Stevie Nicks Said She Listens to the Same Joni Mitchell Song Every Time She Prepares to Go on Stage

Stevie Nicks became a singer because of Joni Mitchell. As a teenager, Nicks holed herself in her room and listened to Mitchell’s records repeatedly. Nicks wanted to become just as good a songwriter, and she eventually did when she joined Fleetwood Mac.

So, to pay homage to her idol, Nicks listens to the same song by Mitchell every time she prepares to go on stage.

Stevie Nicks wearing white posing for a portrait in 1981, and Joni Mitchell in black in 1968.
(L-R) Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell | Chris Walter/Jack Robinson/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks listens to Joni Mitchell before she goes on stage

In 2011, Nicks spoke to the Guardian about the music that’s inspired her over the years. Nicks cited Mitchell twice; her 1972 song “Blonde in the Bleachers” and her 1974 album Court and Spark.

Speaking about “Blonde in the Bleachers,” Nicks explained that she didn’t identify with the girl in the song, the “groupie.” She identified more with the rock star that Mitchell describes.

“This is about a girl who [sings] ‘tapes her regrets to the microphone stand, she says ‘you can’t hold the hand of a rock ‘n’ roll man for very long.’ I never saw myself as the girl in the song – I identified with the rock’n’roll star. I was never gonna be the groupie.” Nicks said she “was the star, I was sure of that.”

Nicks explained that she listens to “Blonde in the Bleachers” every time she prepares to go on stage. “I listen to that song to this day. It’s on the playlist I have for when I’m preparing to go on stage.” Nicks also looks at a photo of her and George Harrison before taking the stage.

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Nicks is the rock star constantly leaving their partner behind in ‘Blonde in the Bleachers’

For decades, Nicks has constantly juggled a solo career and a career as the frontwoman of Fleetwood Mac. Nicks has never really had time to settle down with someone with all that. Nicks always had to say goodbye to her romantic partners because of her lifestyle.

So, that’s why Nicks always felt bad about the girl in “Blonde in the Bleachers.” Continuing to the Guardian, Nicks said, “I felt sorry for the girl in the song, and for all the girls who got their hearts broken going out with rock ‘n’ roll stars. I don’t think much has changed. Guys become famous, go on the road, all the beautiful girls come to their show, and it’s a free for all.

“My advice to the young women I know is don’t go out with a rock star. It’s never gonna work. I went out with Lindsey but he was a colleague, and he was very in love with me. I was not worried one bit about Lindsey Buckingham straying from me. We came to LA together, hand-in-hand, to conquer the world.”

Nicks wrote about constantly saying goodbye to her partners in her song “Belle Fleur.” She told MacLean’s, “Belle Fleur was about not being able to have a relationship because you were a rock ‘n’ roll star. Those women are me, [my sister] Lori … and friends I had from 1975 to 1978.

“The [lyric] ‘When you come to the door of the long black car’—that’s the limousine that’s coming to take you away. Then your boyfriend is standing on the porch waving at you, like, ‘When are you going to be back?’ And you’re like, ‘I don’t know, maybe three months?’

“But then we would add shows to a tour and I could end up not being back for six months. It was difficult for the men in my life. I lived that song so many times.”

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Nicks said she’s a singer because of Mitchell

Mitchell’s songs don’t just pump Nicks up for a night of performing or resonate with her personal life. They made her want to become a rock star. Nicks wouldn’t have become a rock star without Mitchell and her songs.

However, Mitchell isn’t just Nicks’ idol. She’s her teacher. During a 1981 interview with BAM magazine, Nicks explained how much Mitchell influenced her and taught her about songwriting.

“Well, I’ve written for years and been influenced by lots of people, but I guess the stuff that really got me was Joni Mitchell’s early songs,” Nicks said. “I learned so much from listening to her. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be doing this if it hadn’t been for her.

“It was her music that showed me I could say everything I wanted to and push it into one sentence and sing it well. Ladies of the Canyon taught me a lot. I remember lying on the floor, listening to Joni’s records, studying every single word. When she came out with a new album I’d go crazy–’Don’t bother me this week. I’m listening to Joni Mitchell.'”

Nicks continued, “I didn’t want to play music like her. I couldn’t if I’d wanted to–I can’t play the guitar worth s***, and Joni’s a great player. I just loved the way she was a very personal writer yet easy to relate to. She was doing what I wanted to do.”

Mitchell taught Nicks how to phrase her lyrics. Nicks might not have written songs like “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” without Mitchell.

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