The Joni Mitchell album that reminds Stevie Nicks of her darkest days
Fleetwood Mac maestro Stevie Nicks has lived a life unlike anybody else. She has had a career that is full of immense highs, moments which come from being a focal point of a dazzling and unique band. However, despite the success, she has also been dealt with repeated lows that match those remarkable highs. The Fleetwood Mac singer has been to hell and back on multiple occasions but, despite the issues, one Joni Mitchell album arrived as a saving grace when she found herself at her lowest point.
Before she joined Fleetwood Mac, Nicks thought she had blown her only chance of stardom after the debut album from Buckingham Nicks emphatically failed to make a dent in the charts. Nicks was 25 at this point; she had been in countless bands before, and after Polydor signed the duo she was hell-bent on their future looking bright. Following how badly the record did commercially, the pair found themselves dropped by the label and back where they started.
Little did she know at this point, that a phone call from Mick Fleetwood would change her life, and she would finally have the commercial success that she always imagined would be hers. However, in 1974 this dream seemed like it was dead in the water and Nicks found herself at the lowest point. This situation left Nicks forced to evaluate whether she had a career in music, she was among the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, a location in which she was around the thriving music scene but still always on the outside looking in.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2011, Nicks revealed that Mitchell’s 1974 record Court and Spark was like an anchor to her throughout those dark times, recalling: “This was one of those albums that I lay on the floor and listened to for three days straight. Lindsey and I were coming to the end of our relationship, and I’d met someone else. So I latched on to the title track, which is about a new relationship that doesn’t last.”
She added: “This was a year after Buckingham Nicks came out, which had gotten critical acclaim but Polydor dropped us like a rock. So we were back to square one. It was the only time I ever felt music might not work out. I talked to my parents about going back to school, because I was tired of being a cleaning lady, a waitress and a rock’n’roll star at the same time.
“We were really poor. At the same time, we were already living in the world that Joni Mitchell was writing about because our producer, Keith Olsen, had introduced us to a lot of people in the industry. So I related to a song like ‘The Same Situation’ whenever I’d go to a party and music business sharks were everywhere. They would look at me as the blonde who could sing and might make lots of money for someone. I didn’t like being looked at as a commodity. But by the end of that year, Mick Fleetwood had asked us to join Fleetwood Mac, sight unseen. Keith Olsen had played him Buckingham Nicks and told him Lindsey and I came as a pair.”
That phone call from Mick Fleetwood would give Nicks’ career the necessary lifeline that her career desperately needed. Nevertheless, there was a period in even the great Stevie Nicks’ life when she felt as though her career hung in the balance and offers in a stark reminder of how magical fate can be. If the Buckingham Nicks album had some commercial success, the chances of her and Lindsey Buckingham leaving that behind for Fleetwood Mac are slim. Without this challenging period, Nicks would never have gone on to have the iconic career that she has carved out and Joni Mitchell helped guide her through it.