Stevie Nicks’ Parents Worried Pursuing Music Was Making Her Broke, Sick, and Sad

Stevie Nicks was close with her parents, and they supported her through her pursuit of music. At a certain point, though, their worry for their daughter outweighed their support. Once Nicks’ appearance and demeanor began to concern them, they urged their daughter to consider a new career path. Here’s what they said and how she responded to them.

A black and white photo of Stevie Nicks wearing a long-sleeved dress and smiling.
Stevie Nicks | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks’ parents supported her early songwriting

Nicks began singing and harmonizing at a very young age. Her talent was evident, but she didn’t seriously pursue music until she began writing songs. After an early heartbreak, she wrote her first-ever song and realized this was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

“I finished that song, hysterically crying. And I was hooked,” she said, per the book Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis. “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.”

Her parents supported her as she wrote songs.

“They even let me miss dinner if necessary, it was that important to me,” she explained. “They could hear that I was working, at sixteen years old, and they would leave me alone.”

Her parents were worried about her as she pursued music full time

Several years after penning her first song, Nicks dropped out of college to pursue music in earnest. With then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham, she moved to Los Angeles to work on their debut album. Though they felt close to success, they faced many obstacles, and Nicks had to work long hours to support them. Heightening relationship problems with Buckingham didn’t help, and Nicks was sad, exhausted, and frequently sick.

Nicks’ mother, Barbara, picked up on this and sent her husband, Jess, to check on Nicks.

“There were times when my dad would say, ‘How long are you going to do this? You have no money, you’re not happy, you work constantly, you work at restaurants, you clean houses, you get sick very easily, you’re living in Los Angeles, you don’t have any friends — why are you doing this?’ And I would just say, ‘Because this is what I came here to do.’”

Though Jess didn’t tell Nicks to pack up her dream altogether, he encouraged her to set limits. If she didn’t see any success in six months, she should move home and finish college. Nicks agreed. Just a few months later, Mick Fleetwood recruited her and Buckingham to join Fleetwood Mac.

Stevie Nicks’ parents thought she was on the same path as her grandfather

Nicks’ parents were not musicians, but her grandfather was. While he was dedicated to his craft, he never found commercial success. Her parents worried that their daughter was going to end up the same way.

“I think they saw in me shades of my grandfather A.J.,” Nicks explained. “He was a country-and-western singer who never made it and drank too much. He was so unhappy, trying to make it. He turned into a very embittered person and died that way.”

Despite this, Nicks’ grandfather was one of her earliest influences. After singing with him, she knew music would always be a big part of her life.

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