Stevie Nicks Biography, Parents, Career, Albums, Awards, Addiction, Relationship

Stevie Nicks, a musician, joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and soon rose to prominence. The band’s members suffered numerous personal hardships yet prevailed critically and commercially. Rumours, its sophomore album, has sold over 21 million copies and won Album of the Year at the 1978 Grammy Awards.

Despite years of addiction, Nicks has had a successful solo career, with the blockbuster album Bella Donna and popular songs “Edge of Seventeen” and “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” with Tom Petty. The rocker was the first woman to be honored into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.

Early Life

Stephanie Lynn Nicks, a singer and songwriter, was born on May 26, 1948, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. Stevie, her well-known nickname, is said to have come from her childhood pronunciation of “Stephanie” as “tee-dee.” Barbara and Jess, Nicks’ parents, first met at Arizona State University. They met as college sweethearts and married in 1947. Barbara was a stay-at-home mom, while Jess worked as a corporate executive.

The future singer’s paternal grandpa, Aaron Nicks, was a would-be country star in the Nicks dynasty. Aaron constructed a guitar for young Stevie and taught her well-known country music songs. Nicks began performing alongside him at nearby gin mills at the age of five. Her brother, Christopher, was born about this period.

The Nicks family moved around Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and California as Nicks’ father ascended through the corporate ranks. By 1963, the family had relocated to the Los Angeles suburbs, and Nicks had enrolled at Arcadia High School. She met her best friend, Robin, there and joined Changing Times, a band modeled after The Mamas and The Papas.

Her time with the organization was brief; Nicks and her family soon relocated to Palo Alto, California, where she attended Menlo Atherton High School. Stevie met fellow guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham here. The two had a solid musical partnership and shared a tight bond.

Relationship with Lindsey Buckingham

Nicks briefly attended San Jose State College after high school, but she dropped out before 1968. The Nicks family relocated again, this time to Chicago, but Nicks chose to remain in California. She and Buckingham were members of the local band Fritz, which gained a little following. Before disbanding in 1971, the band opened for bigger bands such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

By this point, Nicks and Buckingham were profoundly in love. The two continued to work together and were soon signed to Polydor Records. Buckingham-Nicks, an album published in 1972, went barely unnoticed. Nicks worked as a maid, a dental assistant, and a waiter in order to make ends meet.

Concurrently, Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie faced band disputes and lineup changes. In 1974, the band began looking for a new recording studio and scheduled a visit to Sound City Studio in the San Fernando Valley, where Stevie and Buckingham recorded their album. While touring the facility with Fleetwood Mac, producer Keith Olsen demonstrated the studio’s sonic capabilities by playing the Buckingham-Nicks song “Frozen Love.” Buckingham’s guitar sensibilities were appealing to the band.

Fleetwood Mac

Bob Welch, Fleetwood Mac’s then-guitarist, left the band a few weeks later. In need of a guitarist, Fleetwood remembered Buckingham’s song and set up a meeting with him. The band requested Buckingham to join them, but he refused until Nicks was included in the contract. Fleetwood consented, and Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975.

The newly formed band soon created an eponymous album, which sold 500,000 copies by December 1975 and went on to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart the following fall. Nicks’ songs, particularly the mysterious “Rhiannon” and the love ballad “Landslide,” were major smashes that catapulted the singer to stardom. Subsequent tours showcased Nicks’ signature flowing clothes and whirling onstage dances.

The band began recording their sophomore album in 1976, but their personal lives were in complete turmoil. The demands of travelling had strained Nicks’ voice, prompting her to seek medical attention. The band was also going through an emotional upheaval, with all of its romantic relationships disintegrating: the McVies decided to divorce, Fleetwood and his wife divorced, and Nicks and Buckingham were going through a difficult breakup.

However, the band continued to record together, and their next album, Rumours (1977), became a smash hit. It lasted 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, was certified platinum in the United States and the United Kingdom, and earned the band a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978. The band’s first and only No. 1 single was Nicks’ song “Dreams,” which was inspired by the group’s failing relationships. Nicks had a brief affair with band member Mick Fleetwood and had an on-again, off-again relationship with Eagles drummer Don Henley at this time.

Rumours is still the band’s most popular album, selling over 21 million copies. “Dreams” gained popularity again after a TikTok video went viral in September 2020. The following month, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in more than four decades.

Start of Her Solo Career

The band continued to release albums after Rumours, including 1979’s Tusk and 1980’s Fleetwood Mac Live, although Nicks sensed a pull toward solo work. Bella Donna, her 1981 album, featured guest vocalists Tom Petty and Tom Henley. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 almost immediately and included the hit singles “Edge of Seventeen” and “Leather and Lace,” as well as a duet with Petty called “Stop Dragging My Heart Around.”

Nicks kept going at a breakneck pace, recording Mirage with Fleetwood Mac in 1982 and her second solo album, The Wild Heart, in 1983. Stevie’s dearest buddy, Robin, died of leukemia about this time. Nicks married Robin’s widower, Kim Anderson, in order to provide a mother for Robin’s little son, Matthew. The relationship lasted only a year.

Addiction Struggles

Despite reaching platinum status, Nicks’ 1985 solo album, Rock A Little, failed to equal the commercial success of her prior efforts. In addition, the singer began to struggle with drink and drugs. She had a severe cocaine addiction that finally caused a hole in her nasal cartilage. She entered the Betty Ford Clinic in 1986 for a 28-day recovery program, which helped her overcome her chemical dependency.

The following year, she began seeing a psychiatrist, who advised her to take Klonopin. Despite the fact that she was no longer using cocaine, Nicks became hooked to the tranquilizer and remained under its effect for the most of the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time, she continued to tour and release independent singles as well as albums with Fleetwood Mac, including The Other Side of the Mirror (1989), Behind the Mask (1990) with Fleetwood Mac, and Timespace (1991).

Detox and Rock Hall of Fame

Nicks totally detoxed from Klonopin in 1993, after years of addiction, weight gain, and tiredness. The next year, she released Street Angel, her second solo album. Nicks returned to the studio to record new songs for numerous soundtracks as her health improved and she regained energy.

Fleetwood Mac reunited in 1997 and released The Dance. They made $36 million from the linked tour. Nicks also released a boxed set titled Enchanted and contributed two songs to the soundtrack of Practical Magic, a 1998 film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. That same year, Fleetwood Mac received one of rock’s highest honors: admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Recent Years and Latest Work

Nicks later collaborated with rocker Sheryl Crow on the latter’s 2001 solo CD, Trouble in Shangri-La. In 2003, she released a new album with Fleetwood Mac called Say You, Will. Nicks has since recorded and performed both as a solo artist and as a member of Fleetwood Mac. Her band was forced to cancel a portion of their 2013 tour due to John McVie’s illness.

Nicks published the CD 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault in 2014, which featured fresh recordings of demos recorded decades before. That same year, she worked as an adviser for Adam Levine‘s team on The Voice and starred in two episodes of the cable drama American Horror Story.

In 2018, Nicks readied to join Fleetwood Mac on a new tour, though this one would be without her former flame and longtime bandmate Buckingham.

Already a member of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist by Harry Styles in 2019. She was the first woman inducted twice and performed at the event.

Daisy Jones & the Six Saga

Daisy Jones & the Six, a series adapted from a book by Taylor Jenkins Reid about a fictional 1970s rock band, premiered on Amazon Prime in March 2023. The author has stated that Fleetwood Mac inspired her writing in part. The show, starring Riley Keough, soon became a smash and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Limited/Anthology Series.

After watching the episode twice, Nicks remarked on it for the first time in an August social media post. “In the beginning, it wasn’t really my story, but Riley seamlessly, soon became my story. It brought back memories that made me feel like a ghost watching my own story,” she wrote on Instagram. Nicks described watching it as an emotional event, and she expressed regret that former bandmate Christine McVie, who died in November 2022, was unable to see it.

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