Since joining Fleetwood Mac in 1974, Stevie Nicks has proven that she is the high priestess of rock and roll. In the tarot deck, the high priestess card represents the divine feminine, profound intuition, and the subconscious mind. As Nicks consistently aligns herself with the mystics and the moon, she embodies this energy more and more. In fact, she is so entrancing on stage that many have joked about her casting spells on her long-time band mate and partner, Lindsay Buckingham, through her performances. Nicks herself has denied the witchcraft rumors, but she still embodies that high priestess energy, making her one of the most revered figures in music history.
Stevie Nicks and Her Signature Songwriting
Stevie Nicks’ claim to fame isn’t her unique voice, iconic fashion, or even her intensity on stage; it’s her songwriting. While her eccentricity on stage certainly helped establish her identity, her songwriting is the driving force behind her success. Nicks is stylistically a poet, with a striking balance between her mystical metaphors and her straightforward messaging.
She contributed two major hits to her first effort with Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide” and “Rhiannon”, from the album Fleetwood Mac. These songs have endured the test of time and continue to intrigue audiences across generations. In fact, Rolling Stone Magazine named “Landslide” as one of the best songs of all time. This rings true as the song beautifully describes the deterioration of an impactful relationship. When the band released it in 1975, it was about her infamously tumultuous relationship with Buckingham. Nowadays, the song has grown with her audience, representing the transient nature of life itself.
Further, “Rhiannon” perfectly encapsulates Stevie Nicks as an artist. She became fascinated with the Welsh legend of the witch, whose songs take away pain. While it may not have been intentional, Nicks’ music has provided joy and healing to many people over the past five decades. With “Rhiannon,” Nicks embodies the divine feminine aspect of the high priestess very well.
Stevie Nicks’ Crystal Visions
In 1977, Fleetwood Mac released Rumours. It was the sixth best selling album of the 1970s and the twelfth best selling album of all time, with over 40 million copies sold. Here, Nicks really hits her stride. In fact, she gave Fleetwood Mac their first and only number one hit, with “Dreams.”
“Dreams” is the second single from Rumours, and is actually the second song on the album. It helps the body of work establish its renowned emotional intensity. In fact, “Dreams” is imperative to understanding Buckingham’s efforts on the album as well, leading up to his side of the story on “Go Your Own Way.”
“Dreams” re-entered the Billboard top 100 in 2020 after going viral on tik tok. Similarly, in 2021, Rolling Stone Magazine named “Dreams” as one of the best songs of all time, too.
Nicks’ crystal vision of her artistry continues through two other major hits on Rumours, “The Chain,” and “Gold Dust Woman.” Both “The Chain” and “Gold Dust Woman” are the most intense songs on the album, from the desperation and love lost prevalent in “The Chain,” to the wails of a banshee in “Gold Dust Woman.” These experimental sounds offered a precursory foundation to the band’s follow up effort, Tusk.
Time Casts Its Spell
Famously left off of Rumours, Stevie Nicks penned an extremely powerful break up song, “Silver Springs.” This song was actually supposed to be the B-Side to Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way,” but drummer Mick Fleetwood kept it off the album as a way to keep the songwriting efforts equitable, with Nicks already responsible for four songs on the record, while Buckingham and Christine McVie penned three songs each.
Still, “Silver Springs” found its way to the stage in 1997 during the televised performance of The Dance. Nicks and Buckingham fuel this performance with intense glares and powerful vocals. Because of this passionate display, this is one of rock and roll’s most recognizable performances in a televised concert. It continues to circulate on social media as yet another example of divine, dark feminine energy.
After she solidified her success in Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks embarked on a solo effort. Detaching herself from the ongoing tumult of the band, Nicks wrote Bella Donna. Released in 1981, Bella Donna reached the top of the charts and produced four singles that broke the top 50 chart rankings. “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” featuring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers reached number three, while “Leather and Lace” with Don Henley reached number 11, and “After the Glitter Fades” reached 32.
While it is not the top charting single, “The Edge of Seventeen” is Nicks’ most culturally relevant single. In fact, it is reaching new audiences through social media, and is enchanting new generations. Recently, Miley Cyrus remixed the song on her album, Plastic Hearts, on a song titled “The Edge of Midnight.” Cyrus combined her song “Midnight Sky” with “The Edge of Seventeen” to add Nicks’ intense independence to a song about personal freedom.
Nicks has released eight solo albums in total, each more experimental than the last.
Forever an Icon
Stevie Nicks is perhaps the most powerful living figure in rock and roll. Her presence in the cultural zeitgeist is never-ending. Even in her 70s, Nicks shows no signs of stopping. In fact, she is currently touring with the exuberance and fervor of an immortal, eternal being. And that, truly, is the essence of the high priestess: Nicks’ energy remains divine and unable to be destroyed.