“Stevie Nicks…Till the Sound of My Voice Will Haunt You”

“It’s really hard when you break up with somebody, or somebody breaks up with you, and you’re in this band; guess who you have to see in the next day in the hotel in the breakfast room? That person”. Stevie Nicks

Stephanie Lynn “Stevie” Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer and songwriter who in the course of her work with Fleetwood Mac and her extensive solo career

Nicks was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, to Jess Nicks, former president of Greyhound’s Armour-Dial and Barbara Nicks, a homemaker. Nicks’ grandfather, Aaron Jess Nicks, a struggling country music singer, taught Nicks to sing, performing duets with her by the time she was four years old.

“By the time I was five, I was a little diva”. Stevie Nicks

Nicks’ mother was very protective of her, keeping her at home “more than most people were” and fostering in her a love of fairy tales.

“Being able to take care of myself is something that my mom really instilled in me”. Stevie Nicks

As a young child, Nicks had difficulty pronouncing her given name Stephanie, instead pronouncing it “tee-dee”, which became the nickname, “Stevie”.

Her father’s career as a food business executive necessitated frequent moves, and the family lived in Phoenix, Albuquerque, El Paso, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco during Nicks’ youth. With the Goya guitar that she received for her sixteenth birthday, Nicks wrote her first song called “I’ve Loved and I’ve Lost, and I’m Sad But Not Blue.”

“It was my 16th birthday – my mom and dad gave me my Goya classical guitar that day. I sat down, wrote this song, and I just knew that that was the only thing I could ever really do – write songs and sing them to people”. Stevie Nicks

She spent her adolescence playing records constantly, and existing in her “own little musical world”.She joined her first band, “The Changing Times”, while attending Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California

Nicks first met her future musical and romantic partner, Lindsey Buckingham, during her senior year at Menlo Atherton High School. She was attending a high school party and saw Buckingham playing “California Dreamin'”, and joined in with the harmony.

Buckingham contacted Nicks a few years later and asked her to join him and his bandmates, Javier Pacheco and Calvin Roper, in a band called Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band.

Fritz became popular as a live act from 1968 until 1972, opening for popular musicians Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin – both of whom Nicks credits as inspiring her own stage intensity and performances – among others, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I watched Janis one time – we opened for her – and that’s the only time I ever saw her. We opened for Jimi Hendrix. I got to stand on the side of the stage and watch him for two hours and then he died. But I got the essence before they left”. Stevie Nicks

After Fritz disbanded in 1972, Nicks and Buckingham continued to write and record as a duo, producing demo tapes at the coffee plant belonging to Buckingham’s father, Morris. They then secured a deal with Polydor Records, which used tracks from their demo tapes to release the album “Buckingham Nicks” in 1973.

The album was not a commercial success, despite the live shows that Nicks and Buckingham performed together to support it, and Polydor dropped the pair from the label.

Nicks and Buckingham moved in with Richard Dashut in 1972. While there, Buckingham landed a guitar playing gig with the Everly Brothers, and toured with them while Nicks stayed behind working on songs. During this time, Nicks wrote “Rhiannon” after seeing the name in the novel Triad by Mary Leader.

She also wrote “Landslide”, inspired by the scenery of Aspen, and her inner turmoil over her decision to pursue music and her relationship with Buckingham:

“I realized then that everything could tumble, and when you’re in Colorado, and you’re surrounded by these incredible mountains, you think avalanche. It meant the whole world could tumble around us and the landslide would bring you down.” Stevie Nicks

“Everybody seems to think that I wrote this song about them…and my dad, my dad did have something to do with it, but he absolutely thinks that he was the whole complete reason it was ever written. I guess it was about September 1974, I was home at my dad and mom’s house in Phoenix, and my father said, ‘You know, I think that maybe… you really put a lot of time into this [her singing career], maybe you should give this six more months, and if you want to go back to school, we’ll pay for it…Lindsey and I went up to Aspen, and we went to somebody’s incredible house, and they had a piano, and I had my guitar with me, and I went into their living room, looking out over the incredible, like, Aspen sky way, and I wrote andslide…three months later, Mick Fleetwood called.” Stevie Nicks

Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac on January 1, 1975 after Keith Olsen played their track “Frozen Love” for drummer Mick Fleetwood, who had come to Sound City in California, in search of a studio to record Fleetwood Mac’s next album. Fleetwood remembered Buckingham’s guitar work after guitarist Bob Welch’s departure to pursue a solo career.

Initially extending the offer only to Buckingham, Fleetwood later included Nicks in the offer when Buckingham insisted that he and Nicks were “a package deal.”

In 1975, the band achieved success with the album Fleetwood Mac. Nicks’ “Rhiannon”, which appeared on the album. Her live performances of the song throughout the decade began to take on a theatrical intensity not present on the album’s single. The song built to a climax in which Nicks’ vocals were so impassioned that Mick Fleetwood declared, “her Rhiannon in those days was like an exorcism.”

“If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear?” Stevie Nicks

Also in 1975, Nicks worked with clothing designer Margi Kent to develop Nicks’s unique onstage look, with costumes that featured flowing skirts, shawls and platform boots

“I think they all went too far. Their jeans got too low, their tops got too see-through. Personally, I think that sexy is keeping yourself mysterious. I’m really an old-fashioned girl, and I think I’m totally sexy”. Stevie Nicks

Rumours

Following the success of Fleetwood Mac, increasing tension between Nicks and Buckingham began to take its toll on their creativity, and Nicks ended the relationship. Fleetwood Mac began recording their follow-up album, Rumours, in early 1976 and continued until late in the year.

Among Nicks’s contributions to Rumours was “Dreams”, which became the band’s only Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit single to date.

Nicks told Mojo magazine (January 2013): “‘Dreams’ and ‘Go Your Own Way’ are what I call the ‘twin songs.’ They’re the same song written by two people about the same relationship.”

Silver Springs

Stevie Nicks wrote this song after her breakup with Lindsey Buckingham, the band’s guitarist and her long time boyfriend. She wanted to make sure he would never forget about her: “I’ll follow you down till the sound of my voice will haunt you.” In 2009, she told Rolling Stone: “It was me realizing that Lindsey was going to haunt me for the rest of my life, and he has.”

You could be my silver spring
Blue green colors flashing
I would be your only dream
your shining armour, ocean crashing
And did you say she was pretty
And did you say she loves you
Baby I don’t wanna know

I begin not to love you
Turn around, see me running
I say I love you years ago
Tell myself you never loved me….no
And did you say she was pretty
And did you say she loves you
Baby I don’t wanna know….oh no
And can you tell me was it worth it
Really I don’t wanna know

Time cast it’s spell on you
But you won’t forget me
I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me

Time cast it’s spell on you
But you won’t forget me
I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me

I’ll follow you down
Till the sound of my voice will haunt you
You’ll never get away
From the sound of the woman that loves you
I’ll follow you down
Till the sound of my voice will haunt you

Was I just a fool…You’ll never get away
From the sound of the woman that loved you
Was I just a fool…I’ll follow you down
Till the sound of my voice will haunt you
give me just a chance
(you’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you)
never get away
never get away
never get away
You could be my silver spring
Blue green colors flashing

It’s obviously a song from Stevie to Lindsey, about his marriage, and after all these years, and the conversation she had with him (which she calls the 8 hourTalk) clearing the air since 1967; finally and regretfully, yet with some humor (in the way she asks the questions and immediately says she doesn’t wanna know), as well as his smile thoughout. Maybe more of a combination smirk with regret. But she declares her love:

“During this song’s performance on Fleetwood Mac’s 1994 DVD The Dance, halfway through the song while singing, Stevie turns towards Lindsay and appears to be singing directly to him. It was as if she was reminding him who the song was about. Once they locked eyes, you could see and feel the emotions they must have felt many years ago when they dated and eventually broke up. A very intense moment”. (Dave – Philly, PA – songfacts)

This was bumped off the Rumors album by another song Nicks wrote called “I Don’t Want To Know,” which the rest of the band liked better and fit better on the album because it was shorter. Stevie was very upset with the decision and considered refusing to sing “I Don’t Want To Know” in protest.

Go Your Own Way

Lindsey Buckingham wrote this as a message to Stevie Nicks. It describes their breakup, with the most obvious line being, “Packing up, shacking up is all you want to do.” Stevie insisted she never shacked up with anyone when they were going out, and wanted Lindsey to take out the line, but he refused. Stevie Nicks told Q magazine June 2009: “It was certainly a message within a song. And not a very nice one at that.”

This was the first single from the Rumours album, which became one of the best-selling of all time.

“‘Go Your Own Way’s’ rhythm was a tom-tom structure that Lindsey demoed by hitting Kleenex boxes or something. I never quite got to grips with what he wanted, so the end result was my mutated interpretation. It became a major part of the song, a completely back-to-front approach that came, I’m ashamed to say, from capitalising on my own ineptness. There was some conflict about the ‘crackin’ up, shackin’ up’ line, which Stevie felt was unfair, but Lindsey felt strongly about. It was basically, On your bike, girl!” Mick Feetwood

In November 1977, after a New Zealand concert for the Rumours tour, Nicks and Fleetwood, who was married to Jenny Boyd, secretly began an affair.

“Never in a million years could you have told me that would happen,” Nicks has stated. “Everybody was angry, because Mick was married to a wonderful girl and had two couldn’t possibly work out. And it didn’t. I just couldn’t.” 

She has also stated that had the affair progressed, it “would have been the end of Fleetwood Mac”. Soon after, in October 1978, Mick Fleetwood left his wife for Nicks’ best friend Sara Recor.

“Men are going to go out on the road and they’re going to find other women. So if you really want to save yourself a whole lot of heartache, do not fall in love with somebody in a band. Just don’t”. Stevie Nicks

“For 70 nights, right across America, I’ve been getting out there with two ex-lovers and we’ve been playing songs which are so specific about each of us, you just wouldn’t know. We’re friends now but we can’t forget what happened between us”. Stevie Nicks

After the success of the Rumours album and tour in 1977 to 1978, Fleetwood Mac began recording their third album with Buckingham and Nicks, Tusk, in the spring of 1978. That year, Nicks sang back-up on virtually every track of Not Shy, recorded by musician Walter Egan, a friend of both Nicks and Buckingham. One track, “Magnet & Steel”, prominently featured Nicks on back-up vocals and became a hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the summer of 1978.

 

“When you’re rich and famous you are the dominant force in a relationship, even if you try hard not to be. I’ve talked of sacrificing everything for Fleetwood Mac, but I realize now that it is simply the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do”. Stevie Nicks

By 1978, Nicks had amassed a large backlog of songs dating back to her Buckingham Nicks days that she had been unable to record and release with Fleetwood Mac because of the constraint of having to accommodate three songwriters on each album. Nicks wrote and recorded demos for a solo project during Tusk sessions in 1979 and the Tusk world tour of 1979–80.

Nicks recorded the hit duets “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Kenny Loggins in 1978

and “Gold” with John Stewart in 1979.

Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk was released on October 19, 1979. During 1981, Nicks made occasional guest appearances with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their Hard Promises tour. 1981 – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”


Nicks first solo album, Bella Donna, was released on July 27, 1981 to critical and commercial acclaim, reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with four singles making the Billboard Hot 100, and Rolling Stone deeming her “The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll”.

Bella Donna

Nicks’ only marriage was to Kim Anderson, the widower of her friend Robin Anderson. They married in 1983 soon after Robin Anderson died of leukemia and while the Bella Donna album was on the top of the charts. “I was determined to take care of [Robin’s] baby, so I said to Kim, ‘I don’t know, I guess we should just get married.”

Nicks and Anderson soon divorced after only a few months: “We didn’t get married because we were in love, we got married because we were grieving and it was the only way that we could feel like we were doing anything.” Years after their divorce, she reunited with her stepson when he was a teenager, putting him through college, and she has maintained contact with him ever since.

Nicks has said that she consciously chose not to have children of her own, due to her demanding career and desire to follow her art wherever it should take her: “My mission maybe wasn’t to be a mom and a wife; maybe my particular mission was to write songs to make moms and wives feel better.” She finds maternal fulfillment through her niece, godchildren, and extended family: “I have lots of kids. It’s much more fun to be the crazy auntie than it is to be the mom, anyway.”

Nicks has maintained a journal nearly every day since Fleetwood Mac began:

“I like to tell all my fairy goddaughters and my niece that when I’m gone they can sit on the floor and go through all these journals, and they can walk through my life, and they can smell the gardenia perfume on the pages. They can have it in their hands, who I was.”

Regarding a book based on her life, she has said, “I wouldn’t write a book unless I could really tell the truth, and say all the people are in it are represented right…If I’m gonna talk about all the people in my life, I need to be old enough and so do they, that nobody’s gonna care…I would never write a book about the bad parts. I would mostly revel in the fantastic parts, of which there were so many.”

Studio albums

Bella Donna (1981)

The Wild Heart (1983)


Rock a Little (1985)
The Other Side of the Mirror (1989)
Street Angel (1994)
Trouble in Shangri-La (2001)
In Your Dreams (2011)
24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault (2014)

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