Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks. Artist, singer, performer, musician. b. May 26, 1948.
Stephanie Lynn Nicks was born in Phoenix, Arizona. Her parents, Jess and Barbara Nicks, liked to move around a lot as her father sought new and innovative ways to climb the corporate ladder and accumulate financial success. Stevie's mother occupied her daughter's time with tales of fantasy, faeries and other things beyond the realm of buzzing street lamps and windshield wipers.
Stevie's grandfather, Aaron Nicks, was a country/western singer whose unsuccessful career in music led him to retreat to the mountains in search of solitude. His frustration with his own career turned to elation when his four year old granddaughter began singing along with him on old country classics and dancing on tabletops at the bar her father owned.
During Stevie's high school years, her parents relocated to San Francisco. Although they relocated again two years later, Stevie stayed in San Francisco. Her first band, The Changing Times, played high school dances and functions. Her second, the Fritz Raybyne Memorial Band, a psychedelic rock band more commonly known as "Fritz," a quartet that included a young man known as Lindsey Buckingham. They mananged to find a few paying gigs, including opening for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, but put an end to their existence in 1971.
Both Stevie and Lindsey Buckingham were attending San Jose State at the time of Fritz's dismemberment. Shortly thereafter, they both dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of finding a successful musical career together.
In 1973, Buckingham Nicks released their first and only album. Both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham appeared nude on the cover. An argument ensued about whether or not the cover was artistic or not, with Lindsey taking pro and Stevie taking con.
Not long after its release, the Buckingham Nicks album is dropped completely by Polydor Records. Out of money and with their luck taking a downward turn, Stevie takes a job as a waitress. Things are going so badly that they begin to wonder how long it will take them to starve to death.
Just as the starving to death talk becomes serious, Stevie and Lindsey are contacted by Mick Fleetwood, who has had a vision about adding the two of them to a re-vamped Fleetwood Mac lineup. With the last of their funds, Stevie runs out to purchase all of Fleetwood Mac's albums. Concerned that this is a band that she might be unable to relate to, Stevie Nicks hears a mystical side to Fleetwood Mac that leaves her feeling very excited.
In about four months, the 1975 self-titled Fleetwood Mac album is released and features a hit single, "Rhiannon," written by Stevie. At the same time she writes a number of other songs that Fleetwood Mac shows no interest in recording but will eventually become the foundation of her future solo career.
In 1976, the Buckingham Nicks enhanced Fleetwood Mac began recording their second album and also embraced the late seventies concept of divorce/breakup within a band infrastructure (see also ABBA). Christine and John McVie were waving adios to their marriage, Stevie and Lindsey weren't getting on very well romantically and Mick Fleetwood was filing for divorce from someone not actually in the band. The result of all this was a personal album about all this and more called Rumours. Stevie Nicks' "Dreams" becomes the only number one hit for Fleetwood Mac in the United States.
During the Rumours tour, Stevie and Mick Fleetwood become romantically entangled, creating the image of the strangest coupling ever visualized. After the release of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk and a live album, Stevie composes and releases her first solo album, Bella Donna. She contacts Jimmy Iovine, the producer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, because she has a strong desire to meet and work with them. Iovine is against the idea, religiously opposed to any woman appearing on a Heartbreakers album, but Stevie never surrenders, and appears on two songs on their next album, Hard Promises. Tom Petty writes and sings a duet on Stevie's Bella Donna entitled "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" which becomes Stevie's first "solo" hit single. During the work with Tom Petty, she also becomes romantically involved with Jimmy Iovine and moves in with him.
Later in 1981, after the successful release of Bella Donna, Stevie marries Kim Anderson, the boyfriend of a close friend who died of leukemia shortly after giving birth to Kim's son Matthew. The marriage does not last more than a few months.
Stevie hangs out with Fleetwood Mac to record Mirage in 1982, but at the same time is composing songs for her next solo album. She releases The Wild Heart in 1983, highlighted by the hit single "Stand Back." Stevie releases her third solo album in 1985, Rock A Little, a album delayed for over a year because personal differences cause the replacement of producer Jimmy Iovine, who we mentioned a handful of paragraphs ago as having romantic entanglements with Ms. Nicks.
Years of cocaine abuse catch up with Stevie in 1986. She voluntarily admits herself to the Betty Ford clinic. After her stay there she notes that she was lucky to break from her addiction, but also defends the point that sometimes tragic circumstances cause the creation of great art.
In 1987 there is a new Fleetwood Mac album and Stevie is there... sort of. She records most of her vocals alone and away from the band. Tango In The Night is the resulting album, and Stevie tours with the band although Lindsey Buckingham hands in his resignation before the tour begins.
The fourth Stevie Nicks album, The Other Side of the Mirror, perhaps a backhanded reference the cocaine story, is released in 1989. The following year she records a album with Fleetwood Mac sans Lindsey Buckingham, Behind The Mask. During the tour for Behind The Mask she has a jumbo-size falling out with Mick Fleetwood and announces she will never work with Fleetwood again. The key component of the split came from Mick Fleetwood's refusal to grant permission for Stevie to release "Silver Springs" on her upcoming solo album. It was a song Stevie wrote for Fleetwood Mac which was released only as a B-Side to "Go Your Own Way" and never as an album track. For years Stevie felt Mick Fleetwood was shunning the song, and this was the final slap in the face as far as she was concerned.
1991 saw the release of Timespace, a Stevie Nicks "greatest hits" package featuring a few new offerings, but not "Silver Springs". The album went platinum without much prodding.
In 1992, a mini-reunion of Nicks, Buckingham and the rest of Fleetwood Mac is invoked for the 1992 inauguration of Bill Clinton. After the show, Stevie makes her split with Fleetwood Mac as official as possible. She releases her fifth solo album, Street Angel, which is her first not to go platinum.
In 1997, following the late nineties trend of bands reforming like melting gelatin thrust into an unforgiving refrigerator, Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac for a live reunion album and tour known as The Dance. The highlight was the release of the long sequestered "Silver Springs." In 1998 Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Stevie Nicks remains active in recording and touring. 2001 saw the release of her solo album Trouble In Shangri-La. Although her solo albums seem to become more obscure with each release, she maintains a strong and loyal following. She seems to have always been one of those people who is either adored or despised, sort of like incense and candles...