I did not know about the shawls, the chiffon and the hats but I was brought up to speed in Gold Dust Woman – a biography of Stevie Nicks. It is not an autobiography, Stevie does not think the world is ready for her memoir and “the fact is that nobody has a clue to what my life was really like”. It will probably stay that way but a story of Stevie Nicks has been captured in a 347-page biography.
She is like a cat in the dark
and then she is the darkness
Author, Stephen Davis worked with Mick Fleetwood on his biography in 1987. Davis also wrote album notes for Fleetwood Mac/Greatest Hits and Live at the BBC. Davis collected information from Stevie’s informative, intimate and quotable interviews; from his time working for Mick Fleetwood and personal interviews with Stevie’s friends and colleagues. The writing had quirks and sometimes did not flow but for some reason, Gold Dust Woman captivated me from the start to the finish.
I started reading, not really knowing much about Stevie Nicks; she was just a singer in a band – Fleetwood Mac. I enjoy the music of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks but when I read this book, it told me the anguish in her life – the relationships, the drugs and the long hours. All those harsh things brought her early music and words to the songs. I felt guilty that the music I enjoy came from the stormy clouds of difficult times but then there is always a silver lining.
Has anyone ever given anything to you
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it’s all I ever do
This is your song
I did not know about Stevie’s love to perform, to write poems, her style and the shawls. The book brings the background to the songs and albums that Stevie wrote and performs. It gives reasons for why songs are as they are or why they were remixed by changing the tone or increasing the beat. I now listen to the songs with a different ear.
Stevie visited New Zealand many times with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist in 1977, 1980, 1986 (with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), 2009, 2015 and recently November 2017. Who went to see her – comments, please?
The 1980 Tusk show in Wellington did not go well. It was opened by Hammond Gamble and Street Talk but Lindsay Buckingham behaved badly by mimicking Stevie, getting in her way and perhaps even trying to kick her or trip her up – the band did not do an encore that night! The Auckland show followed two days later, Stevie was able to charm the audience even though there was still tension within the band.
I have my own life
And I am stronger
Than you know
Still touring and approaching 70 (born 26 May 1948), Stevie reminds us “if you want to stay young, you have to make an effort”.
I got my copy of Gold Dust Woman from the library – worth a read to find out who the Gold Dust Woman is.
“Chiffon lasts forever if you take good care of it”
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