3. Gypsy (From the album Mirage)
Years ago I asked Lindsey Buckingham to name his favorite Stevie Nicks song that he had worked on and he chose “Gypsy.” Obviously Stevie can be a real poet,” he remarked, “and that’s one example of when it was a real honor to help her shape one of her true gems.” Reportedly Nicks demoed an early version of “Gypsy” during the making of her first solo album, Bella Donna, but held the song for Fleetwood Mac’s next album. Nicks has spoken about how the song expresses a kind of longing for that time when she and Buckingham were struggling and living more like gypsies than rock stars. She has also spoken about the song’s connection to her close friend Robin Snyder Anderson, who died of leukemia in 1982. “Gypsy” ultimately became a musical highlight of Mirage and a No. 12 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100. Russell Mulcahy worked with the band to create an accompanying video that was the most expensive produced up until that time.
7. Rhiannon (From the album Fleetwood Mac)
Stevie Nicks remembers writing “Rhiannon” in an apartment on Fairfax and Ocean Grove in Los Angeles that she and Buckingham shared. Nicks was inspired by a book called Triad that included a character named Rhiannon. “Years later a fan sent me this 700-page book of Welsh mythology and I realized my song somehow seemed to be written about that Rhiannon–this mythological Welsh queen and her birds,” she recalls. According to Nicks, this is really “the only song I ever wrote about somebody I consider to be supernatural. All my other girls, like Sara and Gypsy, are different than Rhiannon. She’s a queen. She rules.”
12. Never Going Back Again (From the album Rumours)
When I asked Buckingham and Nicks to revisit the songs on Rumours for an expanded edition of the album, “Never Going Back Again” inspired intriguing reactions. For Buckingham, it remains a favorite. He relates not simply to the song’s sentiment, but more than ever to the stripped-down guitar and single-voice sound of the recording. For her part, Nicks maintains, “That’s a song about the fact that we’re broken up, and we’re done forever, and at that point he’s glad. But at the end of the song, Lindsey comes around a little, and he’s looking through the eyes of someone who’s thinking just maybe somewhere down the line we’ll be together again. He was being hopeful and not slamming doors in that song. He always plays it live and I’m glad he does. To me ‘Never Going Back Again’ is a Lindsey’s ‘Landslide.’”
14. Landslide (From the album Fleetwood Mac)
“Landslide” is not only one of Nicks’s truly great songs, it is, in essence, a portrait of the young poet willing herself to greatness. Nicks recalls writing the song very clearly: “I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor with my Goya guitar writing ‘Landslide’ in Aspen, Colorado. I was in somebody’s living room out over the snow-covered mountains and thinking about whether or not I should go on pursuing a music career with Lindsey at all. So there I sat looking out at the Rocky Mountains, pondering the avalanche of everything that had started to come crashing down on us. It felt like a landslide in many ways. I decided to take Lindsey and go to the top.” Over the years, “Landslide” has become a modern standard famously recorded by everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Smashing Pumpkins. Truth be told, no one has topped the original.
15. Planets of the Universe – Demo (From the album Rumours Deluxe Edition)
Such was the fantastic quality of the songs considered for Rumours that a hidden gem like “Planets of the Universe” was largely unheard for decades. The song was written by Nicks in the early ‘70s and first recorded in 1977 in Sausalito. Nicks eventually revisited it on her 2001 solo album Trouble in Shangri-La. That John Shanks-produced track was nominated for a Best Female Rock Vocal Performance GRAMMY® Award. The original demo version of “Planets of the Universe” appeared for the first time on a 2004 deluxe reissue edition of Rumours. Despite the song’s wonderfully spacy title, the inspiration for “Planets of the Universe” was decidedly down to earth and personal. Nicks explained: “Those are some of my meanest lyrics and they’re totally about Lindsey.”