Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch Series,”where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Following her 1986 Rock a Little tour, she entered the Betty Ford rehab center to kick her cocaine addiction (she had been using the drug since the early ’70s). The treatment worked, but she soon got hooked on the prescription drug Klonopin, which took her eight years to beat. She says the drug made her gain about 50 pounds and “stole” those years from her life.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, her father was Jess Nicks, former president of a Chicago meatpacking plant named Greyhound’s Armour-Dial.
Stevie’s full first name is Stephanie. She got the nickname Stevie because as an infant she could only say “tee-dee.”
Nicks is best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and then her later solo work, but the first album she ever released was Buckingham Nicks in 1973, a collaboration with her boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. The album did not sell well and got the duo dropped from the Polydor label, but they proved the perfect fit for Fleetwood Mac, which they joined in 1974.
To her dismay, Don Henley revealed in a 1991 interview with GQ that Nicks was pregnant with his baby in the late ’70s and had an abortion.
Nicks’ long-running relationship with Lindsey Buckingham played a significant role in her career, both personally and professionally. They met in high school, when Nicks was a senior and Buckingham was a junior. As Buckingham played “California Dreamin'” (Nicks’ accounts have varied slightly over the years as to which song it was but “Dreamin'” seems most consistent) at a Young Life club, Nicks got up and harmonized with him. That was their last collaboration until two years later, when they got back together again and started down the path that would take them to Fleetwood Mac.
Nicks and Buckingham’s first band was named Fritz. They opened for Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Jimi Hendrix.
She worked several waitressing and cleaning jobs to support her and Buckingham as they were trying to make it. Buckingham spent his time mastering his guitar skills, as both agreed that would be their best shot at the big time.
Nicks often took her new songs to her father to see what he thought of them. He was very critical and demanding, pushing her to live up to her immense talents. In 1982 she told High Times that she prefers working with people like that. “He strives to get the best out of me, and you don’t get the best out of me by hugging and kissing me and telling me how wonderful I am. That doesn’t work. The best thing to do is really be serious with me and I’ll work hard.”
Family is very important to Nicks. Her parents were always very supportive of her, and she credits them as being important to her success.
Speaking with Interview magazine in 1995, Nick reported that her grandfather, A.J. Nicks, had been a country and western singer. He hopped freight trains to get from town to town and played in bars, supplementing his income with games of pool.
She has been in relationships with Jimmy Iovine, Joe Walsh, J.D. Souther, Don Henley, Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics), and California governor Jerry Brown, but was married only once: to her best friend’s widower.
The friend was Robin Snyder, who gave birth to a baby boy, Matthew, two days before dying of leukemia. Nicks decided she should raise Matthew, and three months later married his father, Kim Anderson. It was a disaster, and the couple divorced three months later.
The honorific title “Queen of Rock and Roll” has been bestowed upon Nicks several times over the years by leading authorities in the field, including Rolling Stonemagazine.
Nicks made a conscious decision to not have children so she could focus her life on her art. She doesn’t regret it, saying it’s more fun to be the “crazy aunt” than a mother, anyway.
Nicks supports wounded soldiers with her charity “Stevie Nicks’ Band of Soldiers.”
Nicks majored in Speech Communication at San Jose State University and planned on being an English teacher. Though she dropped out a semester before graduation to pursue music, she maintains that it’s important for people to get a degree or learn a marketable skill before going off to pursue entrepreneurial or artistic ventures.
Nicks is fond of the word “miserability,” which she made up. In Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours, she explains that the state of “passionate miserability” is one where the pain isn’t enough to be overwhelming but is enough to inspire her to write. “I don’t like to suffer and I hate pain but I want to suffer to the point that I go the typewriter and write down all of my marvelous philosophy as to my why I’m suffering – I love that part of it.”
She was gifted a Goya guitar on her 16th birthday and promptly wrote her first song, entitled “I’ve Loved and I’ve Lost, and I’m Sad but Not Blue.”
In 2019, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice when she entered as a solo artist (she got in with Fleetwood Mac in 1998). Twenty-two men had already gotten in twice, something Nicks pointed out in her speech. “In 2020, induct more women,” she said.