Stevie Nicks built a beloved body of work within and without Fleetwood Mac—but success had a steep price. As a new greatest-hits album chronicles her solo success, the mysterious superstar takes stock on her life and music.
By Chris Neal
(Photos: Neal Preston, Barry Shultz/Retna, Paul Natkin/WireImage, Fin Costello/Retna)
The weather is gray, windy and, as Stevie Nicks notes, “a little creepy” outside her home overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
“I call it the ‘amoeba fog,” she says, looking out from the living room of her Los Angeles home. “It sticks right to the coast. You might as well be in Seattle or London for several months out of the year. It suit me sometimes, but after it’s been that way for a couple of week, I start to go, ‘OK, I’d like to see the blue sky.”
Nicks is well acquainted with both the clouds and the blue sky of L.A. A native of Phoenix (she also keeps a house there), she moved to L.A. from San Francisco with guitarist and then-paramour Lindsey Buckingham in 1971. On New Year’s Eve 1974, both were asked to join Fleetwood Mac—and alongside keyboardist Christine McVie, bass player John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, they helped to turn a British blues-rock warhorse into one of the best-selling and most influential bands in pop history.
Nicks became the group’s breakout star, thanks to her striking beauty, dusky alto and magnetic stage presence—but perhaps most of all her talents as a writer. Songs like “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Sara” and “Gold Dust Woman” rang out as evocative, impressionistic transmissions from a parallel world a little more vivid and romantic than our own. Through a poetic lens, she examined femininity, mythology and love—particularly the disintegration and aftermath of her relationship with Buckingham.
In the spring of 1980, Nicks began work on her first solo album. The intervening years have seen her build a persona, fan base and musical legacy that stands apart from the mighty Mac. Hits like “Edge of Seventeen,” “Stand Back” and “Talk to Me” provided a constant reminder that Nicks was a singer and songwriter whose talents went much father than her contributions to the band she could never completely abandon. Those songs and a bounty of others chosen by Nicks herself are now collected on a new compilation album, Crystal Visions… The Very Best of Stevie Nicks. As dusk settled over L.A. and the “amoeba fog” clung stubbornly to the coast, we asked Nicks, 58, to describe her creative process, recount her journey through music and predict the future of Fleetwood Mac. Continue reading Vision Quest – Stevie Nicks | Performing Songwriter (June 2007)