A Fashion Retrospective and Happy Belated Birthday to Rock Goddess Stevie Nicks | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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A Fashion Retrospective and Happy Belated Birthday to Rock Goddess Stevie Nicks

Born May 26, 1948, Stevie Nicks has become something of an icon: the eternal Earth Mother whose songs about leather, lace, witches, and heartbreak have made her an enduring musical presence for the better part of the past 40 years. 

Her warbling vocals and dramatic onstage presence have carved an indelible image, one that's sustained her career through several cycles -- first in the duo Buckingham Nicks with former paramour Lindsey Buckingham, then as part of the popular revival of Fleetwood Mac and the most successful period of that band's collective career, and finally as a solo star who's sold millions of albums, attained numerous top ten hits, reaped no less than eight Grammy nominations, and overcome adversity in her climb back to the top.

Any attempt to encapsulate Nicks' career would have to include the various phases through which she's transitioned; each has shown adjustments to her persona and style. To explore the Nicks we all know visually, aurally, and in our fantasies, here is a guide to her ever-shifting styles and a timeline of her musical releases. 

Early Nicks Tricks 
Nicks got her first guitar and wrote her first song, "I've Loved and I've Lost, and I'm Sad but Not Blue," at the tender age of 16. She joined her first band, wistfully dubbed the Changing Times, while still in high school. During that time, she also met Lindsey Buckingham, spotting him at a party singing "California Dreaming," which prompted her to join in and harmonize. A few years later, Buckingham got back in touch and invited her to join his band Fritz, which gained considerable popularity in and around the San Francisco Bay area during the late '60s and early '70s. 
Sample wardrobe: granny dresses and denim.

Sexy Stevie and Buckingham Nicks 

Once Fritz was on the fritz, Nicks and Buckingham relocated to L.A., continuing to write and record the songs and demos that would eventually materialize as 1973's Buckingham Nicks album. It was impressive but failed to sell despite a sexy cover photo that appeared to show the couple au natural. Nicks was forced to wait tables and clean houses prior to the couple's relocating to Aspen, Colorado, where Buckingham got a gig playing guitar with the Everly Brothers. It was there that Nicks wrote two of the songs that would forever define her: "Rhiannon" and "Landslide." 
Sample wardrobe: If the album cover's any indication, not much of anything.

Mac Attack and Rumours of Superstardom 
Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac on December 31, 1974, after producer Keith Olsen played their track "Frozen Love" for drummer Mick Fleetwood, who, at the time, was in search of another guitarist to take the place of the departing Bob Welch. He originally wanted only Buckingham, but Buckingham insisted the two were a package deal. 

Their recruitment paid immediate dividends, resulting in the ultrasuccessful Fleetwood Mac album in 1975 and its megaselling follow-up, Rumours, in 1976. Unfortunately, success took its toll on the couple's relationship, which began to unravel, leading Nicks to carry on a secret affair with Fleetwood. Meanwhile, Nicks' onstage persona that found her part whirling dervish and part divine diva began to take form, creating the presence that would define her for the remainder of her career. 

Tusk was released to wide acclaim in 1979, although Nicks also busied herself with outside projects, recording "Whenever I Call You Friend" with Kenny Loggins and "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" with Tom Petty and also adding backing vocals to albums by Walter Egan and John Stewart, each of whom scored the biggest hits of their respective careers with "Magnet & Steel" and "Gold," respectively. 
Sample wardrobe: shawls and chiffon.

Stevie Goes Solo 
Even though she remained with Fleetwood Mac, Nicks opted to embark on a solo career at the same time, releasing her first album, Bella Donna, in 1981. The album hit number one, but her precious appearance and elaborate accouterments took on a fanciful façade that bordered on sheer pretension. 

Still, the fans embraced it emphatically. She recorded another album, Mirage, with Fleetwood Mac in 1982, but it was clear by then that the halo that had once surrounded the group no longer shined as brightly as it had the decade before.

Likewise, Nicks herself began suffering the effects of rampant drug use, and though her next two solo albums, The Wild Heart and Rock a Little, furthered her solo stardom, she was eventually persuaded to check into the Betty Ford Center to cure her cocaine habit. 

Sample wardrobe: Top hat and vintage attire.

Fleetwood Mac Goes Off-Track, but Stevie Soldiers On 
Both Buckingham and Nicks were with Fleetwood Mac when the band released Tango in the Night in 1987, but the relationship between the former lovers reached a nadir when Buckingham decided to leave the group just prior to a world tour. According to bassist John McVie, the two had a "physically ugly" confrontation that sealed the schism forever. Nicks released her fourth solo album, The Other Side of the Mirror, in 1989 and began an affair with its producer, British musician Rupert Hine. She then embarked on her first and only European tour, although her increasing dependence on Klonopin -- a tranquilizer prescribed by her doctors to wean her off cocaine -- blotted out her memory of the entire experience. She recorded one final effort with Fleetwood Mac, the aptly titled Behind the Mask, and then departed, a split allegedly precipitated by Mick Fleetwood's refusal to grant her permission to use her famous B-side, "Silver Spring," on her 1991 greatest-hits collection, Timespace. It was allocated instead for the Fleetwood Mac box set, 25 Years -- The Chain

In 1995, Nicks started contributing to several film scores, beginning with the song "Twisted" on the soundtrack of a film of the same name, a track that also found her temporarily reuniting with Buckingham. The following year, she recorded the Sheryl Crow-penned song "Somebody Stand by Me" for the film Boys on the Side and covered Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" for Fox's TV show Party of Five.
Sample wardrobe: Velvet berets with plume feathers.

Back with the Mac 
Buckingham's planned 1996 solo release coalesced into a Fleetwood Mac reunion album titled The Dance, and Nicks, now slimmed down after her much-publicized weight gain, both healthy and reinvigorated, began to work on her own box-set anthology. In addition to winning several Grammy nods for The Dance, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. She stayed with the band long enough to record the album Say You Will, released in 2003, and subsequently toured with the band until September 2004. 
Sample wardrobe: More leather and lace.

In the Nicks of Time 
After a critically acclaimed box set modestly titled Enchanted, Stevie rebounded in the new millennium, releasing an all-new album, Trouble in Shangri-La, in 2001. It garnered her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and helped land her on People magazine's list of the "50 Most Beautiful People." It also helped get her on featured appearances like VH1's Storytellers series and a well-received episode of MTV's Behind the Music

It was another eight years until her next album, The Soundstage Sessions, but three years after that, she reappeared with a new studio set titled In Your Dreams, produced by ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart. She also took part in another Fleetwood Mac tour in 2009, embarked on an aborted tour with Rod Stewart that was reignited recently, and, earlier this year, played herself in an episode of the NBC sitcom Up All Night. 
Sample wardrobe: Signature jewelry that changes with every tour.
Rumours Denied: Witch or Bitch? 
In 2007, reports surfaced that Lindsey Lohan had bought the rights to Nicks' life story and was planning to make it into a major motion picture in which Lohan herself would play the role of Nicks. "That is completely insane and crazy," Nicks told Access Hollywood. "There is no movie in the works on my life. Nobody can do a movie about my life without me being involved, because nobody knows what really happened in my life until I tell them. So nobody can make a movie about my life. And if anybody ever went and made a movie about my life without my permission and my being involved, I would slam it so hard to the press that it would never do anything." 

Rumors had also circulated for years that Nicks was involved in witchcraft, another claim she's vigorously denied. "I have no idea what precipitated those rumors... I am not a witch. Get a life!" Still, she still provides a bewitching presence. 
Sample wardrobe: All black with a pointy hat perhaps?

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Lee Zimmerman

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