Stevie Nicks Said She and Lindsey Buckingham Could Never Write Songs Together

Stevie Nicks doesn’t change her lyrics for anyone, least of all Lindsey Buckingham. When a line comes to her, she has to keep it. It’s sort of a superstition of hers. But with the success that Nicks has had over the decades, we’re not complaining. The two-time Hall of Famer can do whatever she wants in the songwriting process as long as she gives fans more hits.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham performing with Fleetwood Mac in 1979.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham | Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Stevie Nicks said she always tells the truth in her lyrics

During a 2011 interview, Nicks talked about how vulnerability plays a role in the songwriting process. She said it’s always better to be honest in your lyrics.

“I think you have to be very honest, and from the very beginning, I said, I think I even said this to my mom, I’m never going to be dishonest in my songs. If he broke up with me, I’m not going to write the song and say I broke up with him. I’m never going to not tell the truth.

“So you’re much better off to actually share what really happened with your audience and not try to make up a story. If you have a good story, there’s no reason to try to change the story.”

That’s been Nicks’ motto over the years regarding all of her songs–not just the few that could have had a different story.

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Nicks said she can’t write lyrics with Lindsey Buckingham

If Nicks doesn’t change her lyrics to make herself look good in a specific situation, she will not change her lyrics, period. Generally speaking, Nicks is superstitious about changing anything. That’s why she could never write songs with Lindsey Buckingham. He always suggested she change things.

“I’m very superstitious,” Nicks said. “Once I’ve written a line-it’s like every once in a while, Lindsey will say, ‘You know, well you’re writing in the third person, and then all of a sudden you flip back into first person. You can’t really do that.’ And I’m like, ‘So would you say that to Bob Dylan?’ I snap back at him, you know?

“And that’s why Lindsey and I don’t write songs together. He’ll say, ‘Well-No, I guess…’ So, that ends that conversation right there.”

Nicks wrote some of her biggest hits about her break-up with Buckingham. So, it’s a wonder he didn’t try to change more of her lyrics.

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Nicks says she was selfish in her songwriting process

In the same interview, Nicks said she was often “selfish” in her early songwriting process. However, judging by what Buckingham would say to her when she wrote, we sort of understand why.

“The songwriting process for me, I’ve always kept to myself. I really was very selfish about it; I never really wanted to write with anyone,” Nicks said.

Nicks told Billboard that Fleetwood Mac wouldn’t have recorded 17 songs in 15 months because everyone constantly wanted to change things. “They couldn’t, not even if you offered them $5 million apiece,” Nicks said. “In Fleetwood Mac, I play them a demo, and someone says, ‘That’s great, but why don’t we work on that second verse?’ I might say, ‘Are you crazy?’ or I might say, ‘That’s a good idea.’ You mull it over.”

There was a time during Rumours when Fleetwood Mac even booted one of Nicks’ most iconic songs, “Silver Springs,” because it was too long.

Nicks eventually got over being “selfish” in her songwriting. When she worked with her long-time friend, Dave Stewart, on her album In Your Dreams, she actually managed to sit down with him and write tracks, however weird it was for her. Guess Nicks just couldn’t do that with Buckingham, which says a lot.