The first things one thinks of when it comes to Stevie Nicks are the floaty dresses, sky-high boots, the on-stage twirling, and the “witchy” vibe that helped propel Fleetwood Mac to new levels of recognition in the 70s ….and beyond.
But that on-stage presence belies a woman who is a great songwriter with a unique point of view. And of course, one of the most distinctive voices in rock.
She had plans to become an English teacher, but her interest in music was just too strong and her parents gave the OK for her to drop out of college. After apprenticing in a number of groups, she partnered with Lindsey Buckingham (both professionally and personally) — and it was their sound that caught the attention of Fleetwood Mac. Kicking around since 1967, the band had recently lost a few members and was looking for a push into something new. Fun fact: Christine McVie was the tie-breaking vote on bringing Nicks and Buckingham into the band. The two women became fast friends and a formidable female bulwark within the testosterone-heavy group.
This “new,” more pop-driven version of Fleetwood Mac exploded. Their self-titled 1975 album reached Number One; the 1977 follow-up, Rumours, stayed at the top of the charts for 31 weeks, won a Grammy, and remains one of the best-selling albums in history.
Nicks has been through a lifetime of drama, with drug problems, complicated relationships (many documented on the acclaimed Rumours), health issues, and plenty of loss. Still, she hasn’t lost her interest in the otherworldly influences that colored her early songs like “Rihannon.”
Currently, she’s working with Dolly Parton on Parton’s upcoming rock-influenced album. Our new series, StereoTypes, delves into Nicks’ image, music, and more. Check it out.
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