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Music

Revisit Hole's cover of Fleetwood Mac classic 'Gold Dust Woman'

@TylerGolsen

The 1990s were a wild time for soundtrack covers. No matter what genre of film you were making, it was almost a prerequisite to include a modern band reinterpreting the music of the past.

Clueless might just be the best of the bunch, with everything from Counting Crows taking on the Psycehldic Furs to Cracker doing their best Flamin’ Groovies impression, but films like SubUrbia to Natural Born Killers all hired hip bands to rework classics of the past. And strangely enough, there was a multi-film battle for a Fleetwood Mac classic.

In roundabout ways, however. That’s because Hole provided their take on the Rumours era classic ‘Gold Dust Woman’ for the 1996 sequel The Crow: City of Angels just a year before Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow took an old ’70s demo of the song and reinterpreted it into the track ‘If You Ever Did Believe’ for the 1998 film Practical Magic. Nicks got twice the mileage out of the same song, but most listeners seemed to gravitate towards the familiarity of Hole’s cover.

Apart from giving the song a harder-edged alt-rock arrangement, there are plenty of holdovers between Fleetwood Mac’s original recording and Hole’s cover. The moody atmosphere is still intact, as are the sweeping harmonies that fill out the song’s chorus. Courtney Love doesn’t exactly affect a Nicks impression, but she undeniable has plenty of Nicks’ style in her DNA. Love’s snarl would never be confused for Nicks’ bray, but the nasally delivery is undeniably evocative.

While conducting an interview for SPIN in 1997, Nicks confirmed to Love that ‘Gold Dust Woman’ was an overarching metaphor for her most notorious vice in the ’70s and ’80s: cocaine.

“Everybody was doing a little bit—you know, we never bought it or anything, it was just around—and I think I had a real serious flash of what this stuff could be, of what it could do to you,” recalled Nicks. “And I really imagined that it could overtake everything, never thinking a million years that it would overtake me. I must have met a couple of people that I thought did too much coke and I must have been impressed by that. Because I made it into a whole story.”

Both Love and Nicks have had their trials with drug addiction over the years, and perhaps that is the greatest thread that connects the two versions of the song. Nicks might be singing about cocaine while Love might be singing about heroin, but both imbue the song with a harried desperateness that feels tangible and real. Whoever is taking the lead, you know that both artists are singing straight from the gut.

Check out Hole’s version of ‘Gold Dust Woman’ down below.