Listen to Tell Me More on:
Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac by Mick Fleetwood
Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoe Howe
The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks by Rob Sheffield (audiobook)
Trashy Divorces: Witchy Woman (Oct 25. 2020) and Go Your Own Way (April 7, 2019)
Shameless – Fleetwood Mac and the Making of Rumours: Part 1 and Part 2
For literal years… like maybe two, Chelsea was telling Julie to read Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (author of The Seven Husbands of Evalyn Hugo.) About six months ago she picked it up and read it in less than 24 hrs. Seriously. At the time, Chelsea had told Julie that the primary relationship in the book had been modeled after Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. After reading the book, the relationship between Daisy and Billy in the book didn’t really parallel what Julie knew of Stevie and Lindsey, but she was still really, really, into the book.
Knowing that it’s being made into a series featuring Riley Keough in the titular role (aka Elvis’ granddaughter), every now and then Julie Googles to see if a release date has come out yet. Just a week or so ago on her regular Google, Julie came across an article written by Taylor Jenkins Reid for Hello Sunshine (Reese Witherspoon’s book club) that better explained how the chemistry between the characters of Daisy and Billy was inspired by a specific Fleetwood Mac performance.
The Dance – 1997
Excerpt from: How Fleetwood Mac Influenced ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ by Taylore Jenkins Reid for Hello Sunshine.
“In the summer of 1997, I was thirteen years old and highly addicted to channel-surfing between MTV and VH1. I was mostly looking for No Doubt or Third Eye Blind videos, even perhaps Jamiroquai sliding across the walls. What I was not looking for was an old band I’d never heard of performing a two-hour-long live concert, preempting my Puff Daddy videos. But, nevertheless, Fleetwood Mac was always playing on repeat on both channels that summer, singing their greatest hits in a reunion show called The Dance. They were inescapable.
I don’t remember the first time I actually paid attention to the screen. Maybe I resigned myself to watching snippets of it, flipping back and forth between channels. What I do know is that, at some point during that heavy rotation cycle in which The Dance dominated music television, I glanced up at the screen while Stevie Nicks was singing “Landslide.”
The lighting was dim, she was in a gauzy black dress, her hair was big and blond. She shared the stage only with Lindsey Buckingham, who was just off to the side, accompanying her. She sang with such fragility and yet she seemed so confident and strong—and as she did, she kept looking back at Lindsey, her expression warm and intimate, but cryptic.
Who were these people?
As the song was coming to an end, Stevie and Lindsey moved closer to one another, smiling tenderly, maybe even a little bit wistfully. Lindsey stopped strumming for a moment and Stevie let it fly as he watched from the sideline. And for one split second—truly, a slice of a moment—Lindsey put his fist under his chin and looked at Stevie as if she was a miracle.
And I thought, “Oh, they’re in love with each other.”
That moment in Landslide is what Taylor Jenkins Reid kept coming back to as she began writing Daisy Jones and the Six. She says she wanted to write a story about, “how the lines between real life and performance can get blurred, about how singing about old wounds might keep them fresh”
Now, Julie didn’t have cable in 1997 – for her, this would have been the summer between 7th and 8th grade… but she did have a friend in High School who also had a similar experience with The Dance and she was obsessed with Fleetwood Mac and the Stevie/Lindsey relationship all through high school. Watching The Dance on VH1 that summer seems to have been a formative moment for many women of a certain age.
Landslide performed at The Dance, 1997
Fleetwood Mac History
(Background on Fleetwood Mac comes from Mick Fleetwood’s 1990 memoir)
Fleetwood Mac was formed in 1967 in London, England. It was originally a blues band and did well as such in the UK. They had a steady rhythm section – Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass, but they had trouble keeping a guitarist (we’ll come back to that.)
Mick had moved to London to live with his sister and pursue music at the age of 15. Shortly after he met Jenny Boyd (sister of Patti Boyd – George Harrison’s wife – muse for songs like Something in the Way, Layla, and Wonderful Tonight.) This sort of got him moving in the right circles.
After separately playing with multiple different bands in the UK, Mick and John formed Fleetwood Mac… well, actually – Mick and Peter Green formed Fleetwood Mac before they even had Mac on board, but it all worked out. They played the blues, toured, and had some big hits in the UK like Albatross which is, oddly, an instrumental.
So back to the guitarists…
Some people say there’s a curse on Fleetwood Mac’s lead guitarist – they’ve been through a lot of them.
Original guitarist and frontman, Peter Green got hooked on LSD and left the band in 1970 after a bad acid trip.
The next guitarist, Jeremy Spencer went out to get a magazine one day in 1971 and instead joined The Children of God cult… and basically, no one heard from him again.
(This is the cult that the Phoenix kids and Rose McGowen grew up in. You may have heard true crime podcasts about it and/or seen documentaries…. Today they go by the name The Family International)
In 1972, Danny Kirwan got pissed that someone was playing off-key. He refused to go on stage and heckled the band during the show. He was fired.
And finally, Bob Weston, their next guitarist, had an affair with Mick’s wife, Jenny in 1973 and left the band.
Christine Perfect, a keyboard player, and singer/songwriter (who by this point was married to John McVie) joined the band in 1970 and this is really when their sound began to change from blues to pop.
So, in 1973, after Bob Weston left… the band called their manager and said they needed time to get their act together before preceding their tour. The manager said, very compassionate, absolutely not. The band took a break anyway… so the manager put together an imposter group to tour as them. To get them on board, the manager told the imposters that Fleetwood and Christine were going to join the tour in two weeks (which was not true.) They began litigation in the UK over who had the right to use the band name… but in the meantime, they couldn’t tour or record in the UK under the name Fleetwood Mac… so they moved to LA.
All of this is what led to Fleetwood Mac hanging around LA, looking to add a guitarist to their lineup in 1974… enter, Lindsey and Stevie.
Stevie and Lindsey’s background:
Stevie Nicks was born on May 26, 1948, in Phoenix, Arizona. Her name is actually Stephanie, but as a child, she couldn’t say that, so Stevie stuck. Her Grandfather, A.J. Nicks was a country singer, though not a famous one and he taught her to harmonize. Her family moved around a lot when she was little, Albuquerque, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Los Angeles; and San Francisco, CA. She received her first guitar at the age of 16 and wrote her first song, “I’ve Loved and I’ve Lost, and I’m Sad but Not Blue.” She attended Arcadia High School in Arcadia, CA then Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, CA for her senior year.
Lindsey Buckingham was born on October 3, 1949, in Palo Alto, CA. He had two older brothers and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area town of Atherton. He and his brothers were competitive swimmers and they attended Menlo-Atherton High School. Fun fact, one of his brothers went on to win a silver medal in the Olympics for swimming.
One Wednesday night in 1966, Stevie was 17, and Lindsay was 16, they met at a Young Life Youth Group meeting. According to Stevie, the youth group was the only way to go out on a school night…. And boy do I feel this.
According to Stevie, Lindsey was seated on the floor singing The Mama’s and The Papa’s California Dreaming and she walked over and began to harmonize with him.
They never forgot each other and in 1968, Lindsey called up Stevie and asked her to join his band, Fritz. They quickly began dating (though they often claim they weren’t dating at that point – but it’s thought they kept it a secret from the band) and it became obvious that the two of them were more ambitious than the rest of the group – who were happy to play as an opening act at shows in San Fran.
In 1972, the two relocated to LA. Here, they performed and recorded together as Buckingham/Nicks… it’s also where Lindsey starts to be a real dick.
Stevie knew they needed money to live so she worked 2-3 jobs at times to support them while Lindsey stayed home, did hash, played guitar, and wrote songs. I guess it worked for them. I feel like most relationships have a doer and a relaxer… at least I know mine does.
They were sort of on and off at this time. But they couldn’t really afford to live or perform music on their own, so they kept getting back together.
They put out an album under Buckingham/Nicks that didn’t perform well but was well-received by fellow musicians. The cover is pretty iconic, it has both Lindsey and Stevie on the cover topless. Apparently, Stevie did not want to be topless but Lindsey called her a baby and pressured her into it. She was ashamed to show her parents and later shrugged it off by saying no one saw it anyway since the album tanked.
Buckingham/Nicks – Meet Fleetwood Mac…
So, back to Fleetwood Mac. In 1974, they’re in LA looking to add a guitarist to their line-up and make a comeback. One day, Mick is in the studio and hears some tracks from Buckingham/Nicks. One in particular – Frozen Love. He says he’d like to meet the guitarist and Lindsey just happens to be in the studio at that time. Feels like fate, right? They meet and Mick offers him the job.
Now, here’s the only stand-up thing Lindsey Buckingham may have ever done… he says he’s part of a package deal. If they want him in the band, they have to take Stevie too. The band is a little unsure because they already have one female singer/songwriter in the group…but they decided to get together and see how it goes.
The five meet at a Mexican restaurant and hit it off in a big way. Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks become the most recognizable and longest-lasting version of Fleetwood Mac.
From 1974-1980, they recorded 3 hit records together and toured nonstop. Fleetwood Mac’s tenth and self-title studio album, Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and Tusk (a double album.)
By the time they were recording Rumours in the first half of 1976, there were, well, a lot of rumors swirling. John and Christine were getting a divorce (and Christine was sleeping with the lighting tech), Stevie and Lindsey were splitting up, Mick and Jenny were getting a divorce (for the second time) and they were all heavily addicted to alcohol, coke, or both. The album was released in February of 1977 and they immediately went on tour to promote it.
Rumours is considered one of the best breakup albums of all time… obviously.
These five were all in different iterations of the band from 1980-2018 and also often performed on each other’s solo albums and tours. It seems like a pretty toxic codependent relationship between all five of them. This vibe actually went back to the start of the band. In the late 60s and early 70s the band, their wives, kids, girlfriends, and roadies all lived together in the English countryside. This trend of all living together continued at different times in the band – or at some points the guys living together and the gals living separately.
A Reddit user claimed that in an interview, John and Lindsey had at one time claimed they were the only two band members that had never hooked up with each other… so, make what you will of that…
They had a fairly large altercation as a band in 1987 and Mick Fleetwood tells the story of physical violence between Lindsey and Stevie in his autobiography.
Lindsey left the band the next day.
They’ve taken breaks and gotten back together over and over again. However, these five just all keep gravitating toward each other like magnets!