In the late 1960s, Fleetwood Mac was a success among British blues bands. The band was started by guitarist Peter Green, who recruited the rhythm section of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers: drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass guitarist John McVie. Green himself had replaced a departing member, Eric Clapton, as the lead guitarist of the "Bluesbreakers"; Green and McVie had appeared on Mayall's 1967 A Hard Road album. The band employed another bassist, Bob Brunning, until John McVie was persuaded to join the band. Slide-guitarist and Elmore James devotee, Jeremy Spencer, rounded out the lineup.
Its full name was now "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac featuring Jeremy Spencer." The band released two albums of Chicago-based blues. It also released a single, "Black Magic Woman," which, when re-recorded by Santana in 1970 (on his album Abraxas), became a top five U.S. hit
Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks (born May 26, 1948 in Phoenix, Arizona) is an American singer and songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and a long solo career.
Early career and Fleetwood Mac
Nicks met future partner Lindsey Buckingham while attending Menlo Atherton High School and along with two others formed a band called Fritz which became popular as a live act from 1968 until 1972. They were the opening act for, among others, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. After the band parted, Nicks and Buckingham remained as a duo releasing the album Buckingham Nicks in 1973. While not a commercial success it caught the attention of drummer Mick Fleetwood who was looking for a new guitarist for his band Fleetwood Mac. Stevie was reduced to cleaning houses at the time that Fleetwood Mac stumbled onto the duo. They invited the duo to join them, and the new ensemble released the album Fleetwood Mac in 1975. Nicks contributed songs including "Rhiannon" and "Landslide", originally written for the second Buckingham Nicks album. The team-up proved to be successful, as a revitalised Fleetwood Mac enjoyed its first #1 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than five million copies.
Its follow-up Rumours released in 1977 became one of the all-time best-selling albums, selling more than 19 million copies. With several Nicks songs such as "Gold Dust Woman", "I Don't Want to Know", and Fleetwood Mac's only Billboard Hot 100 number one single, Dreams, which was written by Nicks while she was taking a short break in another room as the band was recording during the making of the Rumours album. The recording of Rumours was a difficul time for the band as Stevie and Lindsay were splitting up as were Christine & John McVie which produced a tense but productive working environment with many of the songs seeming to directly address former partners.
The band's next album Tusk was more experimental in sound, and while successful, alienated some of its fans. Though the album sold four million copies, it was dramatically less successful than Rumours. The double album contained Nicks' "Sister of the Moon", "Angel", "Beautiful Child", and "Storm", along with the Top 10 hit "Sara", which reached #8 on the charts. Around this time Nicks had another hit with Kenny Loggins on "Whenever I Call You Friend."
Nicks recorded her first solo album Bella Donna in 1981. Its lead single "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" was a collaboration with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and it reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Other singles included "Leather and Lace" (#6) with Don Henley, "After the Glitter Fades" (#32) and "Edge of Seventeen" (#11). Bella Donna reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and as of 1990 is certified quadruple (4x) platinum.
Fleetwood Mac reconvened for their 1982 album Mirage and Stevie contributed the hit "Gypsy." The album quickly went double platinum.
Nicks released a second solo album titled The Wild Heart in 1983. It also went double platinum, reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and featured three hit singles: the Prince inspired track "Stand Back" (#5); "If Anyone Falls" (#14); and "Nightbird" (#33). In addition, several more songs not released as singles were played on rock radio and made the Mainstream Rock chart: "Enchanted" (#12); "Nothing Ever Changes" (#19); and "I Will Run to You" (#35).
In 1985, she released the platinum Rock a Little (#12), scoring more hit singles: "Talk To Me" (#4); "I Sing for the Things" (#60) and "I Can't Wait". The "Rock A Little" tour following the release of the album was widely successful, resulting in a filmed concert at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, and a solo outing with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan in Australia. Though Nicks was at the top of her game professionally, a devastating drug addiction was taking a toll on her voice, career, and personal life.
In 1986, Nicks was treated for cocaine addiction at the Betty Ford Center. Later, Nicks was prescribed Klonopin, a sedative, to counteract her anxiety after ceasing her use of cocaine. This led to another addiction battle that she would not overcome until 1994.
Her next album with Fleetwood Mac, titled Tango in the Night, included Nicks' song "Seven Wonders," which reached #19 on the Billboard charts. Sandy Stewart wrote the song "Seven Wonders," and because Nicks had only listened to the song a few times before recording it, the lines "all the way down you held the line" was misheard by Nicks as "all the way down to Emmeline". Fleetwood Mac had always had personality conflicts, but the tension between Buckingham and Nicks had grown unbearable; Buckingham quit the group right before their Tango in the Night world tour.
Though set back by the departure, Fleetwood Mac eventually toured anyway, replacing Buckingham with Rick Vito and Billy Burnette for the release of their Greatest Hits album and a world tour in 1988. The new line-up would record two songs for the release, "As Long As You Follow" and Nicks' "No Questions Asked". The album has sold 8 million copies to date. The band also released a video featuring live performances and sound checks from a show at the Cow Palace in San Fransisco. However, several shows had to be delayed or cancelled and the tour was cut short due to Nicks bout with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (in addition to her dependence on tranquilizers).
Nicks had essentially been working nonstop for nearly 9 years, attenpting to juggle a solo career with her devotion to Fleetwood Mac. None-the-less, Nicks pressed on.
In 1989, she released her solo album The Other Side Of the Mirror. It spawned a major hit with the single "Rooms On Fire" (#16), but this was the only song to make the singles chart; "Whole Lotta Trouble" and "Long Way to Go" did achieve some Mainstream Rock radio play. Although sales were not as solid as previous releases, the album nevertheless went platinum. It also includes the release "Two Kinds of Love," a duet with Bruce Hornsby.
Nicks returned to Fleetwood Mac in 1990, when they recorded Behind the Mask. Buckingham's absence was apparent. The album went gold and still hit the Top 20, but was nowhere near the level of success of previous Mac albums. After the "Behind the Mask" tour, Nicks left the group and Christine McVie retired from touring. Nicks was quoted as saying in reference to her departure: "My role in that particular Shakespearean drama is over."
In 1991, Nicks released Timespace ( #30 on The Billboard 200 ), a "best of" album which included contributions from Jon Bon Jovi ("Sometimes It's a Bitch", for which a video was shot to promote the compilation), and Bret Michaels of Poison ("Love's a Hard Game to Play". The third new song, "Desert Angel," was dedicated to the men and women serving in Operation Desert Storm. Nicks apparently had misgivings about the timing of the release and the new material on the album, but was put under pressure by her record label to record the songs and move ahead with the project. The album would eventuall go platinum in 1997.
During the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign, Bill Clinton used the Fleetwood Mac hit "Don't Stop" as his campaign theme song. Fleetwood Mac reunited to perform the song at his 1993 Inaugural Gala, where Nicks' weight gain, as a result of prolonged use of tranquilizers, was visible for the world to see.
In 1994, Nicks released the most poorly received album of her career, Street Angel (#45 on the Billboard 200 album chart). "Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind" from the album made #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Stevie was crushed by the poor reception to the album, and by the vicious attacks from critics regarding the weight she had gained while on the sedative Klonopin. Nicks then entered seclusion for several years following the Street Angel tour, beat her sedative addiction, and lost weight.
Recent career and collaborations
She returned to the spotlight in 1997 when plans to help Lindsey Buckingham with a solo album turned into one final album with the Rumours-era group. This live album, The Dance, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and Stevie's singles "Landslide" and "Silver Springs" (which had been originally planned for Rumours but shelved due to it's length, much to Stevie's regret) also did well, as did the concert tour. In 1998, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed together one final time.
Stevie released a gold-selling boxed set, Enchanted, in 1998 and supported it with a U.S. tour. The tour did well and Nicks was back on top.
In 2001, Nicks reclaimed much commercial and critical success with her solo album Trouble in Shangri-La, which hit #5 on the Billboard 200, and was her highest charting album since 1983's The Wild Heart. The album went gold and has sold upwards of 650,000 copies. A dance remix of one of its two lead singles, "Planets of the Universe," achieved #1 on the Billboard Club Play chart.
A second greatest hits album from Fleetwood Mac, "The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac", was released in 2002 and quickly hit the Top 20 and became yet another platinum smash. Ultimately, this was followed by a studio album with John McVie, Buckingham, and Fleetwood (Christine McVie had retired from the road and the group), their first album together in 16 years (The Dance had been a greatest hits package with a few new songs sprinkled in for flavor). Say You Will was released in 2003. The album received positive reviews and was certified gold. Their tour of America, Europe and Australia ended in September 2004.
After a few months' respite from the Mac's tour, Nicks did a four-night stint in May 2005 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and then did a 10-show tour with Don Henley. Nicks continued the tour solo, playing over 20 dates nationwide during the Summer of 2005, ending it where it began, at Caesars Palace. There her set included the rarely-performed-live "If Anyone Falls," the moving "How Still My Love" from Bella Donna and an impressive, high-energy rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll."
On August 10th, 2005 her father, Jess Nicks, passed away.
One of the reasons for Nicks' continued career is the devotion she inspires in her fans. Such notables as Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Michelle Branch, Tori Amos and Courtney Love have praised her work, and vice versa. She has done duets or guest vocals for several of their albums and they've returned the favor. The Dixie Chicks covered her 1975 classic "Landslide," which became a smash and hit the Top 10. Smashing Pumpkins also had a significant hit with the song on modern rock radio. She recorded a duet with Chris Isaak on his 2004 Christmas album. She has also made appearances on a number of soundtracks, ranging from 1980 (the cult cartoon Heavy Metal), to 1998 (Practical Magic) and the hit Jack Black comedy School of Rock in 2003.
A notable feature of her albums, especially her compilations, are her liner-note descriptions about each song, and what they mean to her.
Stevie is considered to have been one of the most beautiful women in the music industry. While she has had well-publicized affairs with men ranging from Buckingham to Mick Fleetwood to the late Warren Zevon to Eagles member Don Henley, Nicks has only married once, to Kim Anderson. Her best friend (his wife) had recently died of cancer, leaving behind a husband and young child, and Nicks felt it was her calling to marry Anderson and raise the child. They married in 1983, but the arrangement quickly fell apart and they split a year later.
One of the more persistent rumors which has trailed Nicks through the years is that she is a witch and is heavily involved in Wicca. While she has a love for the mythic (Rhiannon) and gothic and has no problem with any of these beliefs, she has never been associated with Wicca nor has she ever called herself a witch, although her work is copyrighted under the name Welsh Witch Music and themes of witchcraft recur throughout her lyrics.
Stevie currently resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, and in February/March 2006, toured Australia and New Zealand with popular Australian performer John Farnham. It's also rumored that a DVD release highlighting these concerts will be released at a later date.
In 1998, Lucy Lawless parodied Nicks on Saturday Night Live, in a skit called "Stevie Nicks' Fajita Round-Up." In the skit, Nicks ran a Tex-Mex cantina in Arizona, where all of her signature dishes were take-offs on her song titles. Also in the skit, she ties in her food choices to her drug addictions. Nicks herself had appeared as a SNL musical guest in 1983, performing "Stand Back" and "Nightbird".
In the episode "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants" of South Park a goat is mistaken for her when she and Fleetwood Mac are scheduled to perform in Afghanistan for U.S. soldiers.
In 2002, she sang a spirited version of Elvis Presley's classic song "Won't You Wear My Ring Around Your Neck?" on VH1's Divas Live tribute to Presley and also performed "Landslide" with the Dixie Chicks earlier that evening. In 2004, she sang with Chris Isaak in his PBS Christmas special.
Nicks was ranked # 14 on VH1's list of most influential female artists in music history.
A New York City tribute/concert/festival in honor of Nicks, called Night of 1,000 Stevies, began in 1991 and has grown larger each year. The extravaganza even inspired a 2004 film, Gypsy 83, about two fans who drive all the way from Ohio to perform in the show.
Nicks' solo track "Edge of Seventeen" contributed the guitar part for the Destiny's Child song "Bootylicious" and she appeared in the video as well. An interview about her role in the song and video is featured in the corresponding Making the Video documentary.
The song "Edge of Seventeen" was also featured in the 2003 comedy film School of Rock starring Jack Black. The character played by Joan Cusack says Stevie is her favorite artist.
In the 2003 version of the Disney film Freaky Friday, the mother character (Jamie Lee Curtis) exclaims at one point when she is wearing her daughter's (Lindsay Lohan) clothes, "I look like Stevie Nicks!" (prompting the response from her daughter, "Who's he?").
In 2003, DJ Linus Loves released a cover of "Stand Back" featuring singer Sam Obernik on vocals. Many consider that Obernik's unique performance of the track is somewhat closer to how the song was meant to be performed originally, with the lyrics fitting in with the music much better than Nicks' original.
In 2005, Nicks contributed new vocals to a remake of the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams" by DJ and house music duo Deep Dish. The song appears on their album George Is On.
Stevie is mentioned in two different episodes of The Simpsons. The first is during a Halloween special in which Mr. Burns comments that Lisa's character possesses "more wicked witchery than Stevie Nicks." The second is when Homer is in bed one morning, and consults his to - do list; two of the four items on the list are "See Stevie Nicks naked".
At the "Fashion Rocks" concert of September 2005 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, soul singer Joss Stone and singer Rob Thomas covered the Stevie Nicks / Tom Petty 1981 smash hit "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" to kick-start the Fall Fashion Week.
Stevie Nicks attended the Melbourne Cup Week in Australia in October 2005, at which one of the horse racing stakes was named after her: The Stevie Nicks Plate. She used this opportunity to launch her promotion of an Australia/New Zealand extension to her "Gold Dust Tour" in February and March 2006.