Stevie Nicks’ High School Boyfriend Left Her for Her Close Friend: ‘I Was Horrified’
Stevie Nicks’ breakup from Lindsey Buckingham was fodder for much of her Fleetwood Mac songwriting. A much earlier heartbreak inspired Nicks’ first ever song, however. Nicks explained that after one of her first loves left her for her friend, she poured her emotions into songwriting. She spoke about the relationship and how it inspired her future career.
Stevie Nicks showed a knack for singing from a young age
Though Nicks’ parents were not musicians, her grandfather, Aaron Nicks, was a country singer. He never found much commercial success, but he taught his young granddaughter to harmonize. Nicks’ grandfather could tell she had an impressive ability to sing harmonies and the pair soon began performing together in bars. Aaron would pay Nicks 50 cents for performances.
“I remember singing with my granddad and feeling even at that young age that music was definitely going to be a part of my life,” Nicks said in the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoë Howe.
She began writing songs after high school heartbreak
She was always a singer, but Nicks didn’t write her first song until an early heartbreak. Nicks began dating a “really handsome boy” who had previously dated her close friend. They dated for roughly six months before he broke up with Nicks and returned to his previous girlfriend. Nicks was heartbroken.
“I had fallen for this incredible guy, and he ended up going out with my best friend,” she said, per the book Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis. “And they both knew that I was going to be crushed.”
She channeled her sadness into songwriting.
“I was totally in tears, sitting on my bed with lots of paper, my guitar, and a pen, and I wrote this song about your basic sixteen-year-old love affair thing that I was now going through.”
The resulting country song went, “I’ve loved and I’ve lost, and I’m sad but not blue / I once loved a boy who was wonderful and true / But he loved another before he loved me / I knew he still wanted her — ’twas easy to see.” She said that writing this song helped her accept her breakup.
“When I said, ‘I’m sad but not blue,’ I was accepting the fact that they were going to be together,” she explained. “I was horrified but I really loved both of them, and I knew they didn’t do it purposefully to hurt me.”
From that point on, Nicks used songwriting to untangle and express her emotions.
Stevie Nicks says her parents supported her songwriting when she was young
After writing this song, Nicks knew that she wanted to be a songwriter. She began focusing intently on growing as a writer.
“I finished that song, hysterically crying. And I was hooked,” she said. “When I played my own song later that night, I knew — from that second on — that I was not going to sing a lot of other people’s songs. I was going to write my own. From that day forward, when I was in my room playing my guitar, nobody would come in without knocking, nobody disturbed me.”
Nicks said her parents supported her dream.
“They even let me miss dinner if necessary, it was that important to me,” she said. “They could hear that I was working, at sixteen years old, and they would leave me alone.”
She said they praised her love songs, even though they knew she had little romantic experience.
“At sixteen I could sing a love song pretty well,” she said. “My dad would go, ‘That’s a good song, honey.’ And my mom would go, ‘That’s just beautiful, Stevie.’ And they would be thinking, ‘We know for a fact that she’s only been on one date, and she was back in two hours.’”