Friday, May 29, 2009

how'd you choose between death and glory?

Stevie Nicks was born in May 1948 in Phoenix, Arizona. As a child, her family moved from Arizona to Utah, New Mexico, and Texas before finally settling in San Francisco when Stevie was sixteen. She was taught to sing at four years old by her grandfather Aaron Nicks, who was an unsuccessful country singer during his time. She began playing guitar at sixteen and joined a band during high school called The Changing Times, which was heavily influenced by the sounds of the Mamas and the Papas. When she was a senior, Stevie met Lindsey Buckingham (he was a year younger) and they formed the Fritz Raybyne Memorial Band with two other classmates. In 1968 the band began performing professionally, opening for Janis Joplin, CCR, and Jimi Hendrix among others. Stevie later cited Janis Joplin as a major inspiration, saying, "I was absolutely glued to her. It was there that I learned of what I do onstage. I said that if ever I am a performer of any value, I want to be able to create the same kind of feeling that is going on between her and her audience." Stevie based her singing style loosely on Joplin, combining it a bit with Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane.
The band's relations steadily grew strained as Fritz Raybyne Memorial had yet to score a record deal and the male members of the band grew to dislike the amount of attention Stevie was receiving. The "guys didn't take me seriously at all. I was just a girl singer and they hated the fact that I got a lot of the credit... There was always just really weird things going on between us. I could never figure out why I stayed in that band." The band broke up in 1971 but Stevie and Lindsey Buckingham stayed both professionally and romantically together, moving to LA together and landing a record deal with Polydor in 1973. Together they made the famously topless Buckingham Nicks album, which despite promise, was a commercial failure. After that Lindsey and Stevie fell on hard financial times. Stevie took a job as a waitress to make ends meet after her parents cut her off after dropping out of college.
In 1975, Mick Fleetwood invited Lindsey and Stevie to join Fleetwood Mac after he heard the song "Frozen Love" off of their Buckingham Nicks album. Initally, Mick only wanted Lindsey for the band until Buckingham told him, "we're a packaged deal." After joining the band, Stevie went out and bought every single one of Fleetwood Mac's albums up to that point and "listened to all of them to try and figure out if I could capture any theme or anything. And what I came up with was the word mystical. There is something mystical that went all the way...through all of them." After joining the band, Stevie took to playing the tambourine because she thought she needed to be doing something onstage during songs she wasn't singing.
The first album after Lindsey and Stevie joined the band, called "Fleetwood Mac," was released in 1975 and became a number one album (for thirty weeks) and produced three Top 20 singles, including Stevie's song "Rhiannon." The band's next album, "Rumours," featured Stevie's song "Dreams" which would become the band's only number one single, sold over 33 million copies. By the time 'Rumours' was released, Nick's relationship with Lindsey had essentially ended, yet neither wanted to leave the band, "[both] of us was way too proud and way too stubborn to walk away from it...We liked touring, we liked making money, and we liked being a band. It was just grit your teeth and bear it."
By 1981, Stevie had recorded her first solo album "Bella Donna" which hit number one and was the start of her very long and successful solo career. In 1998 she was inducted alongside Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Stevie has a very unique look onstage, one that she honed in her early days in Fleetwood Mac with clothes designed Margi Kent. Stevie's classic look is a somewhat mystical gypsy rockstar witch. She wears long chiffon skirts, 6-7 inch platform suede knee-high or over-the-knee boots, shawls, lace, top hats, velvet capes, berets, plume feathers, and really long blonde hair. She considers he outfit on the cover of the album Rumours to be her 'uniform.'