywhere. She is here to promote the European leg of the reformed Fleetwood Mac tour – that they can still sell out stadiums (a total of 81 arena dates worldwide, in fact) almost 40 years after she joined the band is testament to the enduring power of their music, much of which Stevie wrote or co-wrote.
Clearly, I am not her only superfan. Forceful women love her and want to channel her – the goddess persona, the voice, the look. Courtney Love is especially obsessed. When I visited the first lady of grunge at home, I spotted a Stevie shrine sitting next to her Buddha shrine. The fact that Stevie Nicks has lived a thousand lives makes her a great dispenser of advice – her great friend Sheryl Crow phones when I am sitting there. She knows how to feel deeply, how to ache, and also knows how to cauterise that pain with a great song.
Since we first met in 2009, she has changed very little. She is always vibrant – her laugh, which starts as a low growl and heightens if she says something particularly hilarious, is exactly the same. If she talks about something sad, she seems to feel it only in that moment, then quickly moves on. Perhaps it’s this lack of baggage that means her face is plump, line-free and porcelain, although she attributes it to good genes. ‘I got my dad’s beautiful skin. But it’s also tough skin. He lived in Arizona and he was out in the sun all day.’ She smiles. The metaphor is deliberate. She has sensitive but tough skin.
Her relative lack of wrinkles can also be attributed to sun avoidance. ‘I stopped laying out in the sun when I was 30. Probably because we were doing drugs all night long and I was sleeping all day.’ Now, she slaps on the most expensive skin care she can find. ‘I use Crème de la mer at night. I can afford it. Plus, I never go to bed with make-up on and I do a little massage thing two or three times a day.’ She demonstrates by gently slapping her own face.
Botox is a no-go after a bad experience. ‘I did it in 2003, 10 days before Fleetwood Mac filmed Live in Boston. My eyebrows fell like this.’ She stretches them down and turns down her mouth like a revers smiley. ‘I would never do it again. It’s an ugly thing that changes your beautiful eyes. I looked like the sister of Satan.’
She talks quickly but regales stores at length, chronicling her life, album by album, and talking about relationships as if they were started to better serve her songs. Born in Arizona, her family later moved to San Francisco, and during her senior year in high school she met a brooding and Byronic Lindsey Buckingham. He was in a folk group, she was already writing songs – together, they formed a duo, Buckingham Nicks, and put out a record of the same name. It caught the attention of Mick Fleetwood, who, on New Year’s Eve 1974, invites them to join the already-successful Fleetwood Mac. The chemistry and dynamic of Fleetwood, plus the two couples – John and Christine McVie, Buckingham and Nicks – was explosive. When Nicks and Buckingham left their low-key life to move to LA and join the band, it must have felt like joining the circus. Or at least a soap opera. There were drugs, there was sex, there were feuds.
Stevie and Lindsey broke up while recording their Grammy-winning 1977 album Rumours, but the band didn’t split. The lyrics about love, losing it and finding it, became all the more emotive, making the album one of the biggest-selling of all time. But I’ve always thought her song was Landslide, which seems particularly poignant now. ‘Well, I’ve been afraid of changing / Cause I’ve built my life around you / But time makes you bolder / Children get older / I’m getting older too.’
She has earned $7 million from that song alone – and, as she wrote or co-wrote many other Fleetwood Mac songs, plus all her solo albums, Stevie’s estimated worth is now $65 million. The first time we met, four years ago at her home in Pacific Palisades, LA – enclave for superstars and the super-rich-she was clutching an envelope containing her latest royalty cheque. So this year’s reforming of the band certainly isn’t driven by cash – at least not for her. However, as Mick Fleetwood went bankrupt in the 1980’s, she says, ‘He could certainly use the money.’
Her house was large and comfortable, but perhaps less ornate than you’d expect. The art on the walls had a mystical bent and the bedroom was draped in silks and taffetas. Her walk-in dressing room was filled with lace and lingerie. It smelled of perfume, at the same time woody and floral. Into the giant American kitchen that looked like it had been cooked in, scampered Sulamith, a tiny Yorkshire terrier in a blue knitted coat. Her assistant informed me in a concerned tone that Stevie had thought her dog suffered from alopecia. Only after spending thousands on therapy in the belief it was caused by stress, did she find out that a Chinese crested dog, an entirely bald breed, had taken a fancy to Sulamith’s mother. The frisky pair produced this Chinese Yorkie, whose face is framed with a golden brown fringe, much like Stevie’s.
Stevie was not embarrassed at all by this. Actually, she’s not embarrassed by anything. She doesn’t do regrets, living completely in the moment. After all, if she thought too much about it, she may not have had the roll call of rock-star lovers that were in the same band. If she felt passionate, she just went for it, not caring about shredded egos and imploding friendships.
Breaking up with Buckingham but still having to write songs with him in Fleetwood Mac must have felt like a strange sort of incest. He wrote Go Your Own way about her and she is still writing songs about him. ‘The beginning of our relationship was the best time of our lives. Still, in every song I write there’s a line or two about Lindsey. He is my great musical love. He is like Johnny Cash to my June Carter. You can get to a state of mind where you can be happy, but it will always be difficult. You can find a good thing and you can be sad that you can’t be together.’ They always knew how to wind each other up, she says. Still do. ‘I just don’t think we will ever be friends,’ she concludes. And yet they will have spent almost every day together for the best part of this year.
Life could have been very different if they’d stayed together in San Francisco playing fold clubs. ‘I ironed his jeans and sewed moons and stars on them, and made the house beautiful. I was the cleaning lady. Then we joined Fleetwood Mac and moved to LA and he became very jealous. I was trustworthy but he didn’t trust me, so he tortured me every day until I ended up having an affair.’
That affair was with another man called Lindsey, who worked in a friend’s restaurant. Then there was Mick Fleetwood. She says it wasn’t out of revenge that she started the affair – they just fell in love. He left her for a friend called Sara. It was a powerhouse woman move to fall in love with two members of the same group – as if she wanted to prove to herself that her love is stronger than any band. And then she did it again with two members of the Eagles – Don Henley and Joe Walsh – in the early 1980’s. ‘Joe was a big rock star. Maybe he was the love of my life. Although I change who I think were the great loves of my life all the time.’
She and Walsh were together from 1983-1986. They did not write songs together – they took drugs. ‘I don’t know what my relationship with Joe would have been like sober. I remember days of misery waiting by the phone; me in my house, with him saying, “I’m going to visit you.” I would kick everyone out because I just wanted to be with him, and not a phone call, nothing.’ Why did she put up with it – she was one of the biggest female stars in the world? ‘Because I was in love with him,’ she says in an isn’t-that-obvious tone. ‘I wouldn’t now. But we were doing a lot of drugs and drugs make you needy.’ She pauses. ‘And who wants needy?’
She tells me about one day when Joe put the phone down on her and she thought they had just broken up. The next day, she went to see the Eurythmics and Dave Stewart asked if she had a boyfriend. ‘I said no. So Dave Stewart came back to my house and we spent the night together. But the next morning, I panicked. I threw him out of the bed and I started dressing him. All this leather! All these chains that I was threading through!’
She and Joe did get back together, but he disappeared for good a few months later. ‘He told my friend he’d gone to Australia because he’s a coward. He said, “Tell Stevie I’m going because both of us are doing so much coke that one of us is going to die.” She was left broken-hearted – and, thanks to her addiction, with a hole in her nose so big that, legend has it, she could loop a belt through it. This, she says, is not quite true, but ‘If I wanted to put a gold ring through it I could. A gold ring with diamonds!’ She was addicted to cocaine for around a decade – Fleetwood Mac’s album credits famously feature a ‘thanks’ to their dealer – and she has estimated she spent over $1 million on the drug.
If it hadn’t been for Joe dumping her, she would never had ended up getting clean in the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs in 1986. When she came out, friends avoided cocaine around her – ‘I thought that whole world had stopped but it turns out they were just being respectful’ – and some persuaded Stevie to see a doctor to keep her sober. She now dearly wishes they hadn’t. He kept upping my dose and I was shaking so hard, I thought I had Parkinson’s.’ One day, she made her assistant take the pills so she could see the effects and the assistant passed out, so she came off the drugs immediately, checking herself into hospital. ‘I stayed there for 47 days. It made the cocaine detox look like a walk in the park. But I came out the other end shining, with a new lease on life.’
Those years took their toll though – Stevie says she lost most of her 40’s, and some of her looks, to the drug. ‘Eight years of my life gone, my last vestige of youth ripped away. At least I still had a brain with coke.’ Her hair turned grey and her weight ballooned to 12 stone – she’s only 5ft 1in. She was also robbed of her last child-bearing years. One wonders if the overindulged with its extensive wardrobe and therapy is a maternal outlet.
Stevie seems to have changed her mind about having children throughout her life. She once said, ‘If I were to get pregnant, I would have to stop being an over-achiever, get more rest, eat well, take my vitamins.’ But she also told me, ‘I don’t regret never having children because I wanted this life. I would have been jealous if my baby had to be turned over to a succession of nannies. I suppose I didn’t want to give up my career.’
Her maternal instincts perhaps peaked when her best friend Robin Snyder died of Leukaemia in 1982, leaving behind tow-day-old baby Matthew. She married Robin’s husband Kim Anderson in the hope that they could recreate a family unit but the marriage was dissolved a few months later. She now calls the whole thing ‘insanity’, and says her friend would not have wanted Stevie to break her widower’s heart.
She says she could have had her own family with Lindsey if they’d stayed in San Francisco. ‘Lindsey just wanted a nice woman and children. If we had not pursued our career, we could have made it as a couple. He would sometimes say, “I don’t care how much money we made or how famous we were. All Fleetwood Mac did was break us up and that was the thing I held most dear.’”
Was that the thing she held most dear? ‘No,’ she says, perhaps a little too quickly. ‘I really am happy. I love my life. I made a choice a long time ago about what was going to be most important and that was my music and my art. My life’s been a dream come true but still, I always look to the future. And I think my life is going to be way beyond anything I’ve done now.’
Stevie Nicks claims Botox is “an ugly thing” she will never have again. The Fleetwood Mac singer insists she will never turn to the wrinkle-defying injection again after a bad experience. Stevie remembers how the product changed the features of her face in a dramatic way.
Stevie Nicks claims Botox is “an ugly thing” she will never have again.
The Fleetwood Mac singer insists she will never turn to the wrinkle-defying injection again after a bad experience. Stevie remembers how the product changed the features of her face in a dramatic way.
“I did it in 2003, ten days before Fleetwood Mac filmed Live in Boston. My eyebrows fell like this,” she recalled to the British edition of Elle magazine while pulling a face. “I would never do it again. It’s an ugly thing that changes your beautiful eyes. I looked like the sister of Satan.”
Stevie has changed her lifestyle dramatically since finding fame with the band in the 1970s. She especially avoids sitting out in the sun, which was a pastime of her late father.
“I got my dad’s beautiful skin. But it’s also tough skin. He lived in Arizona and he was out in the sun all day. I stopped lying out in the sun when I was 30. Probably because we were doing drugs all night long and I was sleeping all day,” she admits.
The 65-year-old musician relies on her beauty routine to keep her youthful looks. One product she can’t live without is a moisturiser by luxury beauty brand Crème de la Mer.
“I use Crème de la Mer at night. I can afford it. Plus, I never go to bed with make-up on and I do a little massage thing two or three times a day,” she added.
Photographer Melissa Brendish has created a series of original black and photographs inspired by Stevie Nicks and her songwriting. In her blog ‘in the stillness of remembering,’ Brendish captures the beauty and mood of some of Stevie’s most haunting song lyrics in beautiful still photography. The project will culminate with a portrait of Stevie taken by the photographer.
All the best rock stars have their trademark stage moves. From Chuck Berry’s rhythmic “duck walk” to Roger Daltrey’s swinging mic routine to the late Michael Jackson’s gravity-defying moonwalk, the greatest performers know exactly what it takes to put on the most memorable stage show. The Queen of Rock herself, Stevie Nicks, is no different on her mission to leave the crowd visually spellbound at each show. Here are 10 of Stevie’s best kinetic onstage moments over the years.
All the best rock stars have their trademark stage moves. Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and pop singer Christina Aguilera are certainly aware of the attention that these singular moves command, having sung about “Moves Like Jagger” in the summer of 2011. From Chuck Berry’s rhythmic “duck walk” to Roger Daltrey’s swinging mic routine to the late Michael Jackson’s gravity-defying moonwalk, the greatest performers know exactly what it takes to put on the most memorable stage shows. The Queen of Rock herself, Stevie Nicks, is no different on her mission to leave the crowd visually spellbound at each show. Here are 10 of Stevie’s best kinetic onstage moments over the years.
10. Air guitar, drums, keyboards…
Who doesn’t want to play guitar, drums, or keyboards like a rock star? Granted, Stevie is already an established rock star who has nothing more to prove, so this spectacle is unnecessary. But a girl can still dream, like in this clip, in which Stevie’s gets so lost in air keyboards that she misses her vocal cue to start “Rhiannon.”
9. Shake those maracas! – “Sara” (skip to 1:20)
This is a relatively new stage move that Stevie introduced during the instrumental breaks in “Sara.” It’s kind of tribal at first glance, as Stevie raises her arms up high and shakes her hands like maracas. She even varied it in latter tours by walking backwards. At 65, that takes coordination!
8. Crouching Stevie, Hidden Dragon (skip to 5:20)
There’s something imposing about this great stance, like something serious is about to happen. Stevie digs her feet in, assumes the position, and just lets loose, like in this unforgettable performance of “Rhiannon” from Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 Mirage tour.
7. “Say You Will” Lasso dance (skip to 0:48)
The “Say You Will” lasso dance has arguably been Stevie’s most elaborate stage move because it involves so many steps. So here’s the breakdown, with lyrical cues in parentheses:
1) Face forward and start singing, “Say you will, say you will…,”
2) point your index finger up (“Give me one more chance…”),
3) open your hands, bend your arms and spread them to the side (“At least give me time…”),
4) shake your hands in disapproval (…to change your mind”),
5) place your arms to the side, raise them up, extend them to the center (“It always seem to heal the wounds if I can…”), and finally
6) put your left arm on your hip and wave an invisible lasso overhead with your right hand. (“…get you to dance.”)
Got it? It’s OK if you didn’t because, fortunately, we have a video tutorial. Front row fans realized that once they got the steps down, they could mimic the lasso dance at the shows. And they did just that!
6. “Happy Feet Hoedown” – “Angel” (skip to 8:10)
Mylie Cyrus may have popularized the move, but she’s got nothing on Stevie’s version of the hoedown throwdown, complete with happy feet. Adorable.
5. Graceful spinning – “Gypsy” (skip to 3:47)
She is dancing away from you now…and spinning! Stevie introduced this continuous spinning move during The Dance. It’s slower than another great spinning move that she’s known for (coming up!), but the speed is just right for the midtempo “Gypsy.” Donning a beautifully layered black dress with long, flowing sleeves, Stevie exudes elegance and grace with each turn.
4. Interpretive dancing – “Gold Dust Woman” (skip to 8:25)
Nothing captures Stevie’s mystical charm like the series of moves she has put together for “Gold Dust Woman.” There have been variations on this interpretive dance over the years, and every time we see it, we are simply entranced.
3. Marching high kick – “Gold and Braid” (skip to 2:54)
Fan often pay homage to this memorable stage move at tribute parties. But most fans will turn to this familiar performance from the 1981 White Winged Dove Tour to rekindle fond memories of marching high kicks and flying tambourines. Unfortunately, Stevie no longer performs the move (or song) onstage, otherwise it would be higher on this list. But seeing the clip over again continues to make fans nostalgic.
2. “Stand Back” high kick
Stevie performs the “Stand Back” high kick so fast that you could literally blink and miss it. But it is a sight to behold. Stevie has mentioned in interviews that she has always been incredibly limber, boasting that she can do the full splits in a heartbeat. While we’ve never seen Stevie throw down the full splits in performance, the “Stand Back” high kick is the next best thing. (To see Stevie doing a full split, watch the opening scene of the “Gypsy” video.) If you pumped your fist in pride when Daniel LaRusso of The Karate Kid (aka “Daniel-san”) performed the winning “Crane Technique,” against his formidable competitor, then you will be knocked out when Stevie does her stage-right “Stand Back” high kick.
1. “Stand Back” spinning (skip to 5:05)
It’s probably no surprise that Stevie’s best stage moves happen in “Stand Back,” the pulsating highlight of Stevie’s live shows. The infectious beats and ominous synth notes just command energy and movement. Though her spinning velocity may vary from tour to tour, fans roar in approval whenever Stevie puts herself into motion. It’s a happy moment for everyone.