Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham: how it went wrong


Someone should write a song about the romantic drama that has unfolded over the years between Lindsey Buckingham and Steve Nicks.

But of course the two have done it before: Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”, written by her, and “Go Your Own Way,” written by him, to name just two songs about their tumultuous relationship.

Their complicated dynamic is back in the spotlight this week after Buckingham’s new Los Angeles Times interview, and the details can’t be summed up in any four-minute single. So read on to find the highlights and weaknesses of one of rock’s richest relationships.

The early years

Buckingham and Nicks met while in high school near Palo Alto, Calif., In the late 1960s. He was part of a psychedelic rock band, Fritz, and asked him to join him as lead singer after two members left for college. At this point, they were mutually interested in music but were not yet in a romantic relationship.

Fritz stayed together until the early 1970s, with Nicks and Buckingham hanging out with other people the entire time. By the time the two decided to move to LA, the group had split up and Nicks and Buckingham had suddenly become a romantic element.

“I’m not sure we would have even become a couple if we hadn’t left this group. It kind of brought us together, ”Nicks would later say, according to Stephen Davis’ biography of her,“ Gold Dust Woman ”.

But Buckingham did have mononucleosis, which delayed their stay in LA for a good chunk of a year, during which Nicks took care of him and the two continued to grow musically.

Moving to Los Angeles

When they finally reached the City of Angels at the end of 1972, “They were immediately seen as a sexy couple and linked to the stars. People who met them remember an aura about them, a radiance, ”Davis wrote. “They were Mr. and Mrs. Intense, him in her curly locks and icy blue eyes and she in her long, straight hair and piercing gaze when you spoke to her.”

In the starry atmosphere of the early ’70s in Los Angeles, they formed a folk-rock duo called Buckingham Nicks, releasing an eponymous album at the end of 1973. Despite the iconic photo of them topless on the cover of the album. ‘album, the record flopped and the label dropped them.

They had started to fight, and the money was tight, but musical creation did not stop – with the debut of the subsequent hits “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” among the fruits of their labor. But the two clashed. Nicks was exhausted having to serve and clean houses to make ends meet. Buckingham had gone on tour with Don Everly which ended badly.

Join Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham, left, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie with their ‘Rumors’ Grammys in 1978.

(Associated press)

On the last day of 1974, after recently moving to LA and losing a few limbs, Fleetwood Mac – then made up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie – stumbled upon Buckingham in a studio. Fleetwood wanted his talents as a guitarist in the band. Warned in advance that Buckingham and Nicks were a forfeit, he asked them both to join.

The duo took a few days to decide. Buckingham was apparently ambivalent, considering Fleetwood Mac to be a meat grinder that went through band members. The sound of the Anglo-American group was markedly different – rooted in the blues and anchored by Peter Green – before Nicks and Buckingham signed.

“I said, OK, that’s what we’ve been working for since 1968,” Nicks said in Buckingham, according to “Gold Dust Woman.” “And so, Lindsey, you and I have to put this relationship back together.” We have too much to lose here. We have to put our problems behind us. Maybe we won’t have any more problems, because we will finally have money. And I won’t have to be a waitress.

Everyone ended up going out to dinner and the case was sealed.

The break (s)

By writing and recording the album “Rumors”, which came out in early 1977, Buckingham and Nicks ended their love affair. Band members John and Christine McVie, who had been married since 1968, have also split. Mick Fleetwood’s divorce was also almost final, although he would remarry Jenny Boyd in 1977 and divorce again in 1978.

It was out of this cauldron of discontent that songs like “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way” emerged, much to the delight of fans. “Rumors,” which won a handful of Grammy Awards, remains one of the best-selling albums of all time.

“I think one day John and I will write a book about what happened,” Fleetwood told Robert Hilburn of The Times in 1976. “The only problem is, no one will believe us.”

To move on

“In Lindsey’s mind, all the other women who came after me were all going after wealthy rock and roll star Lindsey,” Nicks told Rolling Stone. “No one was looking into the heart that I had looked at. No one saw the guy until he was famous. We knew each other before. This is what makes us unique to each other.

Nicks had a short-lived affair with Fleetwood in 1977 (yes, during his second marriage). Buckingham, meanwhile, has embarked on an eight-year relationship with Carol Ann Harris. Although he and Harris got engaged, they never married.

Fleetwood told Hilburn in 1976 that it was “an unusual situation” for a group to stay together after so many divisions among its members. But things seemed to be working out.

“When we go on stage, the band is very close…” Fleetwood said at the time. “There are a lot of bands that hate each other. We are not one of them.

Learn to live with

The group of course continued, although over the years – as Nicks told The Times last year – Buckingham and Nicks “stabbed each other” in front of crowded stadiums during performances. breaking hymns such as “Silver Springs”. This song, written by Nicks, was intended for “Rumors” but ended as the B side of the single “Go Your Own Way”. Sample lyrics: “So I’ll start not loving you / Turn around, you’ll see me run / I’ll say I loved you years ago / And tell me you never loved me, no. “

Nicks then dated musicians Don Henley, JD Souther and Joe Walsh, all affiliated with the Eagles, another hot band from the 1970s and 1980s. In 1983 she married, very briefly, to Kim Anderson, the widower of her best. friend who had just died, but had never had children. She said she was getting along with her niece and her godchildren.

Buckingham, who broke up with Harris in 1984, had a son with photographer and interior designer Kristen Messner in 1998. They married in 2000 and went on to have two daughters.

Moving forward, from a career perspective

A woman in a red dress sings with a man who plays the guitar

An undated photo of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham performing.

(Richard E. Aaron / Redferns)

In the 1980s, Buckingham began releasing solo albums, preferring the studio to touring. He left Fleetwood Mac in the late 1980s and stayed away for a decade. Nicks followed him out the door a few years later and was already working on his solo career, which resulted in the hits “Edge of Seventeen”, “Stand Back” and “Stop Draggin ‘My Heart Around” (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).

But they both finally came back to the Mac. And why not, when Fleetwood Mac tours have consistently brought in hundreds of millions of dollars?

The final break

In early 2018, when the band’s touring schedule was already sketched out, Buckingham requested a three-month delay in order to promote his solo work. While the rest of the group was flexible, he said, Nicks was firm: the dates were the dates and they weren’t changing.

Tension was high in January, with the former lovers trading blows – and Buckingham rolling his eyes during Nicks’ lengthy speech – after winning the MusiCares Person of the Year award.

“Ironically,” Buckingham recently told Amy Kaufman of The Times, “nothing happened that night that [as contentious] like what we had experienced for 43 years.

But it led to the apparent final split between Buckingham and Nicks: shortly after that night he was kicked out of the group. He then sued for millions, with the lawsuit settled by the end of 2018. Nicks has said since the split that she has not fired her former partner.

In 2019, Buckingham suffered a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery. He said recently that he heard from Nicks after that and emailed her and texted her, but she rarely replies.

The pandemic

The threat of contracting COVID-19 has been crippling for Nicks, who said she feared going on a ventilator would leave her hoarse and ruin her voice. The vaccinated singer has been cloistered in her home and last month canceled the five shows she had planned for 2021.

“Because singing and performing have been my whole life, my main goal is to stay healthy so that I can continue singing for the next decade or more,” she tweeted last month.

Meanwhile, after Buckingham spent the last few years focusing primarily on recovering from his heart problems, his wife filed for divorce after 21 years of marriage – and just days after the musician announced in early June of a new solo album and a solo tour of 30 dates.

“I’ll tell you what: between the Fleetwood Mac stuff and the heart attack, it’s all been humiliating,” he told The Times. “I never suffered from a lack of self-confidence, and I could sometimes get carried away in the process of leading the group. But everything attracted me a little. I’m not as aggressive a person as I used to be, which is probably not a bad thing. It made me look around more – and become less involved, I hope. “

Buckingham said he was disappointed that no one in the group – whom he says he would like to join someday, if Nicks allows it – defended him in this latest fight.

But he understood.

“It would be like a scenario where Mick Jagger says, ‘Either Keith [Richards] go or I go, ”he told The Times. “No, neither of you can go. But I guess the singer has to stay.

“The figurehead,” he said, “must stay. “

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