Fifty years later, the fiery saga of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham is still burning strong.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are two reasons why I decided to start my podcast, Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Love Will Tear Us Apart is a historical podcast on your favorite complicated couples: Gene Wilder & Gilda Radner, Ike & Tina Turner, Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and so on.
I’m currently underway with the first season, but my episodes on Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were by far the most fun to research and record. You see, I’ve been obsessed with these two since I was a tween.
That’s when I saw Fleetwood Mac reunite for The Dance. I wasn’t familiar with the band at the time, but Stevie and Lindsey’s interaction with one another during “Silver Springs” piqued my interest. If you’re unfamiliar with this track, it’s got an interesting back story.
In 1976, Stevie had written the song about her doomed relationship with her long-term boyfriend and band mate Lindsey Buckingham.
She had seen the name of the town Silver Springs, Maryland, while on tour, and thought the name was beautiful. She said in an interview, “It sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me. It’s a whole symbolic thing of what [Lindsey] could have been to me.” Though Stevie had broken up with Lindsey, the song speaks to the fact that she wasn’t quite over him and that his new girlfriend bothered her.
Here’s just one line from the song:
“Don’t say that she’s pretty; did you say that she loves you? Baby, I don’t want to know.”
This is what bandmate Christine McVie said about Stevie and Lindsey at that time: “Lindsey was pretty down about it for a while, then he just woke up one morning and said, ‘Fuck this, I don’t want to be unhappy,’ and started getting some girlfriends together. Then Stevie couldn’t handle it!”
Stevie deeply loved the song and had signed over publishing rights to her mother, so when it was cut from the band’s quintessential album, Rumours, and put on a B-side, Stevie was devastated. Fast forward to 21 years later. The song makes its debut on The Dance. Stevie turns to her ex-lover onstage and spits “I’ll follow you down to the sound of my voice will haunt you; You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you. Was I just a fool?”
I was mesmerized. Everyone was. The song went to the top of the charts and Stevie and Lindsey were known for shooting daggers at one another on subsequent tours. This was something they later admitted to playing up, but the truth is, they’re STILL fighting over 40 years later, even though they’re in their early 70s.
In 2018, Lindsey Buckingham was booted from Fleetwood Mac. The story was he wanted to push the tour a year, but the band wasn’t down for it. Lindsey said that he heard from their manager, Irving Azoff, that Stevie wanted him fired because she believed he smirked while she was giving a speech at a benefit concert.
In a December 2018 CBS Morning interview, this is how Buckingham explained his current relationship with Stevie: “My relationship with Stevie is fragmented. I think there is still a lot of love there. But you have to begin with the fact that in order to get through those early days it was kind of an exercise in compartmentalization for everyone emotionally. In particular, I wasn’t the one doing the leaving. She left me, but there was never really any change to get anything like closure because that takes perhaps some distance. That is kind of how we got along. And I think, you know ,you cut to 20 or 30 years later and that kind of leads to a kind of fragmented relationship. I think, you know, sometimes she might find it difficult that I was lucky enough to find my soul mate late in life and got married and had my first child at 48 and have three beautiful children and that is something she never did. She’s basically living her professional life. I don’t know if that plays into or not. I honestly don’t know.”
Damn. That is some cold shit.
Three months after this interview, Buckingham had emergency heart surgery that damaged his vocal cords. He planned on touring in May of 2020 but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fleetwood Mac has since finished their Lindsey-less tour. It is unclear whether Stevie and Lindsey have talked since he was kicked out of the band.
Now, this story kind of makes Stevie look like a jerk, so I’d like to point out there are extraordinarily damning stories about Lindsey. Like, the kind of stories, if true, make you want to burn his records and then run over them with a bull dozer…
If you’d like to learn more, please check out my latest podcast on the never-ending love story of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.