I am soooo excited and pumped to finally be writing about one of my favorite musical combos ever. That’s right, say it with me: BUCKINGHAM NICKS!!!!! Let’s go a little alphabetically.
Lindsey Buckingham was born in 1949, making him eight years older than my mom, in California. His first album was Buckingham Nicks, whose successful failure landed him a job with Fleetwood Mac in 1974, after the departure of Bob Welch from the band. Story goes that Mick Fleetwood listened to the LP and contacted Buckingham with the offer to join the Mac. Lindsey’s response: No way, José, not without Stevie Nicks. Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac alongside Nicks, and took up lead guitar and vocals. He stayed with the band through 1987, but came back around ten years later in 1997 and is still with the Mac to this day. Should I perchance get the chance to actually attend one of these extended tour date concerts, I will get to see Lindsey Buckingham on stage. Apart from his work with Fleetwood Mack, Buckingham has had a marginally successful solo career, including six studio albums and three live recordings.
Stevie Nicks is one of my all-time favorites, and if I could actually sing, she is on the short list of women I wish I could sound like (other potential steal-able voices include Joni Mitchell and Fiona Apple). Stevie Nicks is the reason I really got into Fleetwood Mac in the first place, and the Practical Magic soundtrack is the reason I got into Stevie Nicks. Her real first name is Stephanie, she was born in 1948, and between her work with Fleetwood Mac and her massively extensive solo career, she has produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold — get this — over 140 million albums. According to this interview that my sister sent to me and said I should read, she’s a Twilight fan and she likes to read George R. R. Martin. She doesn’t like Nicki Minaj. At all. She’s mysterious, enigmatic, and maybe secretly Professor Trelawney. She’s released a preposterous amount of music. Some days, I want to be her when I grow up.
Now, let’s talk about the music!!
Buckingham Nicks was released in 1973, shortly after Lindsey and Stevie had left their band Fritz. It was a commercial failure (they even misspelled “Stevi” on the album. I mean, come on, people!), but it led to both Lindsey and Stevie joining up with the Mac a year later, because Mick Fleetwood loved it! Woot! The 10-track LP was reissued in 1976 (after the duo had become famous, you know), but has never had an official CD release. I’d like to see that happen. Lindsey Buckingham would like to see that happen. Stevie Nicks would like to see that happen. I probably want it the most. The cover art was not Nicks’s idea of fun; Buckingham cajoled her into posing nude, despite her literally crying. Yeah, he was a jerk.
But, man. They made great music together.
The LP starts out on a strong, yet fluid “Crying in the Night,” transports itself through instrumental “Stephanie” and “Without a Leg to Stand On” to “Crystal,” which would become a part of Fleetwood Mac (1975) and then be redone yet again by Nicks for the Practical Magic soundtrack. That third version of this song, from the movie, is my favorite (but that might be because it was the first song by anyone of any of these Fleetwood Mac people that I ever heard). The LP then goes into its fifth track, “Long Distance Winner,” which is my favorite song on the the album by far (“Sunflowers and your face fascinate me/you love only the tallest trees…”). The decrescendo half of the album goes down through “Don’t Let Me Down Again,” “Django” (a John Lewis cover), “Races are Run,” and “Lola” to end on “Frozen Love,” the song that Mick Fleetwood initially heard that peaked his interest in young Buckingham. All of these songs are AMAZING. I love the blurring of style and musical voice that Buckingham and Nicks do on this album. It’s clearly pop rock, but you listen to it and you can’t help but feeling like you might have accidentally slipped into a folk rock or newgrass setting. There’s even something a little mythical about it, probably due to the poetry of Nicks’s lyrics. The album is gorgeous, just absolutely gorgeous.
Out of all of the Fleetwood Mac that I’ve listened to, and out of all of the Bonus Track listening I’ve done (all of Christine McVie’s solo career, part of Buckingham’s, most of Nicks’s), I think that this album is my favorite. I remember when I was still trying to listen to Kiln House, and I kept getting distracted by listening to Buckingham Nicks instead. It’s the best, and it’s my favorite, and I love it.
Up next in the Mac Attack: Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours (1977), and Tusk (1979).