Stevie Nicks on Love, Loss and What She Wears

With her first solo album in a decade widely praised as her "best yet," the rock icon reflects on past loves, present challenges, and her growth beyond Fleetwood Mac.

By Holly George-Warren
Stevie Nicks "In Your Dreams" cover

MORE: In an interview I did with you previously, you said that you saved all your old tapes from when you were writing or working on songs.

Stevie Nicks: I do.  Two songs for this record were pulled right off of old cassettes. "Annabelle Lee" was pulled off of a demo I did in about 1995, and "Secret Love"--the single--was pulled from a demo from a cassette that I wrote in 1976.

More: You must be really organized to be able to find that.

SN: I'm not, but the people who have worked for me have been very organized. I bought a house in Phoenix in 1978 and from 1978 on, we have what we call "The Song Vault.” It’s a storage unit that's temperature controlled, and it's several big armoires that are shelf after shelf after shelf of everything from collections of tapes that I used to make-- that people make now for their iPods—to collections that I play when I'm on the road, starting when I first joined Fleetwood Mac.  So I have all the old collections of whatever songs were hits at the time, and then there's just everything else I liked.

More: I love the new CD. Some of the songs are like short stories and some are like poems. There are certain themes that come across, like dreams, and ghosts and, it seems, memories of past relationships.

SN: Ghosts ... except the great thing is that they're not gone.  Like in "The Ghosts Are Gone":  the cassette ghosts remain forever.

More:  What inspired that song in particular?

SN: I wrote that as a poem. I was on the road with Fleetwood Mac, I think it was the end of 2004. We were in London, and I met a singer-songwriter named Amanda Ghost. I just loved the fact that her last name was Ghost.  So I just wrote that poem. It’s not about her because I didn't really know her, but the main inspiration was her last name.

    Lots of time I'll get an inspiration, like "The Ghosts Are Gone"-- that's just a sentence.  Then I have to write a story around it.  And so "The Ghosts Are Gone" song actually was about the end of a relationship, in the way that you say, "I'm done forever. This can never be again.”

     It's one of the most solid songs I've ever written. The ghosts are gone: all memories are gone, all feelings are gone, it's as if it never happened. And I don't write too many songs like that.  I always have more or less a hopeful outlook, but in that situation it was like “you are gone to me.”

More:  Saying that through the song, did that help you get your head out of the relationship?

SN: Yes.  At the end of it, it says, "like a golden rain, like a silvery veil, like a golden rainbow, like a song she's gone."  It's like I'm gone.  I usually build a way back in my songs, but in this particular song, there was no way back.

More: So you're able to write when you're on the road even though you're so busy.  It sounds like a few songs came out of the 2000s with Fleetwood Mac.

SN: Yeah, that was the "Say You Will" Fleetwood Mac tour.  I write in my journal almost every night.  If anything happened that was great, or even if something happened that wasn't so great, I write about it.

More: You said you’re keeping these journals for your goddaughters and your niece.

First Published May 16, 2011

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