Book review: Rock biographer Stephen Davis chronicles Stevie Nicks in new book

The Hutchinson News
Posted Oct 25, 2017 at 10:38 AM

“Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks” by Stephen Davis. St. Martin’s Press, 2017. 352 pages. $18.29 / £20.61

Stephen Davis has an unusual wish for a man prior to the release of his 18th rock book — a biography of Fleetwood Mac singer and solo artist and songwriter Stevie Nicks.

“The main thing is I want to be in the next issue of AARP,” said Davis, who wrote “Gold Dust Woman” out of his Milton, Massachusetts, home. “She’s almost 70 and I’m 70, and they send out something like 25 million copies (actually the magazine claims more than 47 million readers).”

Davis said he is fascinated by Nicks, who found stardom relatively late (for a rock star) in her 20′s and still fills an arena both solo and with Fleetwood Mac. She recently announced an 18-month tour starting in mid-2018 with Fleetwood Mac. Her 40 top-50 hits include “Don’t Stop,” the signature song of former President Bill Clinton’s campaign.

“The arc of the story is that initially she wasn’t really wanted in Fleetwood Mac and eventually she went out on her own and became a bigger star than Fleetwood Mac,” said Davis, who began researching “Gold Dust Woman” in 2012 and finished it in 2016. “When I started writing, I thought the book would be a valedictory thing about someone whose career is winding now. Now, I’m just trying to keep up with her and will need to update the book when the paperback comes out in a year.”

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Tom Petty dead: How the singer inspired Stevie Nicks song ‘Edge of Seventeen’ | The Independent

The Independent
Jacob Stolworthy

The track’s title came from a conversation the Fleetwood Mac star had wife Petty’s first wife in 1979

Music legend Tom Petty, who has died at the age of 66, spent his illustrious career collaborating with many other musicians ranging from ELO’s Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and, of course, Stevie Nicks.

Interestingly, the singer served as the inspiration for one of the Fleetwood Mac singer’s most famous solo tracks in a rather circuitous way.

“Edge of Seventeen,” released in 1982, was the third single taken from her debut record Bella Donna and while Petty may not have featured on the track, he and first wife Jane Benyo served as inspiration for its title – all thanks to a simple case of miscommunication.

After meeting Benyo, Nicks asked her when she’d met Petty to which Benyo replied “at the age of seventeen,” a comment Nicks misheard as “the edge of seventeen.” According to the singer, she originally planned to write the song about the couple – and was even willing to give Benyo credit for the inspiration – but, the death of her beloved uncle and John Lennon in the same week (December 1980) saw her find new inspiration for the song. The title, however, remained.

Petty married Benyo in 1974 when he was 24. The couple met in their hometown of Gainesville, Florida before moving to LA in an attempt to further his music career. Two years later, Petty would release his debut record – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – which featured the songs “Breakdown” and “American Girl.”

 

‘I was always that gypsy’: Stevie Nicks reminisces her nomadic upbringing and talks about her hectic schedule ahead of her Australian tour | Daily Mail (AUS)

Stevie Nicks is one of rock music’s most iconic figures.

And the 69-year-old singer-songwriter has talked about her affinity for the gypsy-like lifestyle, instilled in her at an early age as a result of her father’s work as the vice-president of Greyhound Buses and president of a food company.

‘I was able to go into new schools and make new friends. My brother, on the other hand, didn’t cope with it so well,’ she told Stellar.

‘I was always that gypsy’: Stevie Nicks has talked about her affinity for the gypsy-like lifestyle, instilled in her at an early age as a result of her father’s work

This extended into her life on the road with Fleetwood Mac in 1975, and her successful solo career, which followed in the 80s.

‘So the thing is, am I still that gypsy? Well, I was always that gypsy,’ she said.

Even today, life on the road sees the Landslide singer travel around the world to perform shows.

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Fans delirious as Stevie Nicks joins Tom Petty on stage | BBC News

The musicians collaborated on several songs in the 1980s / LILY GRAE (TWITTER)

It was Side A all the way when Tom Petty played the BST festival in Hyde Park on Sunday.

“We’re going to look at the show like it’s a giant one-sided vinyl,” said the star, “and we’re going to drop the needle all up and down the record.”

The set included nearly two dozen classics, such as Free Fallin’, I Won’t Back Down and Learning To Fly.

Stevie Nicks joined him halfway through the set for a special version of their 1981 hit Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.

“You know that Tom Petty is my favourite rock star!” said the singer.

Nicks had earlier played a support slot, running through her Fleetwood Mac songbook with renditions of Dreams and Gold Dust Woman, alongside solo hits Edge of Seventeen and Landslide.

After playing Rhiannon, the 69-year-old noted she’d played the song at every concert since it was released in 1975.

“It’s never not been done,” she deadpanned. “Rhiannon: You just can’t get rid of her.”

Nicks also delved into her pre-fame catalogue with the Buckingham-Nicks song Crying In The Night which, she noted, was written in 1970, when she was a struggling musician working as a waitress in LA.

“Dreams do come true,” she told the audience. “Because 44 years later you can sing a song you thought nobody would ever hear in Hyde Park in London, England.” Continue reading

Stevie Nicks fears “isolated” Prince may have deliberately overdosed on fentanyl to kill himself | Daily Mirror

By 22:00, 8 JUL 2017
Daily Mirror

The Fleetwood Mac singer believes her friend Prince was devastated by his prescription drug addiction after making it his life’s work to “preach about the downfall of people that do drugs”

Stevie Nicks fears that close pal Prince may have wanted to end his own life.

The legendary hitmaker died aged 57 in April last year after taking an accidental overdose of prescription drug fentanyl.

He had been battling chronic hip pain and Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie, who got close to Prince in the 1980s, says he was isolated.

She explains: “I don’t know in my heart of hearts whether he just took too much.

“Or did he purposefully take too much? Did he accidentally take too much?”

“When you get to be our age – and he was younger than me – and you’re like, ‘I’m not making hit records any more… I’m not able to really tour any more because of my health…’

“You’re not married, you don’t have children… you don’t hang out with a bunch of people because you’re really an isolationist.”

Stevie, 69, who takes to the stage at Hyde Park’s British Summer Time concert alongside her life-long pal Tom Petty tomorrow night, reckons Prince was devastated by his prescription drug addiction.

She adds: “Fentanyl is the worst of the worst of the worst; way stronger than heroin, morphine, anything – and he was having to take it because I think he was probably fractured from his neck down to his feet.

“I think when you’re in that much pain, and you’re somebody who has made it your life’s work to preach about the downfall of people that do drugs, that had to be [a burden]. I think that broke his heart.”

But Prince lives on in her song Moonlight which she regularly dedicates to him.

Let’s hope she plays it this weekend.

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Why I’ve gone my own way: On the edge of 70, Stevie Nicks addresses a few rumours… head on! | Daily Mail

By Craig McLean
Daily Mail
May 27th, 2017

Turning her back on Fleetwood Mac. Teaming up with Chrissie Hynde. And ditching drugs with a little help from Prince. The rock icon confronts all those rumours

Now this is a treat. It’s Saturday night in a cavernous rehearsal facility in the San Fernando Valley, over the hills from Hollywood, and I’m enjoying a private concert from rock ’n’ roll’s greatest woman – a living, breathing, dancing, sunglasses-indoors legend. Ahead of an American tour, Stevie Nicks is running through a selection of hits from her multi-million-selling career as a solo artist and as frontwoman with Fleetwood Mac.

Rhiannon, Gold Dust Woman, Stand Back, The Wild Heart, Edge Of Seventeen: these are some of the best-loved songs of the past 40 years. And the woman who wrote them – more used to wowing arenas – is standing a few feet away, singing them to me, bashing a tambourine as if her life depended on it, swirling in a vision of black scarves and drapes.

Stevie Nicks has had her own well-publicised battles with addiction in the Seventies and Eighties

During a break, I sit down with Nicks and, as she cradles her beloved terrier Lily, she talks. And talks. At the age of 69, this warm, witty woman remains as irrepressible as ever. As is usual in the world of Fleetwood Mac, there’s a lot to discuss. One topic is her upcoming US shows with fellow icon Chrissie Hynde, in support of Nicks’ 24 Karat Gold album. Another is rumours of a Fleetwood Mac tour – a tour that’s possibly a farewell one.

But more pressing is the imminent release of Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie. It’s ostensibly a duo album from Mac guitarist Buckingham and keyboard player/singer McVie. In the set-up and billing, it feels like a successor to Buckingham Nicks. This legendary ‘lost’ 1973 album was made by Stevie and Lindsey – then a couple – before the Californians joined a mouldering English blues band led by drummer Mick Fleetwood and assisted by bass player John McVie.

Their duo act didn’t last, and neither did their relationship. But Nicks’ and Buckingham’s songwriting contribution – not to mention their split, as famously documented in their songs on 1977’s 40-million-selling album Rumours – helped rocket-power Fleetwood Mac to Seventies rock’s mega-league.

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10 Commandments from Stevie Nicks | Q Magazine

Q Magazine
March 2017

THE FLEETWOOD MAC SINGER DELIVERS HER GOLDEN RULES FOR LIVING.

1. MAKE LIKE A BOY OR GIRL SCOUT: BE PREPARED
I’m scared, that’s what I am. Before shows, some people – me, Mick [Fleetwood, [ drummer], we get panic attacks. I have always been terribly nervous before shows. So I am so rehearsed and ready that I could be dead and stand up there and still sing the right words and do the right thing. Cocaine almost killed me. It’s better to just not do it. Eventually you’ll have to stop so start saving your money for rehab now.

2. THE DRUGS DON’T WORK, THEY JUST MAKE IT WORSE
Touring with Fleetwood Mac in the ’70s, cocaine was almost part of the daily routine. But when I talk about it now, I would never want the kids of today to think that I’m saying it was something good. Cos it really wasn’t something good. It almost destroyed my life. It almost killed me, and almost killed a lot of people I know. So if anybody thinks it’s safe now – it’s not. It’s better to just not do it. Because you will eventually have to stop, so start saving your money for rehab now. It’s so expensive.

3. LYRICISTS! WATCH YOUR CUSS WORDS
I’ve been listening to The Weeknd’s records. I play them one after the other when I’m in my bathroom getting ready to go out, or just hanging out with myself. He’s brilliant. And his voice – he could have come straight out of 1975 – he could have been like Stevie Winwood. He’s over-talented. But if I were to meet him, I would probably say: “You say over and over again words that I would prefer you didn’t say. I think they’re unnecessary. However, even though I think a lot of your songs are super-dirty, I still really like ’em! So I’ve given you a pass on that!”

4. SINGERS! WATCH YOUR SYLLABLES
I saw Adele at the Grammys [Adele had to restart a performance of George Michael’s Fastlove], and that song was a very hard song to sing for George Michael. It’s all about the syllables. I have a song on my 24 Karat Gold album, Mabel Normand, that’s exactly the same. That’s the reason we’re not doing it onstage. Because if you take a breath, you get off the beat. You’re one word too late, you can never get back on, and you’re dead in the water.

5. YOU’RE A ROCK STAR – THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SICKIE
Onstage is the one time you can’t bemoan how you feel. Even if you have pneumonia, you have to say: “I’m leaving that in the dressing room and I’m walking out and I’m gonna be great. And when I come offstage, then I can burst into tears.” Continue reading

The Last Word: Stevie Nicks Talks Aging, Addiction, Fleetwood Mac’s Future | Rolling Stone

By Andy Greene
Rolling Stone

The singer on listening to her heart, turning 70 and why music comes before friendship

Stevie Nicks doesn’t have much sympathy for peers who are aging less gracefully than her. “I see lots of people my age, and lots of people who are younger than me, and I think, ‘Wow, those people look really old,'” she tells Rolling Stone. “I think it’s because they didn’t try.”

At 68, the legendary singer-songwriter is staying as busy as ever. In December, Nicks wrapped an extensive solo tour, and in July, she and her Fleetwood Mac bandmates will co-headline a pair of high-profile classic-rock fests in L.A. and New York. Nicks took some time recently to share her wisdom on drugs, relationships, aging and why her solo career was vital to Fleetwood Mac’s success.
What’s the hardest part of success?
I work very, very hard. I have a piece of typewritten paper here that says, “You keep going and you don’t stop.” You do your vocal lesson. I have a lot of friends from high school and college who want to hang out when I play in their city. I have to rest for my show. It breaks my heart, but what comes first? Don’t endanger my show. That’s been my mantra my whole life: Don’t endanger my show.

Who is your hero?
Michelle Obama, because she has such an optimistic outlook and she was able to move into the White House with kids and do such a beautiful, graceful job. That had to be really hard. After spending two weeks with my family for the holidays, which was long and emotionally difficult, I know that’s super hard. I think she’s wisdom personified.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
How about my early-forties self? That’s when I walked out of Betty Ford after beating coke. I spent two months doing so well. But all my business managers and everyone were urging me to go to this guy who was supposedly­ the darling of the psychiatrists. That was the guy who put me on Klonopin. This is the man who made me go from 123 pounds to almost 170 pounds at five feet two. He stole eight years of my life.

Maybe I would have gotten married, maybe I would have had a baby, maybe I would have made three or four more great albums with Fleetwood Mac. That was the prime of my life, and he stole it. And you know why? Because I went along with what everybody else thought. So what I would tell my 40-year-old self: “Don’t listen to other people. In your heart of hearts, you know what’s best for you.” Continue reading

Stevie Nicks: Recording ‘Tango’ in my ex-boyfriend’s bedroom was ‘extremely strange | Miami Herald

BY HOWARD COHEN
hcohen@miamiherald.com

On Friday, March 10 (re-scheduled till March 31), Fleetwood Mac releases a 30th anniversary expanded edition of one of its most popular and influential albums, “Tango in the Night.” The lavishly packaged reissue offers a remastered version of the original album, a disc of B-sides and outtakes, plus another disc of 12-inch dance mixes of its hit singles like “Big Love” and “Little Lies” and a vinyl LP.

The 30th anniversary edition of Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 album, “Tango in the Night,” hits retail on March 10. The album includes four Top 40 singles, “Big Love,” “Seven Wonders,” “Little Lies” and “Everywhere” and remains the last studio album to feature the original “Rumours” lineup. Warner Bros./Rhino

For Stevie Nicks, the group’s star attraction, recording her parts for the 1987 album proved difficult. After the completion of a ragged tour for her third solo album, 1985’s “Rock a Little,” she went into rehab at the Betty Ford Center for a cocaine addiction. After her release, she was misguidedly placed on a Klonopin regimen. Few in her inner circle thought rehab would stick unless she was dosed on anxiety medication. They were wrong.

Her first test: joining her Fleetwood Mac band mates for the 1986 tracking sessions for “Tango in the Night.” The band hadn’t recorded since the release of “Mirage” in 1982.

Nicks’ ex-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, the group’s guitarist, was co-producing the band’s efforts, again, but this time the tension was poisonous, even by Fleetwood Mac’s standards.

“When I started recording for ‘Tango,’ they were recording at Lindsey’s house up on Mulholland somewhere. He lived there with his girlfriend Cheri and this record was being recorded at his house and I didn’t find that to be a great situation for me. Especially coming out of rehab,” Nicks said in an interview last year. “And then I was on Klonopin and not quite understanding why I was feeling so weird and this doctor kept saying, ‘This is what you need.’ It’s the typical scenario of a groupie doctor. Discuss rock and roll with you, so in order to do that he would keep upping your dose so you’d come in once a week.”

John McVie (seated), Mick Fleetwood (standing), Christine McVie (on floor), Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (on seat) in a photo shoot from the “Tango in the Night” sessions. The original album was released in April 1987 and was a worldwide hit, especially in England where it hit No. 1. In the United States the album spent 44 weeks in the Top 40. Warners Bros./Rhino

Nicks sets the scenario: “I can remember going up there and not being happy to even be there and we were doing vocals in their master bedroom and that was extremely strange. In all fairness, it was like the only empty room and they had a beautiful master bedroom all set up like a vocal booth but I found it very uncomfortable, personally. I guess I didn’t go very often and when I did go I would get like, ‘Give me a shot of brandy and let me sing on four or five songs off the top of my head.’” Continue reading

Stevie Nicks: ‘I was so sick — I couldn’t shower. I almost died’ | The Times (UK)

Will Hodgkinson
January 21 2017, 12:01am,
The Times

The Fleetwood Mac singer talks about her past lovers, drugs hell — and why, at 68, she’s not too old to get married

Stevie Nicks is coming to Hyde Park for a summer concert
GETTY IMAGES

If you have wondered how Stevie Nicks, at the age of 68, manages to tour the world with Fleetwood Mac, run her solo career and be an inspiration to young female stars including Adele and Florence Welch, here’s the answer. She’s scared that if she stops, she’ll shrink.

“A friend told me that when you retire, you get smaller,” says Nicks, who at 5ft 1in cannot afford to take that chance. “Small means old, so I fight it with a sword. I’ll be on stage, dancing around, thinking, ‘Now, let’s see . . . how old am I again? 110?’ And it blows my mind! But I would be so bored if I wasn’t doing this.”

It is one in the morning, and Nicks is sheltering from a rainstorm in her beachfront apartment in Santa Monica. Announcing that she rarely goes to sleep before the small hours because she is “the Cruella de Vil of the night”, she proves to be fighting the war against age valiantly. Her California gypsy fashion sense, first shared with the world on the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 divorce-era masterpiece, Rumours, remains unchanged. Her weathered voice, sexy in a stayed-up-till-7am way, is the same as it ever was. And this July she will be sharing a Hyde Park headline slot with Tom Petty, the man who kickstarted her solo career in 1981, when Fleetwood Mac were at their Lear Jethopping height and nobody wanted or expected Nicks to break out on her own.

Stevie Nicks, photographed in 1978 — her California gypsy fashion sense was already established
SAM EMERSON/POLARIS/EYEVINE

“When I started work on [the debut solo album] Bella Donna I wanted it to be like a Tom Petty record, but by a girl. That led me to Tom’s producer, Jimmy Iovine, who did not drink, do drugs, anything,” says Nicks, who at the time was known for her cocaine-centric lifestyle; she even wrote a song, Gold Dust Woman, about it. Continue reading