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Music

Stevie Nicks' beautiful reaction to The Smashing Pumpkins cover of 'Landslide'

When we think back to the legacy of The Smashing Pumpkins, it will largely fall upon the noise rock sound that made them one of the brightest stars of the 1990s. However, despite their extensive back catalogue, the Billy Corgan-led outfit has become unstoppably associated with the wonderful Stevie Nicks song ‘Landslide’.

The track, which the Smashing Pumpkins picked up to cover in 1994, remains one of music’s most beautiful compositions. Its ambiguous meaning leads it to be one of the more intelligent love songs ever created, and, at its essence, ‘Landslide’ is a firm declaration of Stevie Nicks’ determination to make it as a pop star, or more correctly, an artist.

Nicks wrote the song while staying in Colorado, Aspen, and while the focus of the track can feel like a lost lover, Nicks is actually pining for a career she thinks may truly be lost. The scene sees Nicks and Buckingham having just witnessed their record dropped by the Polydor label and Nicks was contemplating the prospect of returning to either full-time work or school. Neither of which, it has to be said, offered a glimmer of positivity for the singer who had, in some small doses at least, seen the shining lights of fame and fortune.

Reflecting on that period of time, she said in 2013: “I had been a waitress and a cleaning lady, and I didn’t mind any of this. I was perfectly delighted to work and support us so that Lindsey could produce and work and fix our songs and make our music. But I had gotten to a point where it was like, ‘I’m not happy. I am tired. But I don’t know if we can do any better than this. If nobody likes this, then what are we going to do?'”

Nicks added: “So during that two months I made a decision to continue. ‘Landslide’ was the decision. [Sings] ‘When you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills’—it’s the only time in my life that I’ve lived in the snow. But looking up at those Rocky Mountains and going, ‘OK, we can do it. I’m sure we can do it’. In one of my journal entries, it says, ‘I took Lindsey and said, We’re going to the top!’ And that’s what we did.”

Was it this sentiment that Billy Corgan and his band picked up on? Was this the theme that struck such a chord to see the band put ‘Landslide’ on as the B-side to ‘Disarm’? Whether that is the truth or not, it remains one of the band’s most recognisable creative efforts. The cover offers the kind of crossover of sounds that feels incomprehensible in draft, and yet so perfect once complete.

In an online chat with her fans in 1998, Stevie Nicks shared her thoughts on the cover from the rock upstarts. She quickly connected the dots and shared that even Billy had contacted her about the song. Nicks commented: “There’s nothing more pleasing to a songwriter than [someone else] doing one of their songs. [‘Landslide’] also led me to being friends with Billy [Corgan] and the possibility that we’ll work together.”

She added: “Over this song, there’s been this incredible connection … he reached out … I believe that my poetry is really meant for everyone, no matter what age.”

With that perfect notion still ringing in our ears, leaving us more in love with Stevie Nicks than we had thought possible, we bring you Smashing Pumpkins’ incredible cover of Fleetwood Mac’s hit song ‘Landslide’. Representing the beauty of music, the sharing of emotions, art, and of humanity.