By Allie Mcglone
Stephanie Lynn “Stevie” Nicks first stepped into the public eye with her role in classic rock band Fleetwood Mac. She entered the band with then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, joining Mick Fleetwood and Christine and John McVie. Stevie worked with them from 1975 to 1992, and sang on hits such as “Seven Wonders,” “Dreams,” and “Gold Dust Woman.” Stevie’s music was characterized by the smooth, deep lilt of her voice. She spun around the rock and roll scene in her signature shawls, flowing dresses and top hats, tambourine in hand. Stevie’s career redefined rock and roll, and challenged its male-dominated nature.
Stevie wrote a song titled “Silver Springs” for Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours. During this period, the band was experiencing the drama of rampant drug use and collapsing relationships, and tension embroiled its members. In Silver Springs, Stevie sings to Lindsey Buckingham through the turmoil of their derailing relationship, imploring him to listen to her and telling him, “you will never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.” The song was not released on Rumours, and was instead used as a B-side for Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way.” For years, the song was not put out or performed. “I never thought that ‘Silver Springs’ would ever be performed on stage (again),” Stevie admitted in an interview with MTV in 1997. “My beautiful song just disappeared.”
Following her split with Buckingham, Stevie stayed with Fleetwood Mac for many years. She had a spellbinding ability to write songs that beautifully expressed her emotions. One of the band’s first and most famous songs, “Landslide,” is a reflection of this talent. It paints a picture of her feelings towards Buckingham and her continued singing career in the midst of a time when both were uncertain, as well as the Colorado landscape in which she was immersed while writing it. In “Sara,” Stevie sings about her unplanned and subsequently terminated pregnancy with Don Henley. “Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara,” she disclosed in a 2014 Billboard interview. “Sara” says a lot about Stevie’s feelings towards the pregnancy, and its emotional toll on her. “There’s a heartbeat,” she tells us, “and it never really died.” Stevie’s strong connection to her music was also evident in her performances. She gave such intense renditions that Mick Fleetwood has said of one of Stevie’s signature songs, “her ‘Rhiannon’ in those days was like an exorcism.”
There were numerous sources of friction in Fleetwood Mac through the years, from the aforementioned failing relationships and excessive drug use, to logistical disagreements and oddly constructed love triangles. However, the final incident that caused Stevie to leave the band took place in 1992. Mick Fleetwood blocked Stevie from including “Silver Springs” on her 1992 anthology, “TimeSpace,” due to his own plans to release it later in the band’s career. She left Fleetwood Mac shortly afterward.
Throughout and following her involvement with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie had a rich solo career. On her own, she released iconic songs such as “Rooms on Fire,” “Bella Donna,” and “Edge of Seventeen.” She collaborated with several other well known artists of the era, including Don Henley on “Leather and Lace” and Tom Petty on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Stevie released a total of eight solo studio albums and one live album. Adding this to her work with Fleetwood Mac and other groups, Stevie’s discography totals thirty-six albums. She also sang backup for artists including Walter Egan and Kenny Loggins.
In 1997, Fleetwood Mac took the stage in Burbank, California for a reunion performance titled “The Dance.” The band performed “Silver Springs” for the first time in decades, and Stevie was finally given a chance to show the world her suppressed masterpiece. Her aching, heartfelt performance earned a Grammy nomination. “You won’t forget me,” the song echoes with an almost spiritual fervor, and for Stevie, these words have proved prophetic. Her legendary career and lasting influence are clear reasons for her recent nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Hopefully, come March, she will be immortalized in its walls.