Stevie Nicks Lost a ‘Battle’ to Include Another Fleetwood Mac Hit on ‘Rumours’
Stevie Nicks is nothing if not determined. How else do you think she became one of the most famous frontwomen in rock? Or juggled her successful solo career all while continuing to tour and make records with Fleetwood Mac? Even today, Nicks continues both careers while still managing to make cameo appearances, hold records in charity work, and release photo exhibitions. No wonder she has an 8 a.m. bedtime.
Nicks’ determination is reflected in the fact that she refuses to retire, even into her 70s. She’s determined to keep recording tunes because they’re important to her. In the past, Nicks also used her determination to get certain Fleetwood Mac songs made when no one else did. If Nicks didn’t have her determination, we wouldn’t have gotten some of her biggest hits.
Stevie Nicks lost the ‘battle’ to include ‘Silver Springs’ on ‘Rumours’
“The battle of Silver Springs was pretty bad,” Nicks said. “[Fleetwood Mac] took that off [Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album, Rumors] and they didn’t even ask me. They replaced it with I Don’t Want to Know—which was a good song, but it was short. They took Silver Springs off because they thought it was too long on the record and there was no way to cut it down. I was told in the parking lot after it had already been done.”
However, Fleetwood Mac didn’t just remove the song because of its length or its tempo. The problem with it ran much deeper than that.
Fleetwood Mac removed ‘Silver Springs’ off ‘Rumours’ because of its meaning
Fleetwood Mac really cut “Silver Springs” from Rumours because of it’s subject matter. The song speaks about Nicks’ final thoughts on her failing relationship with Lindsey Buckingham. Rolling Stone writes that even among tracks like “Go Your Own Way” and “Dreams,” Nicks’ “tender yet vengeful post-mortem on her breakup with Buckingham had become an emotional lightning rod.” So Fleetwood Mac couldn’t very well have three break-up songs of that caliber one the record.
Rolling Stone writes that “Silver Springs” was Nicks’ “tribute to the fairy-tale ending that never was.” She wrote the song after passing through Silver Spring, Maryland, on tour. She liked the name. “It sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me,” Nicks explained in the Classic Albums documentary about Rumours. “It’s a whole symbolic thing of what [Lindsey] could have been to me.”
You can hear that with lyrics like, “Time cast a spell on you but you won’t forget me. I know I could’ve loved you but you would not let me. I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you. Give me just a chance, you’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.” However, despite being the subject of the song, Buckingham did some of his best work on the record.
“Lindsey was the guy who laid all of these big colors on the record and so you have to imagine it’s an odd position for him to be in,” Ken Caillat, Rumours co-producer told Rolling Stone. “He’s mad at her, the song’s about them being mad but it’s a good art form. But you can tell by all those parts he did on the guitars and the harmonics and the picking, it’s a piece of art.”
Stevie Nicks gave the song to her mother Barbara
Nicks didn’t only want to release “Silver Springs” as revenge against Buckingham. She was extremely proud of it and thought it was going to be a big hit. So, she gave the publishing rights to her mother, Barbara, so she’d receive its royalties.
However, that didn’t happen once Mick Fleetwood removed the song from the album. “I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being and walked back in the studio completely flipped out,” Nicks recalled during a 1991 BBC radio interview.
“With a gun to my head, I went out and sang ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ and they put ‘Silver Springs’ on the back of ‘Go Your Own Way,'” Nicks continued.
‘Silver Springs’ got a second chance on ‘The Dance’ and Nicks’ mother earned a nice cheque
Twnety years later, when Fleetwood Mac reunited for The Dance in 1997, they resurected Nicks’ hit. In a way, “Silver Springs” turned prophetic. Nicks told Arizona Republic (per Rolling Stone) that year that the song’s message was, “I’m so angry with you. You will listen to me on the radio for the rest of your life, and it will bug you. I hope it bugs you.”
Buckingham did have to go on listening to all these songs written about his and Nicks’ relationship. We don’t know if it ever bugged him, but Nicks says she isn’t bothered by it anymore. So when Nicks sang “Silver Springs,” during The Dance, she got her last bit of revenge by singing those lines, making eye contact with Buckingham.
It probably also felt good when the live version of “Silver Springs” earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and re-entered the charts. Barbara Nicks earned a decent cheque for it too.
MacLean’s asked if she felt avenged by the song’s revival. Nicks replied that she was just sad she’d given her mother a “dead gift.” Nicks explained, “I had given that song to my mother so it was kind of a bummer, because it ended up being kind of a dead gift. What was great was that when we went back together to do [a live album, 1996’s The Dance] it was the single. My mom ended up getting a $50,000 cheque two months after The Dance went out. To my mother, it had been a million-dollar cheque.”
So, at least someone reaped the success of the song. It must have felt great being able to sing “Silver Springs” to Buckingham all those years later, though. Nicks probably couldn’t have thought of a better situation when she wrote the tune in 1977.