Born Stephanie Nicks on May 26, 1948, in Phoenix, AZ; daughter of Jesse Seth and Barbara Nicks; married Kim Anderson, 1983; divorced 1984. Addresses: Record company-Modern/Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.
A trailblazer for women in rock music, singer Stevie Nicks was one of the first female performers to maintain a feminine stage persona in the masculine world of rock and roll. She reached international recognition in the mid-1970s singing for the band Fleetwood Mac, and her flowing, chiffon-draped, gypsy costumes later became trend-setting fashion. Nicks embarked on a solo career in 1981 and continued writing and recording her own music long after her departure from Fleetwood Mac. "Stevie Nicks is more than a rock icon," Rob Sheffield wrote in Rolling Stone. "She's the high priestess of her own religion, ruling a world of prancing gypsies, gold-dust princesses, and white-winged doves, all without going anywhere near a sensible shoe."
Born Stephanie Nicks in 1948, she grew up migrating from one city to another throughout the western United States. Her father, Jesse Seth Nicks, was a business executive who kept moving his wife Barbara and their family as he changed jobs. "Our father would always be getting promoted and transferred, so we never grew up in any one place," Nicks' brother Christopher told Timothy White in Rolling Stone. "We moved from Phoenix to New Mexico to Texas to Utah to Los Angeles to San Francisco."
Stevie Nicks' interest in music began early, and she received her first guitar when she was 13 years old. While she was in high school in Palo Alto, California, she met guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and the two became both musically and romantically involved. In 1968, Nicks' family moved to Chicago, but she stayed behind to play with Buckingham in the band Fritz. Within a couple of years, the band moved to Los Angeles. Buckingham and Nicks moved in together, and she worked as a waitress to support them. "Lindsey thought it would be selling out for him to work at a restaurant like that, so I did," Nicks told Jancee Dunn in Harper's Bazaar.
Twirled Onstage with Fleetwood Mac
By 1973, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had split with Fritz and released their own album on Polydor Records called Buckingham/Nicks. It was this album that grabbed the attention of a British band called Fleetwood Mac, which included drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, and keyboardist Christine McVie. The band wanted Lindsey Buckingham to join them, but he wouldn't agree unless Stevie Nicks was included in the agreement. "Buckingham/Nicks had to bite the bullet for Fleetwood Mac," Nicks later wrote in the liner notes for her box set Enchanted. "We'll never quite know exactly what would have happened if we'd gone the other way.... But it would have been a whole other life."
The new version of Fleetwood Mac released their self-titled album in 1975. It sold approximately three million copies, and the band embarked on a successful tour. It was the beginning of a legendary rock formation, but the band faced several challenges almost immediately. "We were a strange group of three English people and two American people," Nicks told Sarah McLachlan in Interview, "and that was very hard on the road, because we were just so different."
The following year, Fleetwood Mac began recording their next album, Rumors. During this time, the band went into a period of personal chaos. Buckingham and Nicks were in the middle of a turbulent break up, John and Christine McVie were in the process of divorcing, and Mick Fleetwood was also divorcing his wife. The emotional commotion came through loud and clear in the group's songwriting, resulting in a hugely successful album. Rumors ended up selling 18 million albums in the U.S. alone, and remained on Billboard's album charts for nearly nine years. "Probably the reason people love Rumors so much is because they say that great art comes out of great tragedy," Nicks told Joe Benson in Off the Record.
Despite the turmoil in their personal lives, Fleetwood Mac continued to work together professionally. They released their next album, Tusk, in 1979, along with a live album recorded on tour, Fleetwood Mac Live, in 1980. By this time, Stevie Nicks had established herself as the centerpiece of Fleetwood Mac's live performances. She danced, spun, and twirled on stage like a magical princess in a fairy tale. "When I walk up on that stage, I give people a little bit of an escape into fairyland," said Nicks in Glamour. "I'm the only one in the group who's free to sprinkle stardust here and there."
Ventured Out on Solo Flight
Nicks decided to spread her musical wings beyond the confines of Fleetwood Mac in the early 1980s. She released her first solo album, Bella Donna, on Atlantic Records in 1981. The album climbed to the top of the charts and quickly reached platinum sales. Nicks remained a member of Fleetwood Mac, but felt the need to open up another avenue for her music. "'Bella Donna' is a term of endearment I use, and the title is about making a lot of decisions in my life, making a change based on the turmoil in my soul," Nicks explained to Timothy White in Rolling Stone.
Bella Donna included several hits, including a duet with singer Tom Petty called "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." Nicks said recording the album helped her learn to take more responsibility for her work as a songwriter and performer. "For Bella Donna, I had to learn to stand up and lead," Nicks told Jon Pareles in Mademoiselle. "I had to learn to do this alone."
Stevie Nicks returned to the studio with Fleetwood Mac to record Mirage, which was released in 1982. Then, she continued her solo career with Wild Heart, which included the singles "Nightbird" and "Enchanted." Around this same time, she married Kim Anderson, the widowed husband of her best friend Robin Stucker, who died of leukemia. The marriage lasted a short eight months.
Traumatized by Personal Turmoil
Nicks continued her fast-paced recording and touring schedule with another solo album in 1985 called Rock A Little. Unfortunately, she couldn't maintain her rock and roll stride without the help of a multi-million-dollar cocaine habit that ultimately burned a hole through the cartilage in her nose. In 1986, her addiction became so bad that she entered into a 28-day rehab program at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. "But after I quit cocaine, things got even worse," Nicks recalled to Todd Gold and Steve Dougherty in People.
After Fleetwood Mac released Tango in the Night in 1987, Lindsey Buckingham decided to leave the band. During the same time, Stevie Nicks decided to see a psychiatrist about her cocaine addiction. The doctor prescribed a powerful tranquilizer called Klonopin and Nicks was on her way to another drug addiction. She released the solo album Other Side of the Mirror, but through the haze of drugs, remembered very little of the tour that followed. Despite her addiction, Stevie Nicks continued to write, record, and perform on her own and with Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood Mac released Behind the Mask in 1990, and the following year, Nicks released a greatest hits album, called Timespace, which included three new songs.
In 1993, Stevie Nicks began to turn her life around. She left Fleetwood Mac. And after she fell into a fireplace and gashed her head, she entered a 45-day detox program to help her drug addiction. The following year, she released her fifth solo album entitled Street Angel. "I've earned my place as an enduring woman in rock 'n roll, and I'm not about to give it up. Not as long as I still feel inspired by the music," Nicks told Larry Flick that year in Billboard. But as her tour ended the following year, Stevie Nicks put all that aside and vowed never to sing in front of people again. "Singing is the love of my life, but I was ready to give it all up because I couldn't handle people talking about how fat I was," Nicks explained to Steve Dougherty and Todd Gold in People.
Between her increasing weight and constant fatigue, Stevie Nicks decided to have her breast implants that she had received in 1976 removed. She discovered that both implants were "totally broken" and a possible factor in her health problems. After her surgery, her energy and health began to return and her weight slimmed down. This led to her renewed outlook about performing again. She recorded the songs "Somebody Stand By Me" for the Boys on the Sidesoundtrack in 1995 and "Twisted" for the Twister soundtrack in 1996.
Created Renewals and Reunions
The following year, the members of Fleetwood Mac reunited for a three-month, sold-out tour and recorded the album The Dance, which commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the band's benchmark album Rumors. The CD included live renditions of their previous hit songs, plus four new tracks. "We didn't all enjoy it very much the first time because we were too high and too uptight," Nicks told Chris Willman in Entertainment Weekly. Fleetwood Mac reunited on stage again in 1998 for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Stevie Nicks also released her first greatest hits boxed set, Enchanted, that same year. "It was like looking at a great book report of my life, good and bad," Nicks told Ray Rogers in Interview. "Each song tells me exactly who I was in my life when I wrote it." Nicks also contributed two songs-"If You Ever Did Believe" and "Crystal"-to the Practical Magicsoundtrack.
At the age of 50, Nicks was still combating the division between her stage persona and her offstage personality. "The girl onstage is glamorous and movie star-esque," Nicks told Barbara Stepko in McCalls. "The thing is, when the makeup, the clothes, and the glitter come off, some people still treat me like her. In real life, I'm normal, practical, and 50 years old. A grown-up person who could be a grandmother."
However, Stevie Nicks insisted that despite her age, she would continue to record and perform rock music for as long as there were people who wanted to listen. "As long as I can play a song and people are still sitting there at the end of it," Nicks told Jeremy Helligar in People, "I won't worry about my music losing value."
by Sonya Shelton
Stevie Nicks's Career
Began performing with Lindsey Buckingham, 1966; released Buckingham/Nicks on Polydor Records, 1973; joined Fleetwood Mac, 1974; released first solo album, Bella Donna, 1981; released a total of seven albums with Fleetwood Mac, 1975-90; left Fleetwood Mac for full-time solo career, 1993; reunited with Fleetwood Mac for The Dance, 1997.
- Selected discography
- Bella Donna , Atlantic Records, 1981.
- Wild Heart , Atlantic Records, 1983.
- Rock a Little , Atlantic Records, 1985.
- Other Side of the Mirror , Atlantic Records, 1989.
- Timespace , Atlantic Records, 1991.
- Street Angel , Modern/Atlantic Records, 1994.
- Enchanted , Modern Atlantic Records, 1998.
- with Fleetwood Mac
- Fleetwood Mac , Warner Bros. Records, 1975.
- Rumors , Warner Bros. Records, 1977.
- Tusk , Warner Bros. Records, 1979.
- Fleetwood Mac Live , Warner Bros. Records, 1980.
- Mirage , Warner Bros. Records, 1982.
- Tango in the Night , Warner Bros. Records, 1987.
- Behind the Mask , Warner Bros. Records, 1990.
- The Dance , Warner/Reprise Records, 1997.
- Billboard , March 26, 1994; August 29, 1998; September 5, 1998.
- Boston Globe , April 24, 1998.
- Entertainment Weekly , May 24, 1996; May 1, 1998; May 8, 1998.
- Glamour , December 1981.
- Harper's Bazaar , November 1997.
- ICE , February 1998.
- Interview , March 1995, July 1998.
- Mademoiselle , August 1982.
- McCalls , January 1999.
- New York Times , June 19, 1998.
- Off the Record , September 6, 1998.
- People , December 29, 1980; October 5, 1981; June 13, 1994; January 19, 1998; May 18, 1998.
- Rolling Stone , September 3, 1981; September 22, 1994; May 14, 1998.
- San Francisco Chronicle , April 26, 1998.
- Teen , March 1983.
- Time , October 24, 1983.
- Toledo Blade , May 18, 1998.
- The Nicks Fix , http://nicksfix.com (September 23, 1998).