“You see your gypsy…”

Inspiration : Fleetwood Mac Live in Boston on Vinyl (1980)

“Lightening strikes maybe once maybe twice…”

When I think about most Fleetwood Mac songs, and Stevie Nicks’s voice in particular, my mind’s eye conjures windswept swaths of gauzy linen and the black-smoke arabesques of a snuffed candle. It’s heady, spellbinding, lyrical haunting poetry, and it allows me yet another excuse (as if I needed one) to fantasize that I’m Fairuza Balk in “The Craft” — before her character turns into a deranged version of a head-corkscrewing Linda Blair. But the song “Dreams” on this LP is stunning,  about the despair of dissolving love, but take Nicks’s advice — “listen carefully” — because all those tears and all that rain end up washing things clean. When her wispy soprano expires at the end, you can practically feel the warmth of the reemerging sun. 

Sometimes I catch myself singing a song on the radio word for word, but have absolutely no idea what the lyrics mean. Frankly, nor do I care. In most cases, it’s just a bunch of meaningless lyrics and words set to an electronic beat created by a producer in Norway. Yet like almost any romantic with a pulse, I can safely say that I not only know the words to all of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits and more, but have also searched for meaning behind the brilliance in Stevie Nicks’s writing. It’s a real Sophie’s Choice when asked to select a Fleetwood Mac song that holds a special place in my heart, because so many of them do, but its even more so difficult when listening to tis LP as the bands performance and interpretation of the lyrics reach out and grab your still beating heart from your chest.

One of my favourite songs of all time is the timelessly beautiful“Sara,” propulsive defiant and hopeful, her haunting voice personifying the dizzying heartbeat of love. Nicks’s lyrics hold the weight of promise lost, calling to mind, as usual, the many doomed love affairs swirling around the band. To me, it’s the most heart-rending of her songs — even more so in light of a recent interview with Billboard magazine in which Nicks confessed to the old rumor that she’d once been pregnant by Don Henley. “Had I married Don and had that baby,” Nicks said, “and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara.” Listen to it again, and try not to cry.

“Drowning in a sea of LOVE, where everyone would love to drown”

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“Theres a heartbeat and it never really dies”

The highlight of this record is undoubtedly Stevie’s heartbreaking rendition of ‘Landslide’ a tragic masterpiece, but hopeful and almost like a prayer. Nicks wrote the song in Aspen, Colorado, after an argument with former lover and fellow band member, Lindsey Buckingham, is a reflection of her bittersweet relations with him at that time, as well as a reflection of the changes she was experiencing in her life.  Stevie’s simple poetry, while accompanied by the familiar, comfortable acoustics from Buckinghams guitar, exhibits an overwhelming feeling of emotion that comes from within the heart. The passage that haunts me is always,

“Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

Can we handle change while remaining true to ourselves? Can we remain true to the the innocence inside ourselves, while continuing to give our love? Can we sail through the changing seasons and tides, and keep our innocence and sense of wonder. If Stevie can, so can I.

“But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older too”

Gypsy – Written by Stevie Nicks performed by Fleetwood Mac
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