RHIANNON

"I heard the word and I thought it was just the most beautiful sound. The whole reason Rhiannon is in my life is because of the sound of the name... Rhiannon never loses it's thing; it's the first song I sit and play at the piano. Whenever I play anything at the piano I always start playing Rhiannon first. It's just such a pretty song."
~Stevie Nicks

"Okay, this next song, is a brand new song, um...
It's called 'Rhiannon,' which is a Welch (sic) female name...
Uh, I got it out of a book about a lady with two personalities, and I thought it was so fascinating, that I just had to write a song about her.
She's a little weird, but I hope you like it, 'cause it's brand new... (laughs)"
~Stevie Nicks introducing the song 'Rhiannon' before a 1974 Buckingham Nicks performance

"I read the name of it in a... in a, just a novel, and really liked it and thought, 'that's really a beautiful name.' Sat down, tap, tap, tap... about 10 minutes later wrote Rhiannon. We think that she was, in fact, Queen and that her memory became the myth. I definitely feel that there's a presence..."
~Stevie Nicks, mid-1970s

"Ah, well, I got the name out of a, a book that I read last - let's see- not last - it was... it was written right around Halloween... not the last Halloween, but the Halloween before that... which was about two months before we joined Fleetwood Mac [1974]. And it was just about a lady that had two... a modern-day lady who lived in Wales that had two personalities. One was called Branwen, which is a Welsh name also... her real name was Branwen... and this other personality that came in and took over was Rhiannon. And, um, so I wrote this song and made her into what I thought was an old Welsh witch. And then I had just, just found out... because somebody from Phoenix found a whole trilogy of books written in 1972 on Welsh mythology, that Rhiannon was a Welsh witch. There's a whole... there's a trilogy of books written about her called the song of Rhiannon. Which is pretty weird because I never saw that. And yet the song is exactly about that. So it is... it's just about, it's just about a very mystical woman that finds it very, very hard to be tied down in any kind of way... and she's uplifting all through the song. That's... that's what I wanted to get and that's what the band got really well was that uplifting of wings kind of a feel, you know... when you feel like you see a seagull and she's, she's like lifting up. Well, that's, that's Rhiannon. Rhiannon... yeah, she's moving up."
~Stevie Nicks, Jim Ladd Innerview with Fleetwood Mac, 1976

"Rhiannon is the heavy-duty song to sing every night. On stage it's really a mind tripper. Everybody, including me, is just blitzed by the end of it. And I put out so much in that song that I'm nearly down. There's something to that song that touches people. I don't know what it is but I'm really glad it happened."
~Stevie Nicks, Crawdaddy magazine, 1976

"Oh, I'm never tired of Rhiannon. It's a very... it's been a very heavy thing in the whole Fleetwood Mac trip. You know it's a very heavy part of the show."
~1976 KOME radio interview with Stevie Nicks and Robin Anderson

"It's freaky, but people will come up to me every place we play and tell me what an effect 'Rhiannon' has had over their lives, as if it has some spiritual power over them. I wrote the song about a Welsh witch on the piano two Octobers ago, then Lindsey and I joined the band on New Years' Eve, and both the song and the band have been evolving ever since. There's definite mystical implications."
~Stevie Nicks, 1976

"Rhiannon is about a witchy girl. It's a very mystical song. I like mystical things. Fleetwood Mac has always had a mystical side and I like keeping it that way. If we wish we can be just a rock band and really rock it... but the mystical thing is always there. Before me there was Bob Welch. He also had that a bit."
~Stevie Nicks, HP de Tijd, 4-77

(Regarding fans whom named their children "Rhiannon") "That is the sum total of why I write. It's so wonderful to know that something you wrote made a difference. These things that I say that meant so much to me seem really to mean a lot to other people. And it's just because it's real."
~Stevie Nicks, 1977

"This legend of Rhiannon is about the song of the birds that take away pain and relieve suffering. That's what music is to me. I don't want any pain.... [Nicks' own version of Rhiannon is softer, more emotional that Fleetwood Mac's] It's not a rock & roll song. [She pulls out a collection of photographs] This is Rhiannon, without a doubt. [The picture, of Nicks, does not look like her] Well, you see, it turns. It goes right into... [she pulls out another photograph, of herself on stage with Lindsey] This is the killer. And the pale shadow of Dragon Boy, always behind me, always behind me. [She is speaking almost to herself, in a hoarse whisper] You see, I just want to make you realize that when I get carried off, really carried off into Rhiannon, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm not carried off into Fleetwood Mac. 'Cause I'm just as carried off into them. Rhiannon has to wait. She just has to wait; that's all there is to it. [Answer to why she refers to Rhiannon as she] Well, because... I don't know why. She is some sort of reality. If I didn't know she was a mythical character, I would think she lived down the street."
~Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stone, 1979

"Rhiannon is the story of a lady that is from another world, called the Bright world, and she leaves her kingdom to become the wife of a king, a mortal king, but goddesses really can't marry mortal kings, if they do they lose their powers, their magic powers. And they don't lose the knowledge of them they just... they know everything that's going to happen; they just can't do anything about it. Which is a much more difficult way to live than not having magic powers is to not be able to use them and know exactly what's coming and to not be able to tell anybody. So she comes down and does her whole trip, and it's just a whole story... it's a wonderful story.

And she has these birds that sing and that is the legend of the song of the birds of Rhiannon. And they sing this song that is uh, said takes away pain and suffering and if you hear the song you just sort of blank out and go away and then when you wake up everthing's all right. And it is a wonderful, wonderful story which I use a lot, because there's a lot of... there seems to be a lot of need for the story of Rhiannon around lately, because if people are sad or have lost anybody or something the story really makes a lot of sense."
~Stevie Nicks, Starsound Special, December 1981

(Regarding the possibility of a Rhiannon motion picture) "We worked on it for a little bit. It was real difficult to find somebody to write a really good screenplay for it, you know. It was either too serious or it was too stupid. And I think that we might start to look into it again, because the music's all written and the music's really, really beautiful. And I think people would like it a lot, even if there was never any movie, I think people would love the Rhiannon music. It would be nice if there was a story, you know, to go with it. Maybe I'll just put it one of those picture albums, you know?"
~Stevie Nicks, 1982

"At this point, people believe it's me. I just couldn't go on making this trip up if it weren't true. I love Halloween and fairy tales. I get wonderful letters: Kids say they love the songs and 'Go right ahead and live in your fairy-princess castle, because we need somebody to live there and make us happy, to take away some of the everyday horribleness that goes on.'"
~Stevie Nicks, 1982

" 'Rhiannon' is a certain way on the record. Well, 'Rhiannon' turned into a whole 'nuther thing on stage. But I had to work that out in my head everynight. When I went to bed, I'd lay in bed and go, 'What do I want to do in this song?'"
~Stevie Nicks, 1986

"I wrote it in October of the year we joined Fleetwood Mac, in '74. So I wrote it around Halloween, before New Year's Eve. I don't really know... when I wrote Rhiannon, I didn't know the whole story of Rhiannon, I didn't know any of it, really... I just knew the name. And now, down through the years I have found out the whole thing and so have a lot of other people, and I think that it offers more than just a song, you know, the idea of Rhiannon is the legend of the song of the birds of Rhiannon. Which is the three-- the white, the green, and the golden bird of Rhiannon, which are like a pain pill, kind of. If you're in trouble or hurt or something, it says in the translations'down the glorious pathway came the birds,' and they're singing this song, and if you're hurt or in trouble or something, you'll hear this song and sort of black out and then when you wake up, the birds will be gone, but you'll be alright. And that-- it's just a... whenever I write anybody that is not feeling well, or that I'm worried about, or that needs some spiritual thing, I say something about the birds of Rhiannon... I'll start out, I'll say 'there is a story that tells of three birds that sing you to sleep, or sing you better.' And it works. I use it all the time. I think about it all the time and I think that everybody that knows about it does. So it became much more than just a song. Because it's an idea, it's a real kind of romantic idealistic idea of music being able to take away your sorrow."
~Stevie Nicks, Startrack Profiles, 1986

"I didn't want them to release Rhiannon as a single [in 1975] because I thought, 'What if she doesn't make it? What if my Rhiannon falls flat on her face? Then, it's not my choice to release her as a single, she is a mythological goddess of horses and steeds and maker of birds and she's a brilliant, brilliant character... what if she falls flat on her face?'
I didn't write Rhiannon for commerciality. I wrote Rhiannon because I loved her name and I loved her story. I didn't write her to be sold, she simply is not for sale and has never been."
~Stevie Nicks, BBC One to One, 1989

"There is one more thing I can send you [the Gulf War troops], and that is the story of a Welsh mythological goddess, named RHIANNON. I once, a very long time ago, wrote a song about her. It is called 'the legend of the song of the birds of Rhiannon.'
Rhiannon was a queen in a world far above us called the bright world, where all the colors were brighter, and everyone had a special sort of glow around them. It was a beautiful world, and she loved her world, but she fell in love with a mortal king from OUR world...and she left her world to come to ours to be with him. Rhiannon had three birds, one white, one emerald green, and one golden. It is said that in time of war, or strife, or pain, that her song can be heard.

"And down the glorious pathway, came the three singing birds, straight into the middle of the trouble and hardship ..." but that when you heard her song, your eyes would softly close and you would slip away. When you awoke the trouble would be gone, the sky would be the most wondrous blue, and far in the back of your mind you would hear that little song,, like a delicate little music box. If you were lucky, you might even see the three beautiful birds slowly flying away from you, and if you were very very lucky, you might even see Rhiannon.... slowly turning around to you to say, everything is fine,- She is smiling, and you see her disappear into the fine white clouds.

It is said that the legend is true.. .so I send you the energy from my golden cross and the three singing birds of Rhiannon to comfort you and to keep you safe..."
~Stevie Nicks, in a letter to the Gulf War Troops, Stars & Stripes, 1991

"That song [Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)] is really straight out of the old Welsh mythology. Rhiannon is the Goddess of Steeds and the Maker of Birds, and her song is a song that takes away pain. When you hear her song, you close your eyes and fall asleep, and when you wake up the pain is gone or the danger is gone and you'll see her three birds flying away. That's the legend. So, whenever I sing the song, I always think of that..."
~Stevie Nicks, Music Connection, 1994

"I got the name from a novel, I think I bought in an airport just before a long flight; it was called Triad, and it was about a girl named Rhiannon and her sister and mother, or something like that. I just thought the name was so pretty that I wanted to write something about a girl named Rhiannon. I wrote it about three months before I joined Fleetwood Mac, in about 1974. And then to find out that Rhiannon was a real mythical character! I went and read the four books of Rhiannon, and visited the lady who'd translated them.

Rhiannon is the maker of birds, and the goddess of steeds; she's the protector of horses. Her music is like a pain pill. When you wake up and hear her birds singing her little song, the danger will have passed. I realized that somehow I had managed to pen a song that went very much along with the mythical tale of Rhiannon. That's when everybody started saying Stevie must be a black witch or something."
~Stevie Nicks, Songs in the Rough by Stephen Bishop, 1996

"Rhiannon was not written about the mythological Mabinogion from Wales; she was written about a name that came up in a book that I read that somebody gave me, a little paperback novel called Triad. You can trace it down and find it. There were two women in it, they were named Rhiannon and Branwen. So... this story truly is... when everyone wants to say 'oh, you write premonitions, you know, you have premonitions...' I don't think that I consciously have premonitions, but I do seem to have some sort of a psychic knowledge about what's going to happen in the future. The whole thing about the birds, the sky, and all this... it's all intracately woven through the myth. So... I always think it's pretty interesting when I listen to it or when I play it, that I had no idea about any of this when I wrote it, I just thought it was a really beautiful name and I thought if I ever have a little girl, maybe I'll name her Rhiannon, you know, and that's really what I took to the piano to write this song. I also wrote this song in Aspen, same time I wrote Landslide. There must have been a very creative force going on in Colorado at that moment, that night."
~Stevie Nicks, VH1 Storytellers, 1998

"I read a book called Triad. It was just a stupid little paperback that I found somewhere at somebody's house laying on the couch. It was all about this girl named Rhiannon. I was so taken with the name that I thought, "I've got to write something about this." And I sat down at the piano, and I started writing this song about a woman that was all involved with these birds and magic. Come to find out years after I've written the song that in fact Rhiannon was the goddess of steeds, maker of birds. Her three birds sang music, and when something was happening in war, you would see this horse come in and it was Rhiannon. This is all in the Welsh translation of The Mabinogion, their book of mythology. When she came, you'd kind of black out then wake up and the danger would be gone, and you'd see the three birds flying off, and you'd hear this little song. So there was, in fact, a song of Rhiannon. I had no idea about any of this. Then somebody sent me a set of four books written by a lady named Evangeline Walton, who is now dead. She spent her whole life translating The Mabinogian and the story of Rhiannon. She lived in Tuscon. I went there in 1977, after "Rhiannon" had been a huge hit. Her house was totally Rhiannon. She spent her whole life on the story of Rhiannon. She never married - she in essence had almost become Rhiannon, and it was trippy. She had heard about the song. She told me about her life and how she had been entranced by the name, just like I had. It's so interesting, because her last book was 1974, and that's right when I wrote "Rhiannon." So it's like her work ended and my work began."
~Stevie Nicks, Performing Songwriter magazine, 2003

CRYSTAL

"John McVie wanted to put that [Crystal] on the Fleetwood Mac album. The first time he heard it he said, "I want this on the album" and I didn't really because it took the place of a new song. Since I write so much I don't like to keep putting old songs which take the place of new songs, which means those new songs are backlogged for the next, for the next, and for the next. But he was so insistent, so I said alright. Christine did a whole beautiful thing which I loved with that little piano thing through the end of it... when I think of Crystal, I think of those days with Fleetwood Mac."
~Stevie Nicks

"Though Stevie wrote it [Crystal], Lindsey sang it--a rare occurrence. "He truly does a better job on it," she said.  "That song was a lot about my father and grandfather."
~Stevie Nicks

LANDSLIDE

"Landslide I wrote in Aspen. Three months before I joined Fleetwood Mac, along with Rhiannon. And uh, that's where the snow-covered hills come from. And I was definitely doing a whole lot of reflecting when I was up there. Lindsey was on the road with the Everly Brothers and I was very unhappy and very lonely. And trying to figure out why he was out with the Everly Brothers and I was in Aspen with $40 and my dog and my Toyota that went frozen the day we got there. And we thought he was going to make like lots of money. He didn't. He came back to Apsen and he was very angry with me-- and he left me-- took Ginny the poodle and and the car and left me in Aspen the day that the Greyhound buses went on strike. I had a bus pass 'cause my dad was president of Greyhound, I had a bus pass, I could go anywhere. I said, 'fine, take the car and the dog, I have a bus pass.' I had strep throat also. He drove away, I walk in on the radio it says 'Greyhound Buses on strike all over the United States.' I'm going, oh no, I'm stuck. So in order to get out of Colorado I had to call my parents and they unwillingly sent me a plane ticket because they didn't understand what I was doing up there in the first place. So I follow him back to Los Angeles, that was like October, it was all around Halloween, two months later Fleetwood Mac called on New Years Eve."
~Stevie Nicks, The Source, 1981

[On Jess Nicks' comment that Landslide was meant to portray the relationship between a father and a child and that Stevie wrote the song because she was fearful of him dying] "I was also trying to make some decisions. You know, If you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills... I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I wasn't making it big in the music business. I was confused. He told me I should give it about six months and I kind of agreed with him."
~Stevie Nicks, Arizona Living Magazine, September 1983

"I remember sitting in this beautiful house looking out over Colorado, writing about the snow covered hills and thinking, "this may not work." The irony of that strikes me because I was really going to give up. I was going to teach and use my music in my teaching. I figured the odds are 60 million to one that anybody ever makes it in this business, so how am I going to make it?"
~Stevie Nicks, WYSP Philadelphia interview, 1991

"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. And a landslide in the snow is like, deadly. And when you're in that kind of a snow-covered, surrounding place, you don't just go out and yell, because the whole mountain could come down on you. 'Landslide' I wrote on the guitar, and it's another one that I wrote in about five minutes. But see, when I'm really thinking about something, I mean when something's really bothering me; again, the best thing that I can do is go to the music room. Or to the office, where I can write. Because once I put it down and I can read it back, and I can think about what I'm saying, then it makes sense to me. When I'm just thinking it in my head, it's going around and around, and I feel like a little child unable to make a real, substantial decision. And we were talking about our *lives*... the *rest* of our lives."
~Stevie Nicks, 5-92, "In the Studio with Redbeard"

"I went to Aspen, Colorado, actually. And this was three months into the six month goal that I had made for myself on whether or not I would continue to try to do this music thing or whether or not I would just go back to school and use my music in my teaching or... cause that's what I was gonna be, I was going to teach, like, second grade. Um... if I wanted to continue struggling, or if I wanted to do that. And, uh, I went up to Aspen, and ended up writing Rhiannon and Landslide very quickly. I mean, like, on a little funky electric piano."
~Stevie Nicks, Up Close, 1994

"The story of Landslide... everybody seems to think that I wrote this song about them; everybody in my family, all my friends, everybody... 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. [Audience laughs.] 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;' and uh, basically you can do whatever you want and we'll pay for it -I have wonderful parents- and I went, 'cool, I can do that.' 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 skyway, and I wrote Landslide... and I also wrote Rhiannon, which we'll talk about later. Um, three months later, Mick Fleetwood called. On New Year's Eve, 1974, called and asked us to join Fleetwood Mac. So it was three months, I still had three more months to go to beat my six month goal that my dad gave me. So that's what Landslide is about."
~Stevie Nicks, VH1 Storytellers, 1998

"It's about a father-daughter relationship."
~Stevie Nicks on how Landslide was written the night before her dad was operated on at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1974
The Arizona Republic, June 7, 1998

"I was in Aspen a week ago for three days. I wrote Landslide there in, like, 1974. So I was walking around the streets of Aspen going, 'You know what? Aspen has served you well for Landslide', and that song has served me well my whole life. So I thought I'd better write another song, so I wrote about what happened in New York [September 11, 2001]. I just gave it to Lindsey last night--just the raw cassette and a set of words--and I'll see when I return in two weeks what he has done with this song."
~Stevie Nicks, New Times (Phoenix), December 2001

"It was written in 1973 at a point where Lindsey and I had driven to Aspen for him to rehearse for two weeks with Don Everly. Lindsey was going to take Phil's place. So they rehearsed and left, and I made a choice to stay in Aspen. I figured I'd stay there and one of my girlfriends was there. We stayed there for almost three months while Lindsey was on the road, and this is right after the Buckingham Nicks record had been dropped. And it was horrifying to Lindsey and I because we had a taste of the big time, we recorded in a big studio, we met famous people, we made what we consider to be a brilliant record and nobody liked it (laughs). I had been a waitress and a cleaning lady, and I didn't mind any of this. I was perfectly delighted to work and support us so that Lindsey could produce and work and fix our songs and make our music. But I had gotten to a point where it was like, "I'm not happy. I am tired. But I don't know if we can do any better than this. If nobody likes this, then what are we going to do?" So during that two months I made a decision to continue. "Landslide" was the decision. [Sings] "When you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills" - it's the only time in my life that I've lived in the snow. But looking up at those Rocky Mountains and going, "Okay, we can do it. I'm sure we can do it." In one of my journal entries, it says, "I took Lindsey and said, 'We're going to the top!'" And that's what we did. Within a year, Mick Fleetwood called us, and we were in Fleetwood Mac making $800 a week apiece (laughs). Washing $100 bills through the laundry. It was hysterical. It was like we were rich overnight."
~Stevie Nicks, Performing Songwriter magazine, 2003