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Music

Stevie Nicks joins Foo Fighters to cover Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’

Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks is a formidable talent. As well as fronting the Californian/British heroes, turning them from a cult-like blues band into giants of 1970s rock, she created a tidy career for herself as a rock solo artist, and she continued furnishing her work to start a new form of music that was completely in keeping with the work at large. And then there were her collaborations with drummer extraordinaire Dave Grohl, who performed on ‘Show Them The Way’ in 2020.

“When I talked to Dave the other day, he told me it was the first time he has [recorded drums] in his actual house,” she said. “He said, ‘I’ve never done this before, but I thought, you know what? I can do it.’ And so he mic’d all the drums, used ProTools, and recorded the drums himself.” The storming drums helped the soaring vocals pour through the air, creating a sense of importance and pertinence.

Although he has fronted Foo Fighters since the mid-1990s, Grohl is a drummer by trade, and he first came to the forefront when he toured with Nirvana. Those pummeling drum patterns seeped into the music, bringing new life and pathos into Kurt Cobain’s world. It didn’t hurt that he was a powerful backing vocalist, and regularly tackled the intricate notes that guitarist Kurt Cobain couldn’t quite hit.

When he elected to sing for Foo Fighters, he had to acquiesce drum duties onstage, but he found a worthy substitute in Taylor Hawkins, who continued to drum for Foo Fighters from 1999 until his untimely death in 2022. It’s too soon to speculate what will become of Foo Fighters, but the band leave behind a collection of worthwhile live performances, one of which they did in close tandem with Stevie Nicks.

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Nicks surprised fans during the Foo Fighters’ Los Angeles stop of their Sonic Highways Tour when she joined the band for a medley of her most celebrated songs. Before walking offstage, Grohl invited her to sing ‘Gold Dust Woman’, a folk tune about self-discovery and great change. The song suited the live set, and Grohl looked animated, as he got to sing with one of the titan rockstars of the 1970s. This happened in 2015, at a time when the Foo Fighters were enjoying a new wave of popularity, and it was also the year they performed with Queen heavyweight Roger Taylor on stage.

Nicks enjoyed working with the band, particularly because they were respected as both a person and an artist. She developed a friendship with Hawkins, and was understandably devastated when she heard that the drummer had died at the relatively youthful age of 50.“I just have to say,” Nicks wrote on her own social media accounts. “Thank goodness for the photo booth in the Foo Fighters studio. Because of these pictures, my friendship with Taylor will always be at my fingertips.”

She’s clearly moved by the emblems and physical memories that lie in her hands, which likely explains why her work has such a tangible quality to it. You can basically smell the drugs from ‘Gold Dust Woman’, you can basically hear the yearning on ‘Rhiannon’. She was a deeply rooted artist, capable of creating any form of work, and making it her own. There was always a sense of responsibility to her work, which is why the vocals were so tremendously well oiled and tended to hold potential and possibility.
Although her relationship with bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood had their ups and downs over the years, she holds the Foo Fighters guys with great reverence.

Hawkins certainly made an impression on her. “He always came to my shows,” she noted. “He and his best friend Dave even let me be a Foo Fighter for a little while. We recorded a kick-ass version of ‘Gold Dust Woman’ (live) and at the end of the song I yelled out ‘Best Gold Dust Woman ever.’”

It’s not our place to say whether or not it’s superior to the original studio version, but it’s certainly a very good rendition of the track, culminating in a rollicking vocal style from the original dilettante of rock. Her vocals are lit with electricity and danger, but there’s never a feeling of complacency from Grohl, who is delighted to perform beside her and decides to bring his A-game to the table.

Perhaps the two of them will work together again in the future. Simply listen to the pummeling drums on ‘Show Them The Way’, cementing the fiery voices, creating a new sense of style and poise. Grohl is still a formidable drummer, and age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down. Indeed, the two could write a song together, based on his ferocious backbeat, and her idiosyncratic style of singing.

Stream the Foo Fighters version of ‘Gold Dust Woman’, with Stevie Nicks, below.