stevie nicks fleetwood mac 1981
Neal Preston

The moment Stevie Nicks turned a Rolling Stone photo shoot into a spontaneous gig, 1981

During a 1981 photoshoot for the empirical title Rolling Stone, Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks gave her best by performing some of her recently recorded songs and turned what could’ve been a boring photoshoot into an impromptu gig. She has everyone on their feet and she shows off that, above all else, Stevie Nicks was a performer.

Often regarded as one of the best lead singers in rock history, Stevie Nicks has made her name on her sensational vocals, lyrical wit and powerful performance. In this rare and candid footage, we get a stunning glimpse of all three of these factors in effect as she turns her shoot into a show.

The shoot was a marked special occasion too as it signalled the first time Stevie Nicks was on the front cover of the magazine without the rest of her band. It’s a classic shot and shows the rising star of Nicks with or without her band—perhaps some foreshadowing of the times ahead—but it seems that band’s spirit at least was never that far away as during the shoot she performed some of their upcoming tracks from the recently recorded album.

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The footage shows Nicks giving impromptu performances of songs from the band’s 13th studio album Mirage such as ‘Only Over You’, ‘Edge of Seventeen’ and more. During the shoot at Annie Lebowitz’s famous Manhattan studio, she also gave a sneak preview of her brand new song ‘Enchanted’—one of Nicks’ most revered tracks.

The performances, naturally backed by a recording over the stereo, are filled with a sumptuous carefree attitude and effortlessness that would define Nicks’ career before and after this shoot. It feels poignant though, looking back, that this moment may well have signified Nicks as not only the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac but as an iconic performer in her own right.

Take a look at these performances below.

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