Following on from the biographies of ’60s and ’70s musical legends, Chloë Moloney gives us an insight into the musical powerhouse that is Stevie Nicks.
Stevie Nicks has become a cultural icon for millions of listeners around the world. Between her solo albums, music with Lindsey Buckingham and chart-topping hits with Fleetwood Mac, Nicks was an overnight sensation. Known for her mystical nature and allegorical lyrical genius, Nicks is a figurehead for the most driving and compelling of 70s music. The stories behind her songs shed light on a most tumultuous and thrilling life, with this American singer-songwriter often and so-rightfully heralded as the Queen of Rock and Roll.
Stephanie Lynn Nicks was born on the 26th of May, 1948. Her father a corporate executive and her mother a housewife, the Nicks family were constantly on their feet — moving between Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and California. It was when the Nicks family moved to Palo Alto, however, that Nicks met guitarist Lindsay Buckingham. The two became both musically and romantically involved, forming a duo named Buckingham Nicks, and going on to secure a deal with Polydor Records. Their first album was not a commercial success, despite the live shows in support of the record, and Buckingham Nicks were subsequently dropped from the label. After the fall of their album, Nicks worked as a waitress, a maid, a cleaner and a dental assistant in an attempt to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, British band Fleetwood Mac were on a quest to find a new member, after the original guitarist Bob Welch departed to pursue a solo career. After the producer Keith Olsen played the track ‘Frozen Love’ to Fleetwood Mac’s drummer Mick Fleetwood, the group reached out to Buckingham about joining the group. Despite Buckingham’s initial reservations about joining, saying to Fleetwood that he and Stevie Nicks were ‘a package deal’, it was Nicks who encouraged him to jump headfirst into the group — which resulted in unparalleled success for the couple. The two joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, thus transforming the group from British to Anglo-American. Yet, regarding the unquestionable whirlwind in store for Nicks and Buckingham, it is undeniable that they were wildly unprepared.
Aside from the musical and monetary success of Fleetwood Mac, like many groups of the golden era life certainly threw some challenges at the members. However, the stories and disasters that rocked Fleetwood Mac remain unparalleled in their disbelief. It was primarily narcotics which harrowingly plagued the group. As reported by Rolling Stone magazine, ‘cocaine played such a major role in the production of Rumours that the band seriously considered thanking their drug dealer in the album credits’. Stevie Nicks was also severely troubled by the drug, and became ghostly and absent as a result of its tormenting effects. She has stated in an episode of Oprah’s Master Class that she used to ‘carry a gram of cocaine in [her] boot at all times’.
The relationship between Buckingham and Nicks in particular was dangerously fraught. The two musicians were anchored in their constant fighting and battling, with the couple chiefly taking out their anger in the tracks which make up the album, Rumours. According to anecdotal evidence, during the recording of ‘You Make Loving Fun’ the couple would scream verbal abuse at each other in between takes.
Putting aside the incessantly burdening troubles of Fleetwood Mac which haunted them throughout their career, the albums which the group went on to produce after their merge with Buckingham Nicks are astoundingly superlative. With songs such as ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Rhiannon’ and their most notable album Rumours, this band have deservedly gone down in musical history. One of the most popular rock bands of all time, the group have sold over 100 million records around the world — making them one of the best-selling groups ever.
Stevie Nicks’ solo path is equally as impressive, having sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Launching her own career in 1981, her debut album Bella Donna reached number one and six of her albums were in the US top ten. Nicks has unsurprisingly inspired numerous artists such as Beyoncé, Mary J Blige, Taylor Swift, the Dixie Chicks, Courtney Love and Echosmith.
Overall, it cannot be denied that Stevie Nicks and her musical journey have been beautifully startling. Nicks’ sombre predicaments have given her music a raw and gritty edge, which continually manages to touch her audiences in the most profound of ways.
Stevie Nicks will be performing alongside Fleetwood Mac in their 2018 Farewell tour.
For more information on Stevie Nicks, go to her website: https://www.stevienicksofficial.com