Stevie Nicks Fought a Months-Long Legal Battle Over 1 of Her Songs: ‘She Picked the Wrong Songwriter’

Stevie Nicks’ songs are extremely important to her. She has built her life around music and says that the art form is one of the most important things in her life. For this reason, she took it personally when a woman claimed Nicks stole a song. She explained that it wasn’t wise to level this kind of claim against her. 

Stevie Nicks wears a black shirt and holds a microphone.
Stevie Nicks | Michael Kovac/WireImage

Stevie Nicks made a vow that she wouldn’t take disrespect

From an early age, Nicks’ mother told her that she should always be independent. Nicks would later take the advice to heart.

“You will be independent, and you will never be dependent on a man,” Nicks said, repeating her mother’s advice to Rolling Stone. “And you will have a really good education, and you will be able to stand in a room with a bunch of very smart men and keep up with them and never feel like a second-class citizen.”

When Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, she and Christine McVie banded together to ward off any disrespect they may have faced for being women in male-dominated spaces.

“In Fleetwood Mac, Christine [McVie] and I were a force of nature,” Nicks told NME. “If we weren’t respected, we would say, ‘this party’s over.’ We have stayed true to that our entire career.”

Stevie Nicks battled a woman over one of her songs

Nicks didn’t just employ this tenacity with men, though. In 1980, a woman in Michigan sued Nicks for plagiarism. She claimed that she wrote the song “Sara” in Nov. 1978 and that she sent it to Warner Brothers. The song was Nicks’ favorite, and she initially cut the demo in July 1978. Despite this, the suit dragged on for months. 

Eventually, Nicks proved that she wrote the song months before the woman claimed she sent it to Warner Brothers. Her lawyers would later drop the suit, telling Nicks, “we believe you.”

“There were some great similarities [in the lyrics],” Nicks told Rolling Stone, “and I never said she didn’t write the words she wrote. Just don’t tell me I didn’t write the words wrote. Most people think that the other party will settle out of court, but she picked the wrong songwriter. To call me a thief about my first love, my songs, that’s going too far.”

Lindsey Buckingham sued Fleetwood Mac

Years later, Nicks would face a lawsuit again. Fleetwood Mac fired her longtime musical partner and former boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham, after Nicks said that she couldn’t continue to work with him. Several months later, he sued the band for breach of fiduciary duty and oral contract, among other things. 

Though the firing was sudden and dramatic, the band quietly settled the lawsuit with Buckingham. Though Nicks remained silent on the matter, she reached out to Rolling Stone with a letter in response to Buckingham’s claims that she had him fired.

“To be exceedingly clear, I did not have him fired, I did not ask for him to be fired, I did not demand he be fired. Frankly, I fired myself,” she wrote. “I proactively removed myself from the band and a situation I considered to be toxic to my well-being. I was done. If the band went on without me, so be it. I have championed independence my whole life, and I believe every human being should have the absolute freedom to set their boundaries of what they can and cannot work with.”

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