In a strikingly candid interview, Stevie Nicks recently said she was once addicted to tranquilizers for eight years, that a one-time experiment with Botox left her face a mess for months, that she sleeps with her dog these days – Harry Styles is just a “very good friend,” thank you – and that she had an abortion in 1979 while dating Eagles singer Don Henley.
For a woman who famously keeps her visions to herself, she’s rather chatty.
Nicks, 72, is having a bit of a moment these days. One of her signature songs, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, is enjoying a renaissance. A TikTok video of a middle-aged man riding a skateboard and swigging Ocean Spray product while chilling to the 1977 hit has gone viral. The clip excellently captures a spirit of breezy mellow in pandemic times and helped Dreams rack up almost three million on-demand U.S. streams over a three-day period late last month – an 88-per-cent bump in consumption. Downloaded more than 25,000 times last week, the 43-year-old track sits at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Nicks also has a new concert film coming out this week. Recorded in 2017, 24 Karat Gold: The Concert is a run-through of Fleetwood Mac and solo material, along with behind-the-song insight. She talks about wanting to use Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for her debut solo album in 1981. The story goes that Atlantic Records' then-president Doug Morris told Nicks it wasn’t going to happen because Petty had a steadfast policy: “No girls allowed.”
There was a lot of that back then. In 24 Karat Gold, Nicks says she had to basically beg the Fleetwood Mac guys (and the one other woman, Christine McVie) to make that solo record, Bella Donna. When the album was released, Nicks’s bandmate and former partner Lindsey Buckingham apparently couldn’t be bothered to even give it a listen.
In the recent bombshell interview, Nicks talked about terminating a pregnancy in order to stay in the band.
“If I had not had that abortion, I’m pretty sure there would have been no Fleetwood Mac," she told The Guardian. "There’s just no way that I could have had a child then, working as hard as we worked constantly. … I would have had to walk away.”
Things have changed for women in the music business since then. Two of the world’s biggest pop stars are Taylor Swift and Adele – women who call their own shots. Swift has fought Spotify and her former record label, Big Machine. In 2017, she won a lawsuit in a celebrated “butt grab trial” involving a male radio personality. If Nicks, Linda Ronstadt and the Wilson sisters of Heart had sued for every groping back in the day, they would have spent more time in the courtroom than in the recording studio.
As for Adele, proclaiming herself to be a “stay-at-home mum,” she hasn’t put out an album in five years. Over the weekend, the British superstar confirmed that she would appear on Saturday Night Live on Oct. 24 – but as the show’s host, not the musical guest. Linda Evangelista didn’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day, and an empowered Adele does not sing for free.
Talking about her career in 24 Karat Gold (which screens at select Cineplex theatres on Oct. 23 and 25), Nicks says it took the success of her second solo record, 1983′s The Wild Heart, to convince her that Bella Donna wasn’t a “fluke” achievement. Surprising insecurity for an artist of her standing and scarf collection.
She also discusses her friendships with Prince and Petty. The latter gave her the song Stop Draggin' My Heart Around. Those men are gone now, but Nicks, whose own past drug use is the stuff of rock 'n’ roll legend, survives.
The song Dreams is a scathing missive to Buckingham, written as they were ending their eight-year relationship. Nicks may not have had a full say when it came to her career back then, but she had power in a song. “Listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness,” Nicks sings to Buckingham. “Like a heartbeat, drives you mad, in the stillness of remembering what you had.”
In 2018, she and the other members of Fleetwood Mac booted Buckingham from the band. According to the singer-guitarist, Nicks had given the band a him-or-me ultimatum. They chose her. A glass of Ocean Spray for Buckingham – Nicks is buying.
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