1948–1978: Life and Career

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Posted on Fri, 03/13/2015 - 12:20pm
by Angie Spray

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1948–1971: Early Life and Career Beginnings

Nicks was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, to Jess Nicks, former president of Greyhound's Armour-Dial and Barbara Nicks, a homemaker. Nicks' grandfather, Aaron Jess Nicks, a struggling country music singer, taught Nicks to sing, performing duets with her by the time she was four years old. Nicks' mother was very protective of her, keeping her at home "more than most people were" and fostering in her a love of fairy tales. As a young child, Nicks had difficulty pronouncing her given name Stephanie, instead pronouncing it "tee-dee", which became the nickname, "Stevie". Her father's career as a food business executive necessitated frequent moves, and the family lived in Phoenix, Albuquerque, El Paso, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco during Nicks' youth. With the Goya guitar that she received for her sixteenth birthday, Nicks wrote her first song called "I've Loved and I've Lost, and I'm Sad But Not Blue." She spent her adolescence playing records constantly, and existing in her "own little musical world". She joined her first band, "The Changing Times", while attending Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California.

Nicks first met her future musical and romantic partner, Lindsey Buckingham, during her senior year at Menlo Atherton High School. She was attending a high school party and saw Buckingham playing "California Dreamin'", and joined in with the harmony. Buckingham contacted Nicks a few years later and asked her to join him and his bandmates, Javier Pacheco and Calvin Roper, in a band called Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band. Fritz became popular as a live act from 1968 until 1972, opening for popular musicians Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin – both of whom Nicks credits as inspiring her own stage intensity and performances – among others, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both Nicks and Buckingham attended San Jose State University in Northern California, where Nicks majored in Speech Communication. She had planned on becoming an English teacher, but she and Buckingham dropped out in 1968 to move to Los Angeles in pursuit of a music career when Nicks' family moved to Chicago.

1972–1974: Buckingham Nicks

After Fritz disbanded in 1972, Nicks and Buckingham continued to write and record as a duo, producing demo tapes at the coffee plant belonging to Buckingham's father, Morris. They then secured a deal with Polydor Records, which used tracks from their demo tapes to release the album Buckingham Nicks in 1973. The album was not a commercial success, despite the live shows that Nicks and Buckingham performed together to support it, and Polydor dropped the pair from the label. To support herself and Buckingham, who wrote music while recovering from mononucleosis, Nicks worked a variety of jobs, which included waiting tables and a stint cleaning engineer/producer Keith Olsen's house, where Nicks and Buckingham lived for a time before moving in with Richard Dashut. Nicks says that she first used cocaine during this time. "We were told that it was recreational and that it was not dangerous," Nicks recalled to Chris Isaak in 2009.

Nicks and Buckingham moved in with Richard Dashut in 1972. While there, Buckingham landed a guitar playing gig with the Everly Brothers, and toured with them while Nicks stayed behind working on songs. During this time, Nicks wrote "Rhiannon" after seeing the name in the novel Triad by Mary Leader. She also wrote "Landslide", inspired by the scenery of Aspen, and her inner turmoil over her decision to pursue music and her relationship with Buckingham:

"I realized then that everything could tumble, and when you're in Colorado, and you're surrounded by these incredible mountains, you think avalanche. It meant the whole world could tumble around us and the landslide would bring you down." "Everybody seems to think that I wrote this song about them...and my dad, my dad did have something to do with it, but he absolutely thinks that he was the whole complete reason it was ever written. I guess it was about September 1974, I was home at my dad and mom's house in Phoenix, and my father said, 'You know, I think that maybe... you really put a lot of time into this [her singing career], maybe you should give this six more months, and if you want to go back to school, we'll pay for it...Lindsey and I went up to Aspen, and we went to somebody's incredible house, and they had a piano, and I had my guitar with me, and I went into their living room, looking out over the incredible, like, Aspen sky way, and I wrote Landslide...three months later, Mick Fleetwood called."

1975–1978: Fleetwood Mac and Rumours

Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac on January 1, 1975 after Keith Olsen played their track "Frozen Love" for drummer Mick Fleetwood, who had come to Sound City in California, in search of a studio to record Fleetwood Mac's next album. Fleetwood remembered Buckingham's guitar work after guitarist Bob Welch's departure to pursue a solo career. Initially extending the offer only to Buckingham, Fleetwood later included Nicks in the offer when Buckingham insisted that he and Nicks were "a package deal."

In 1975, the band achieved success with the album Fleetwood Mac. Nicks' "Rhiannon", which appeared on the album, would eventually be voted one of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. Her live performances of the song throughout the decade began to take on a theatrical intensity not present on the album's single. The song built to a climax in which Nicks' vocals were so impassioned that Mick Fleetwood declared, "her Rhiannon in those days was like an exorcism." Also included on the album was "Landslide", which would go on to achieve collected millionaire status with over three million airplays and spawn multiple cover versions.

Also in 1975, Nicks worked with clothing designer Margi Kent to develop Nicks's unique onstage look, with costumes that featured flowing skirts, shawls and platform boots.

Following the success of Fleetwood Mac, increasing tension between Nicks and Buckingham began to take its toll on their creativity, and Nicks ended the relationship. Fleetwood Mac began recording their follow-up album, Rumours, in early 1976 and continued until late in the year. Also, Nicks and Buckingham sang back-up on Warren Zevon's self-titled second album.

Among Nicks's contributions to Rumours was "Dreams", which became the band's only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit single to date. Nicks had also written and recorded the song "Silver Springs", but it was ultimately not included on the album because the early versions of the song ran too long, the album was getting to be longer than the producer's target of 22 minutes per side, and the band was also concerned that the album had too many slow songs. Instead, the shorter and faster Nicks-penned tune "I Don't Want to Know" was recorded in its place. Studio engineer and co-producer Ken Caillat said that Nicks was very unhappy to find that the band had decided against her song "Silver Springs", which he said was beautifully crafted, and carried some of the band's best guitar work. Despite being devastated by the bad news, Nicks quickly laid down her vocal tracks for "I Don't Want to Know". Nicks' song "Silver Springs" was written about her relationship with Buckingham, and it was released as a B-side of the "Go Your Own Way" single—Buckingham's song about Nicks. Copies of the single eventually became collectors' items among fans of Fleetwood Mac. "Silver Springs" was included on the four-disc Fleetwood Mac retrospective 25 Years – The Chain in 1992.

In November 1977, after a New Zealand concert for the Rumours tour, Nicks and Fleetwood, who was married to Jenny Boyd, secretly began an affair. The pair mutually decided to end the affair. "Never in a million years could you have told me that would happen," Nicks has stated. "Everybody was angry, because Mick was married to a wonderful girl and had two wonderful children. I was horrified. I loved these people. I loved his family. So it couldn't possibly work out. And it didn't. I just couldn't." She has also stated that had the affair progressed, it "would have been the end of Fleetwood Mac". Soon after, in October 1978, Mick Fleetwood left his wife for Nicks' best friend Sara Recor.

After the success of the Rumours album and tour in 1977 to 1978, Fleetwood Mac began recording their third album with Buckingham and Nicks, Tusk, in the spring of 1978. That year, Nicks sang back-up on virtually every track of Not Shy, recorded by musician Walter Egan, a friend of both Nicks and Buckingham. One track, "Magnet & Steel", prominently featured Nicks on back-up vocals and became a hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the summer of 1978. Lindsey Buckingham also played guitar and provided backing vocals on some of the tracks recorded for that album.

 

Attribution

Stevie Nicks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevie_Nicks

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