When I was a young girl I fantasized a lot about Fleetwood Mac. Specifically Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. They were my teenage soap opera. I would lie in bed for hours gobbling up their discography, paying strict attention to the sharp pangs of Lindsey’s anger and the romanticism of Stevie. My heart would flutter as the story of their love and break-up wafted from my turntable. For those of you not familiar with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were a young couple/struggling musicians in California that got their big break the day that Mick Fleetwood and John McVie from the British blues band, Fleetwood Mac, heard them. He welcomed them on board as their lead singers, alongside keyboardist Christine McVie, and the rest is history. This super band when on to record one of the best selling albums of all time, Rumours, with over 40 million copies sold, in addition to many other high-grossing albums that have earned the band their place in rock n’ roll history. Nicks broke up with Buckingham shortly after joining the band in 1976 into 1977 as did the McVies which inspired all but 2 songs on Rumours. Nicks, Buckingham, and McVie all went on to solo careers with Nicks arguably having the most successful post-Fleetwood Mac venture. The band has since reunited intermittently and you can often find them touring together or separately.
In the early days of the Internet, I would peruse Fleetwood Mac lyric interpretation sites and read the messages from fellow lovesick fans that pretty much agreed that every song Stevie and Lindsey wrote was for each other- whether it was true or not. Forget Don Henley and Mick Fleetwood and Jimmy Iovine- Lindsey was the only man that mattered to Stevie. Or rather, we wanted to matter to Stevie. And really why? Lindsey sounds like a huge pain in the ass. His long-term partner after Stevie claimed that he was abusive and Stevie never shied away from discussing his child-like tantrums. BUT THOSE EYES! THAT HAIR! THAT SEMI-MENTALLY CHALLENGED LOOK HE GIVES WHEN REALLY GETTING INTO A GUITAR RIFF! Stevie was no angel either having had a cocaine problem that visibly effected her performances and then later a very serious Klonopin addiction. But Lindsey was a dreamboat and Stevie was his Queen and in the minds of us googly-eyed fans, they’ll always be the perfect couple.
I remember distinctly the day that Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham showed up on my radar. It was 1997. I was 14 years old and the music video for “Silver Springs” from Fleetwood Mac’s reunion tour was taking VH1 by storm. This 1976 B-side was ok; it was simple and had that folk-rock sound a lot of bands had in the 1970’s, but there was something different about it. The singer was really singing about heartache. Forget the cliche verbiage used in break-up songs, Stevie pleaded, threatened, and lamented in “Silver Springs”: And did you say she was pretty?/And did you say that she loved you?/Baby I don’t want to know.
What also made Silver Springs special is that Nicks wasn’t singing about some lover we’ll never know of, she was singing about the dude standing right next to her. And how did we know this? Because she turned away from the crowd and started belting those emotional words to him- twenty years after they broke up. Stevie and Lindsey partook in a stare down, and Stevie broke from her middle-aged rocker phoning-it-in to scream: I’ll follow you down to ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you/You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you/Was I just a fool? Now how is that for a juicy melodrama?
What makes the story of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham so interesting is that their songs tell a lot of truths about their feelings, more truths then they said or acted in person. Though Stevie broke up with Lindsey, the common theme that Lindsey would miss her often ran through her songs. She also insinuated that she still loved him and would get emotional when he’d walk in the room: I still look up when you walk in the room/I try hard not to look up/That girl was me (“Angel” from Tusk 1979) Lindsey was angry and acted as such, but occasionally a softer side would peak through- wishing he could give Stevie everything: If I could, baby, I’d give you my world/Open up everything’s waiting for you (“Go Your Own Way” Rumours 1977) or missing her during those lonely nights: Here comes the nighttime/Looking for a little more/Waiting on the last time/Somebody outside the door (“I Know I’m Not Wrong” Tusk 1979)
Listening to their songs about each other, which typically appeared on every album, with the band or solo, was like trying to piece together a puzzle. Why did these two beautiful people break up if they obviously couldn’t get over one another? The band members will tell you it is because they had to see each other every day. How do you move on from someone when you not only work with them daily, but when that work is an artistic form of expression, one that can leave you emotional and vulnerable. Buckingham vaguely admitted in the song “Say Goodbye” from Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 album Say You Will that he finally moved on from Stevie: Saw your face yesterday/Thinking on the days of old/and the price that we paid/For a love we couldn’t hold/I let you slip away/There was nothing I could do/That was so long ago/Still I often think of you/Now I finally found my way/Now I know just what to do/Once you said goodbye to me/Now I say goodbye to you.
Lindsey wrote this song 27 years after they broke up. He had a new wife and children yet he still wrote about his first love. Stevie was even quoted as saying in 2009 that the day she realized that she and Lindsey would never get back together was the day that his first child was born (in 1998). “It’s over”, Nicks said. “It doesn’t mean the great feeling isn’t there, it must mean that…you know, we’re beauty and the beast. It means that the love is always there but we’ll never be together, so that’s even more romantic.”
And she’s right. I don’t think their love story will ever die.
For you Buckingham/Nicks junkies, here is a great site to drool over.
What is your favorite Fleetwood Mac song?
oh you are seriously reigniting my fleetwood flame.
i remember being around 12 watching the live dvd, singing and dancing along.. gypsy and silver springs were always my fav.
BEST POST EVER. Silver Springs gives me goosebumps.
Fave = Gold Dust Woman. That twangy intro is just so damn good.
@Jenny- Haha. Writing this reigniting my Fleetwood flame too! 'Gypsy' is one of my all-time favorite FM songs. Especially b/c of the music video. I love how they all transcend time and that scene when Stevie and Lindsey are dancing in the ballroom!
@Elisal20- Ha. Thanks! 'Silver Springs' gives me goosebumps too. Man, seriously, I'll never forget the first time I saw that music video from The Dance. I was floored!
I would have to say that Gypsy is one of my all time favorites. Just the way Stevie serenades me from verse to verse with her unique voice is well worth the listen.
Songbird. As much as I love all the songs by/about Stevie & Lindsey, for some reason I always gravitated towards the songs where Christine McVie sang lead. And yes – Silver Springs gives me goosebumps too.
Holy hell. I LOVE this post. I always felt the same way about them and had absolutely no idea why. I saw them when they reunited years ago, the same concert that they recorded The Dance- i swear you could still feel that tension.
I think Go Your Own Way may be my favorite. I just love the anger and the power of that song.
Have you seen this? It gives me goosebumps. Stevie is the best ever.
I look their taste of music and genre! Great post by the way.
I love this tragic story as well. I wrote about my fascination with this story as well as that of ABBA. It was an era of "Breaking up in Hi-Fi."
dude… so like a month ago my friend gave me the cd, Rumors, and needless to say it has changed my life. i'm pretty sure i've listened the song second hand news everyday for the past month 🙂
WOw, I have always loved all the fleetwood mac stuff and stevie / lindsey drama, and yes i totally get it, and get caught up in it too like you. I also have another band that I follow and love with a similar drama, but they won’t admit it, the clues are in the songs but they deny it to keep their clean cut image – roxette, per is totally in love with marie and always has been, he writes all the songs and the lyrics are so telling, but they are both married to other people and say they are only friends. But the way he looks at her sometimes and the way she looks at him gives me goosebumps. Thanks for your words, i am not crazy, love is out there and it is fun solving the puzzles.
I loved this post. It’s exactly how I think of them. I can’t help thinking they are are still in love. I think Stevie is definitely the love of Lindsey’s life and his soulmate in love and music. Lindsey is the same for her Stevie I believe. Their best music is about each other. I heard Lindsey intro “Say Goodbye” he said it was written after her left the band in 87 but he did nothing with it but felt it could only be sung with Stevie. He waffled and implied it was about forgiveness and moving on from Fleetwood Mac. But I have since read a quote from him where he said “He could never get over Stevie until he left the band.” hence the song. They both know its about stevie breaking up with him, and how the only wayt to get whole again was to leave her and the band. SUCH a beautiful, angry love story. Tragic like all good love stories are. I have so fallen in love with Say Goodbye. It’s beautiful. I think and wish now that Fleetwood Mac are not recording and touring non-stop that it’s time for Lindsey and Stevie to reform Buckingham/Nicks and write and record some new stuff.
Thank you for this post! It’s written so well and encapsulates everything I thought about them too. I love the part where you said that Lyndsey sounds like a pain but how could one not fall in love with him…”those eyes, that hair” There’s something so romantic about a tormented artist…and he is gorgeous! I think because they are such fantastic and talented artists it makes their relationship that much more intriguing. Thank you again!
Thank you for reading and stopping by! Lindsey is still handsome- even in his 60s! Can’t wait to see him when he stops in Austin.
Hey Hipstercrite, I really liked this piece. Like so many others, I, too, for whatever reason, wished that these two birds were together. I wonder: did you ever visit The Penguin website way back when? I wrote a lot of stuff there under the handle “John B.” (not my real name, of course). “The Dance” rekindled my interest in the group, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. BTW, according to Carol Ann Harris’s book (and how much we can believe of it, no one can know), “Angel” was written about Mick. The lyrics would certainly seem to indicate as much, given the affair they were having at the time.
You’re an interesting (bad word, I know) writer. My son went to college in your hometown (I think). Not the most exciting place; we live in Syracuse, which is marginally better. I think you landed in a pretty neat place.
Have a nice one.
Hey John! Thanks for stopping by. I flipped through Carol Ann Harris’ book the other day. Is it worth getting?
I’m from Cortland! Did your son go to SUNY Cortland?
I just wanted to say I loved this article you wrote. Your way with words is amazing
Awww thanks, Stephanie!
Your story of how you came to love Lindsey & Stevie and Fleetwood Mac is exactly the same as mine, except I was 16, not 14, when Silver Springs popped up on VH1 that day.
I just watched a documentary on Fleetwood Mac and they showed the photo of the very tasteful nude Stevie and Lindsay. What a stunner Stevie was and still is. Absolutely gorgeous photo.
Being named after Stevie, cause my Mom is awesome! I loved this post as well. Stevie is my Goddess and I do know because my soul is connected to hers that she will always be in love with him, and he with her. That is the reason why Stevie never married, besides Kim, for a 3 month stint, and never had babies. She knew if it wasn’t with Lindsey she did not want it with anyone. Thank you great article!
[…] bekendste voormalige relatie binnen de groep is die van Stevie Nicks en Lindsey Buckingham. Als het duo Nicks/Buckingham, waren ze naast een stel op muzikaal gebied al een duo voor Fleetwood […]
“Ensued in a staredown…”?? English is a beautiful language, you should learn it sometime.
Thank you for pointing that out! I appreciate it!
I wonder if Lindsey was still on cocaine when he married his wife. She had a studio apt a far cry from where she is now, she is and always will be a gold digger. For any woman to put up with LB old girlfriend and main love to stay in her home is NUTS,,,,,,,, She is after what little money he has left after buying three homes in Brentwood to keep her happy, plus the horses, barn, equipment and lessons, it’s a wonder he has anything left. No wonder he has to go,on tour for a year at a time, she keeps him broke. Her kids don’t even look like him, son perhaps, but the girls are their mother from head to toe, they don’t look like him at all, but I dont think that matters to her as long as the last name is there no a trust fund . He is already boared with her and fatherhood, plus he has aged twenty years. She married her father Image since he is old enough to be her father. What a bitch, LB wake up nd smell the roses as its only a matter of time. Ps DNA was available did you use it, so t think so. I know he loves his music but she is sucking the life out of him..
Well said. Tired of Kristen’s attacks on Stevie Nicks. Most recently after her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Correction ( with a trust fund) big difference there, she pops kids out every two years just as he comes off tour, birth control is free not like she could not afford it, of course why she has him by the short hair already. It’s a big step from a studio apt for her so she is not about to let go without a fight or she is so weak she will put up with anything.
LB your super at what you do but stupid in life……..
Sam – you are spot on about Lindsey’s wife. She has been trolling Stevie Nicks on social media and her attacks get uglier (and of course Stevie ignores it all).
I dont think Lindsey’s hurting for money….evidently he, Christine and Stevie are the songwriters of FM and as such have been raking in royalties for Decades.
Stevie made a comment that none of them need to work at this point if they dont want to.
Mylong-term fascination with Stevie Nicks, led to my discovering the major loves of HER lives, the details, some stramy, some poignant, and heart-breaking. I am now in my fifties, Stevie is in her sixties, I am contemplating on bringing my daughter, who is in her 20’s with me to see Stevie in New Orleans. I have a certain sadness, though. As if I know too much, and as if my daugher will never quite “get it”. The whole magical thing. This is an awesome title, by the way for a blog, it says more than what is on the surface. There was QUITE a soap opera there! How is Fleetwood-Mac connected to The Beatles? Another soap opera! Through Mick Fleetood’s wife, Joan Boyd, Patti Boyd’s sister, aka “The Muse” of musicians and aka, Lalyla. Like Sands Through The Hour Glass, There Go The Stars in Our Lives…the closer you look, the more flaws and rough edges you will see. It was wonderful when I could see them all from afar….beautiful, glittering, hot, stars. (And you are right, Lindsey Buckingham is male magic, just as Stevie emulated female magic….way back then-)
Really good post (and comments). I landed here because of Kristen Buckingham’s nasty comments about Stevie Nicks on social media. I am grateful that Stevie Nicks ignores her. Kristen’s comments are incredibly immature and hateful, especially since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. If you research Kristen’s background it is evident how she got to where she is. Not a fan.