Stevie Nicks Thought Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Rock & Roll Woman’ Was About Her Future as a Rock Star

Stevie Nicks has a deep connection with Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 song, “Rock & Roll Woman.” Listening to it as a 19-year-old girl, Nicks thought it was about her, or at least the woman she wanted to become. The lyrics spoke of her future as a “rock & roll woman.”

Nicks wrote many songs that predicted her future, but this was the first time another artist had done it.

Stevie Nicks in a shawl performing with Fleetwood Mac in 1977, and Buffalo Springfield posing for a portrait in 1967.
(L-R) Stevie Nicks and Buffalo Springfield | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks thought Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Rock & Roll Woman’ was about her future life

In 2011, Nicks spoke to the Guardian about the music that inspired her over the years. Nicks cited Joni Mitchell twice; her 1972 song “Blonde in the Bleachers” and her 1974 album Court and Spark. The “Case of You” singer inspired Nicks to become a singer and taught her how to phrase her lyrics.

Nicks also mentioned Crosby, Stills & Nash’s self-titled debut, and Buffalo Springfield’s “Rock & Roll Woman.” Nicks said the song was like seeing her future as a “rock & roll woman.”

“Hearing this for the first time was like seeing the future,” Nicks said. “[Sings] “And she’s coming, singing soft and low…” When I heard the lyrics, I thought: that’s me! They probably wrote it about Janis Joplin or someone like that but I was convinced it was about me.

“I saw Buffalo Springfield at the Winterland Ballroom at the time, and it could not have been better. They were a very Californian band and it was the height of the Haight-Ashbury scene.

“My parents had moved to San Francisco in my final year of high school, so I was new and didn’t know anyone. But music was everywhere, everyone was listening to the radio all the time – I was living in the middle of a music revolution.

“By 1968 I was in a band with Lindsey. His family lived in the same gated community as us, and we would practise at his house. My mum and dad liked him, and everybody in the band. We practised Monday to Thursday, then played gigs on Friday and Saturday. So we were serious about it from the beginning, and my parents understood that.”

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Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham covered Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Special Care’ during an early Fritz performance

Buffalo Springfield’s influence was evident, even when she joined Lindsey Buckingham’s band, Fritz. They covered Buffalo Springfield’s 1968 tune “Special Care” during an early performance. There’s rough audio of the cover, and Nicks’ voice sounds amazing.

However, the group continued to influence Nicks throughout her long career. She’ll never stop listening to Buffalo Springfield.

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Buffalo Springfield gave Nicks comfort during the height of the pandemic

In 2020, Forbes asked Nicks what she’d been listening to during the pandemic. Nicks said Buffalo Springfield was one of the bands that comforted her during the stressful time.

“I love Neil Young,” Nicks said. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young and Joni Mitchell and just that whole era of people. Buffalo Springfield in the last seven, eight months. I’ve been listening to a lot of their music on my Sonos and it makes me happy.”

Listening to Neil Young again also opened Nicks’ eyes to everything the singer has achieved. Nicks explained, “And I’ve decided that Neil Young was actually a lot more… he wrote a lot of very loving love ballads. He was not only the huge rock and roll crazy guy that I always thought.

“There are so many ballads I’ve gone, ‘Wow, you know what? You’re just a big pussycat. I can’t believe it.’ No wonder they chose him to come into Crosby, Stills And Nash.

“They wanted somebody like the Eagles wanted Joe Walsh, they wanted somebody that would have that heavy hand. But then when you listen to something like ‘Slowpoke’ or some of these amazing songs, I’ve been blown away over the last couple of months listening to his ballads going like, ‘This guy, really seriously, in a way, wanted to be in love.'”

Meanwhile, Nicks was in love with Young and Buffalo Springfield. Without them and Nicks’ other influences, we might not have gotten Nicks herself.

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