Stevie Nicks is one of the greatest voices to ever grace the radio, but how did musician become famous? Did she simply appear one Halloween with the lyrics for "Rhiannon" tucked under her arm, or is there more to the life of this revered singer?
Nicks's biography Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams & Rumours offers some rare insight into the tumultuous life of the witchiest rock star who’s ever lived. While it meticulously tells the story of how Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac recorded each of their albums and offers up tips from the gold dust woman herself, it doesn't shy away from the dark periods of her life, of which there are too many to count.
Nicks says that she didn't really drink until she joined Fleetwood Mac, but her sober life would quickly change once she and her former boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham, joined the band. Fleetwood Mac famously used enough cocaine to fund a cartel, and if they weren't fighting with each other they were sleeping with each other.
Even when Stevie Nicks was on her solo tours, she was carrying on like a party that never stopped. If you’re a fan of Fleetwood Mac, or even if you just like Stevie’s solo stuff, you’ll want to read this run down of the craziest things that Stevie Nicks has lived through, then feel free to go your own way.
Producer Keith Olsen Ditched His Date On New Years Eve To Convince Stevie Nicks To Join Fleetwood Mac
On New Year’s Eve 1974, a lot of things happened in the world of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. First, Bob Welch, longtime guitarist for Fleetwood Mac decided to quit the band, citing the fact that the band had just come out of an intense lawsuit, and they weren't going anywhere. So Mick Fleetwood put in a call to Keith Olsen, who was co-producing the second Buckingham Nicks album.
Mick asked Olsen to ask Buckingham to join the band, but Olsen insisted that Buckingham came along with Stevie Nicks. Mick Fleetwood, desperate to keep his band going, told Olsen that he didn't care, that he just needed some bodies in his band immediately so they could record an album. So instead of going to a New Year’s Eve party with his date, Keith Olsen spent the evening convincing Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham to join Fleetwood Mac, ensuring that 1975 would be one of the craziest years of their lives.
During The Recording Of “Fleetwood Mac” Stevie Rarely Stopped Dancing
In 1975 Fleetwood Mac hunkered down in Los Angeles’ Sound City studios to record their first album with Buckingham and Nicks, and this would be one of the last times that Nicks would work without doing ALL the drugs. Being a witchy, desert, flower child, while the rest of the band recorded their parts and while the engineers mixed down the tracks, she was constantly dancing.
In the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours, one of the album’s engineers, Ken Calliat, remembers that while he mixed "Rhiannon," she “whirled” around the studio. “She believed she had magical powers,” he said. “She probably thought she was chanting up a good mix.”
The Pre-Show Bumps
One of the most telling anecdotes from Stevie Nicks’s biography comes from her first tour with the band in 1975. A passage in the book notes that this is when she started getting into cocaine, mostly because everyone in the band did a bump together before going onstage.
The band’s tour manager, John Courage, would line the band up and have them hold out their wrists. Once they assumed their positions, he would pour a bump onto each of their wrists and they would snort it up before walking directly onto stage.
She Traveled With Her Own Coven
Everyone interviewed in Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours recounts how much Stevie’s first tour with Fleetwood Mac absolutely destroyed her. She became gaunt, and was often seen huddling in a corner, drinking tea, and writing in her journal (to paraphrase Mick Fleetwood).
Even Stevie herself admits that she almost lost her mind on that first tour, and it wasn't until she made the decision to not curl up and die that she finally started leaning into her witchy ways. In order to combat the loneliness of the road (she and Buckingham already broke up at this point), Nicks forged a strong friendship with bandmate Christine McVie, and began to travel with a group of young, skinny, blonde women who dressed in lace black outfits (just like Nicks) and followed her everywhere.
Kenny Loggins remembers: “My first impression of touring with Fleetwood Mac was seeing Stevie and her acolytes… She seemed to collect talented, young, beautiful girls who would then dress like her and follow her around all the time.” How cool is that? Don’t you wish you had your own cadre of lookalikes to follow you around and help out with... witch stuff?