Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stevie Nicks: Influences

Stevie Nicks is bad ass! Make no mistake. She can rock with the best of them, and she has done so successfully for over four decades. Being one of the hottest female rockers doesn't hurt either. For me, she proved that a female singer need not have to go out on stage almost nude to get attention, but rather, she let her talent do all the talking. Or in this case, do all the singing.

Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks (born May 26, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter, who in the course of her work with Fleetwood Mac and her extensive solo career, has produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums. She was deemed "The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll" and one of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" by Rolling Stone, and, as a member of Fleetwood Mac, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. As a solo artist, she has garnered eight Grammy Award nominations and, with Fleetwood Mac, a further five.

Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, along with her then-romantic partner Lindsey Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac's second album after the incorporation of Nicks and Buckingham, Rumours, released in 1977, was the best-selling album of all time the year of its release, and, to date, is the fourth best-selling album of all time, having sold over 45 million copies worldwide. The album remained at No.1 on the American albums chart for 31 weeks, and reached the top spot in various countries worldwide. The album won Album of the Year in 1978 and produced four US Top 10 singles, with Nicks' Dreams being the band's first and only US number one hit.

Nicks began her solo career in 1981 with the album Bella Donna, which reached Platinum status less than three months after its release, and has since been certified quadruple-platinum. She has produced seven more solo studio albums to date, with her most recent titled In Your Dreams, and released on May 3, 2011. Having conquered her cocaine addiction and dependency on tranquilizers, she continues to be a popular solo performer. Nicks is known for her distinctive voice, mystical visual style, and symbolic lyrics, as well as the famous (sometimes tense) chemistry between her and Lindsey Buckingham.

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. 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.

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. 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 briefly relocated to Aspen, Colorado. While there, Buckingham landed a guitar playing gig with the Everly Brothers, and toured with them while Nicks stayed behind. During this time, Nicks wrote "Rhiannon" after seeing the name in the novel Triad by Mary Leader, unaware at the time of the Mabinogi legend of Rhiannon. She also wrote "Landslide", inspired by the scenery of Aspen and her inner turmoil over her decision to pursue music.

Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac on December 31, 1974, 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".

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 debut album. 

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.

By 1978, Nicks had amassed a large backlog of songs dating back to her Buckingham Nicks days that she had been unable to record and release with Fleetwood Mac because of the constraint of having to accommodate three songwriters on each album. Nicks wrote and recorded demos for a solo project during Tusk sessions in 1979 and the Tusk world tour of 1979–80. Nicks, Danny Goldberg, and Paul Fishkin founded Modern Records to record and release Nicks's material. Nicks recorded the hit duets "Whenever I Call You Friend" with Kenny Loggins in 1978, and "Gold" with John Stewart in 1979.

Fleetwood Mac's Tusk was released on October 19, 1979. During 1981, Nicks toured with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and New Zealand band Split Enz as a guest.

Nicks first solo album, Bella Donna, was released on July 27, 1981 to critical and commercial acclaim, reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with four singles making the Billboard Hot 100, and Rolling Stone deeming her "The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll".

The day that Bella Donna reached #1 on the Billboard 200, Nicks' best friend Robin Anderson was diagnosed with leukemia. Robin gave birth to a son, appointing Nicks as the child's godmother. "I never got to enjoy Bella Donna at all because my friend was dying. Something went out that day; something left." Following Robin's death in 1982, Nicks married Robin's widower Kim Anderson, believing that her friend would want her to care for the baby. "We were all in such insane grief, just completely deranged," she told The Telegraph in 2007. The couple divorced eight months after the marriage.

Bella Donna introduced Nicks' back-up singers, Sharon Celani and Lori Perry, who have contributed vocals to all of Nicks' solo albums since then. In November 1981, Nicks embarked on the White Winged Dove tour, which she had to cut short to record the Mirage album with Fleetwood Mac. After the Mirage tour in 1982, Nicks prepared to record her second solo album.

Nicks released her second solo album, The Wild Heart, on June 10, 1983. The album went double platinum, reached #5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and featured three hit singles. It also introduced songwriter and performer Sandy Stewart as co-writer and vocalist.

In 1985, Fleetwood Mac began work on Tango in the Night, which was released in April 1987.
Creative differences and unresolved personal issues within the band led Buckingham to quit the group right before their world tour. According to bassist John McVie, a "physically ugly" confrontation between Nicks and Buckingham ensued when Nicks angrily challenged Buckingham's decision to leave the band.

In 1989, Nicks set to work with Fleetwood Mac on a new album, Behind the Mask, which was released in 1990 to moderate commercial success in the US. In the UK, however, the album entered the chart at #1 and was certified Platinum. The band went on a world tour to promote the album, on the last night of which Buckingham and Nicks reunited on stage to perform "Landslide". After the tour concluded, Nicks left the group over a dispute with Mick Fleetwood, who would not allow her to release the 1977 track "Silver Springs" on her album Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks, because of his plans to release it on a forthcoming Fleetwood Mac box set.

On the tenth anniversary of her solo career debut, Nicks released Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks on September 3, 1991.

Fleetwood Mac also released a four-disc box set, 25 Years – The Chain, which included "Silver Springs".

In 1996 Lindsey Buckingham, working on a planned solo album, enlisted the help of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, which eventually led to a reunion of the entire band. A newly invigorated and slimmed down Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac for The Dance, a highly successful 1997 tour that coincided with the 20th anniversary of the release of Rumours. Prior to the tour, Nicks started work with a voice coach, to lend her voice more control and protect it from the stress of lengthy touring schedules. She also went on a diet and started jogging to lose weight.

The live CD release, The Dance, was released to commercial and critical acclaim, earning the group several Grammy nominations, including their live performance of Nicks' "Silver Springs".

In 1998, she joined the group for its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, Nicks won the Outstanding Contribution at the BRIT Awards.

The box set Enchanted was released to acclaim on April 28, 1998 with liner notes from Nicks, as well as exclusive rare photographs, and pages from her journals. Nicks supported the box set with a successful US tour. In 1998, Nicks contributed to the Practical Magic soundtrack and performed in Don Henley's benefit concert for the Walden Woods Project.

Nicks had begun writing actively for Trouble in Shangri-La in 1994 and 1995 as she came out of her Klonopin dependency. According to her, friend and former musical partner Tom Petty was responsible for convincing her to write music again when he rebuffed her request that he write a song with her. She resumed recording songs for the Trouble in Shangri-La album with Sheryl Crow, who produced and performed on several tracks. When a scheduling conflict forced Crow to drop out of the project, Nicks first approached R&B producer Dallas Austin, but these sessions have never surfaced. Nicks finally called on John Shanks to produce the remainder of the album, with additional contributions from David Kahne, Rick Nowels, Pierre Marchand, and Jeff Trott. Artists Natalie Maines, Sarah McLachlan, and Macy Gray contributed to some of the tracks.

Released May 1, 2001, Trouble in Shangri-La restored Nicks's solo career to critical and commercial success. "Planets of the Universe" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, and Nicks was named VH1's "Artist of the Month" for May 2001. Nicks was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People, was featured in a well-received Behind the Music episode, and performed an episode of the VH1 Storytellers Concert Program. Nicks made several television appearances in support of the album and performed at the 2001 Radio Music Awards.

Nicks supported the album with a successful tour, although some shows were canceled or postponed because of her bout with acute bronchitis. Shows were also canceled because of the September 11 attacks in the U.S.

Nicks performed in a series of shows in August 2010 ("it's not really a tour, " she said). They did not contain any of her new music, because she did not want it to end up on YouTube. The Santa Barbara show benefited a young girl she had met through the Make-a-Wish Foundation in Los Angeles with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer.

On January 13, 2011, Reprise announced Stevie's upcoming album In Your Dreams would be released on May 3, and the lead single, "Secret Love", would be released on February 8. Reprise provided a free download of the single to fans who pre-ordered the album via certain websites. Nicks originally wrote "Secret Love" in 1976 and recorded a demo of it for Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album, Rumours. It did not make the final cut for the album. The demo version had been circulating among fans for many years prior to its inclusion on In Your Dreams. Nicks promoted the song with a video directed by Dave Stewart. Nicks' goddaughter Kelly appears in the video wearing a vintage dress that Nicks wore on stage in 1976. According to Nicks, Kelly portrays the young Stevie Nicks blending with the soul of Nicks' 62 year-old self. On the US Billboard Charts, "Secret Love" was a modest hit on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart, peaking at #20, and at #25 on the Triple A Singles Chart. Another song on the album "For What It's Worth" features Nicks' niece in the video. This song was inspired by a good friend, as well as a former band member, who accompanied Nicks on her first tour after leaving rehab at the Betty Ford Center. This was the first tour that Nicks used a bus, usually she used a plane. Nick's said she felt frightened and extremely fragile at that time, and that this man helped her get through one of the most difficult periods of her life. In her documentary, "In Your Dreams" she explain why she felt that this man actually saved her life. The song reached #25 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in September 2011.

In Your Dreams received overwhelmingly positive reviews, rivaling that of Stevie's 1981 debut. Rolling Stone commented "It's not just her first album in 10 years, it's her finest collection of songs since the Eighties", which mirrored the reception from most other critics and music industry members. The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 giving Nicks her fifth top ten album on that chart, with 52,000 copies sold in the first week. Elsewhere, the album has made numerous Top 50 debuts, including #24 on the Australian ARIA Chart and #22 in Canada.

The same day that Nicks' new album was released, Fox Network broadcast the Glee episode (Season 2, Episode 19) "Rumours" that featured six songs from Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album, including Nicks' song "Dreams" (the band's only #1 song on the US charts). The show sparked renewed interest in the band and its most commercially successful album, and Rumours re-entered the Billboard 200 chart at #11, the same week that In Your Dreams debuted at #6. (Nicks was quoted by Billboard saying that her new album was "my own little Rumours."


Stevie Nicks is known for her mystical image, her billowing chiffon skirts, shawls, layers of lace and long blonde hair. Margi Kent, a designer from California, has worked with Nicks since the 1970s to perfect her style. Perhaps the most famous part of Nicks's wardrobe is her platform boots. Nicks has worn suede platform boots in various colors, usually black, cream, tan or maroon in almost all of her performances since 1975. Standing at 5 feet 1 inch (1.55 m), Nicks has stated she felt a little ridiculous standing next to Mick Fleetwood, who is 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m). For this reason she developed a penchant for 6-inch (15 cm) platform boots. "Even when platforms went completely out of style, I kept wearing them because I didn't want to go back to being 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) in heels", she told Allure magazine in 1995. Over the years, Nicks has developed a style which she calls her "uniform", which is best exemplified by the outfit worn on the cover of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Another trademark of Nicks's is a Dickens-style gentleman's formal top hat, which she began wearing in the late 1970s. During the early 1980s she wore Renaissance poets' velvet berets with plume feathers (as shown in the vintage photo used on the cover of her March 2007 CD release Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she wore fashionable hats on stage, and she often still wears a black top hat adorned with giant plumes.

Nicks has said that her vocal style and performance antics evolved from female singers like Grace Slick and Janis Joplin. She admitted inspiration when she saw Joplin perform live (and opened for with her first band "Fritz") shortly before Joplin's death. Nicks owns a strand of Joplin's stage beads. She also commented that she once saw a woman in her audience dressed in dripping chiffon with a Gibson Girl hairstyle and big boots and Nicks knew she wanted something similar. She took the look and made it her own. The crescent moon pendant is arguably the most iconic of all Nicks's jewelry – the original was bought while she was in England on tour with Fleetwood Mac during the Tusk era. Nicks then had her personal jeweler, Henri David of Philadelphia, make replicas of the moon pendant which she gave to her friends. In recent years, celebrity friends such as Bette Midler and ice-skating star Tai Babilonia have been photographed wearing their "Stevie moons".[    

Nicks has started a charity foundation entitled "Stevie Nicks' Band of Soldiers" which is used for the benefit of wounded military personnel.

In late 2004, Nicks began visiting Army and Navy medical centers in Washington, D. C. While visiting wounded service men and women, Nicks became determined to find an object she could leave with each soldier that would raise their spirits, motivate, and give them something to look forward to each day. She eventually decided to purchase hundreds of iPod Nanos, load them with music, artists, and playlists which she would hand select, and autograph them:


A rumor that has trailed Nicks through the years is that she is a witch and is heavily involved in Wicca. While she admits to having a high regard for the mythic and gothic, she denies any solitary dedication to any one religion, including Wicca. She has spoken about this erroneous image in numerous interviews. Nicks's music is copyrighted under the name Welsh Witch Music, a reference to her song "Rhiannon", which she introduced as "a song about a Welsh witch" in concerts between 1975 and 1978. She says she didn't know anything about the true story of Rhiannon, or Rhiannon of the Birds, as she is better known. Rhiannon was not a witch, despite her mastery of magic. Her name translates to "Great Queen" and is believed by many experts on the subject of Celtic legends and mythology to have been originally a Celtic Goddess native to Wales. Rhiannon was (or is, depending on who's speaking) a Sovereignty Goddess, who a king must wed to legitimize his rule. She was also a Goddess of Transformation, using her powers for love of others and self. She has been linked to not only the songbirds which Nicks incorporated into her song, but also sacred to her are the moon, horses, horseshoes, gates, the wind, and the number 7. She has been linked to the Horse Goddess Epona, as well as called the Queen of the Faeries. Nicks also stated: "I spent thousands of dollars on beautiful black clothes and had to stop wearing them for a long time because a lot of people scared me. And that's really unfair to me, I think, for people - other people - to conjure up their ideas of what I am or what I believe in". Nicks has spoken of her faith, stating that she believes in angels and knows that she is alive today because "there was a god" looking out for her during her years of addiction. Because of the rumors of witchcraft, Nicks has been pursued for years by numerous stalkers. At one point, her longstanding attorney, Ed McPherson, who routinely has obtained restraining orders against all of them, indicated that she had at least one stalker a year. However, all of her stalkers have abided by the restraining orders, and none has become violent. The rumors have also been referred to in American Horror Story: Coven by the character Misty Day, who idolizes the singer. Stevie Nicks was made aware of these references beforehand. On November 12, 2013, it was revealed that she will have a cameo role on the show, as a good witch in what will be her acting debut.  

Her only marriage was to Kim Anderson, the widower of her friend Robin Anderson, soon after Robin died of leukemia while Bella Donna was on the top of the charts. "I was determined to take care of [Robin's] baby, so I said to Kim, 'I don't know, I guess we should just get married." Stevie and Kim were soon divorced: "We didn't get married because we were in love, we got married because we were grieving and it was the only way that we could feel like we were doing anything." Years after their divorce, she reunited with her stepson, putting him through college.

Nicks says she consciously chose not to have children of her own, due to her demanding career and desire to follow her art wherever it should take her: "My mission maybe wasn't to be a mom and a wife; maybe my particular mission was to write songs to make moms and wives feel better." She finds maternal fulfillment through her nieces, nephew, and godchildren: "I have lots of kids. It's much more fun to be the crazy auntie than it is to be the mom, anyway."

Until July 2007 Nicks lived in Paradise Valley, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix in a home she had built in 1981 and shared with brother Chris, his wife Lori and their daughter Jessica. She announced in mid-2007 that her Paradise Valley home would be put up for sale, citing her aspirations to "downsize" and focus more on her charity work, and the fact that in the last year she had only "spent about two weeks there. " The house was put on the market for a reported $3.8 million and was later sold for $3 million.

Beginning in 2007, reports surfaced concerning Lindsay Lohan's interest in buying the rights to Nicks's life story and developing a motion picture in which she planned to play Nicks. In March 2007, while promoting her album Crystal Visions, Nicks was asked about this rumor. Nicks told Access Hollywood, "That is completely insane and crazy. There is no movie in the works on my life. Nobody can do a movie about my life without me being involved, because nobody knows what really happened in my life until I tell them. So, nobody can make a movie about my life. And if anybody ever went and made a movie about my life without my permission and my being involved, I would slam it so hard to the press that it would never do anything. " In 2009, she told The New York Times about Lohan, "Over my dead body. She needs to stop doing drugs and get a grip. Then maybe we'll talk.




Sources: Wikipedia

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