Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 298
Wed, Nov 7, 2012
It was actually Antony and his magnificent cover; the hopeful results from Election Day and Stevie Nicks’ original vocal are what sparked my latest Fleetwood Mac revival. Nicks originally called “Landslide” a song about a father and daughter relationship. Nicks was in Aspen, Colorado when she wrote “Landslide,” Stevie talked about how the mountains around her inspired the song when she said, “I realized then that everything could tumble, and when you’re in Colorado, and you’re surrounded by these incredible mountains, you think avalanche. It meant the whole world could tumble around us and the landslide would bring you down. And a landslide in the snow is like, deadly. And when you’re in that kind of a snow-covered, surrounding place, you don’t just go out and yell, because the whole mountain could come down on you.”
Landslide was one of the songs that I would hear sitting next to our familia’s old school speakers while listening to 1970’s radio when every song was like a magical story that came to life in my head. Nicks recounted how “Landslide” instantaneously came to her, when she explained, “Landslide I wrote on the guitar, and it’s another one that I wrote in about five minutes. But see, when I’m really thinking about something ~ I mean when something’s really bothering me ~ again, the best thing that I can do is go to the music room, or to the office, where I can write. Because once I put it down and I can read it back, and I can think about what I’m saying, then it makes sense to me. When I’m just thinking it in my head, it’s going around and around, and I feel like a little child unable to make a real, substantial decision. And we were talking about our lives… the rest of our lives.”
Nicks talked about a crossroads moment that inspired “Landslide” when she said, “it was about September 1974, I was home at my Dad and Mom’s house in Phoenix, and my father said, ‘you know, I think that maybe… you really put a lot of time into this [her singing career], maybe you should give this six more months, and if you want to go back to school, we’ll pay for it and uh, basically you can do whatever you want and we’ll pay for it ~ I have wonderful parents ~ and I went, ‘cool, I can do that.’”
But Nicks didn’t give up. Stevie gave her singing career one last swing and just when despair was around the horizon, Nicks finally wrote her breakthrough hit, as she explained, “[Then] Lindsey and I went up to Aspen, and we went to somebody’s incredible house, and they had a piano, and I had my guitar with me, and I went into their living room, looking out over the incredible, like, Aspen skyway, and I wrote Landslide…three months later, Mick Fleetwood called. On New Year’s Eve, 1974, called and asked us to join Fleetwood Mac. So it was three months, I still had three more months to go to beat my six month goal that my dad gave me. So that’s what Landslide is about.”
When I hear “Landslide” I think of a quote by Keith Richards on songwriting when he once said, “To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack.” Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” best describes Keef’s description of a timeless song. You can feel the bending of the heartstrings but there’s still a sense of hope.
On the brink of creative defeat, Nicks wrote “Landslide” for her paramour Lindsey Buckingham as she explained, “I wrote it (Landslide) for Lindsey – for him, about him. It’s dear to both of us because it’s about us. We’re out there singing about our lives.” What if Nicks and Buckingham had never struggled? What if Nicks wasn’t pondering giving up on her dream of having a successful career as a singer/songwriting? What is Nicks hadn’t gone to Aspen” It was fate through the hardships and pain that Stevie Nicks create “Landslide.” She had live “Landslide” before writing her most famous song.
When I hear Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 hit I think of what happens after the snow melts and all that remains are you dreams resurrected in the glimpse inside Stevie Nicks wondrous “Landslide”There is hope through the avalanching beauty that is “Landslide.” Imagine if Nicks had given up and taken her father’s advice and went back to school. Nicks took her father’s inspiration and instead of giving up, she wrote one of the most memorable love songs of the 1970’s. It goes to show whether you’re the President of the United States, a struggling athlete or artist, you can never surrender. Spin the glory that is “Landslide” and honor the perseverance that is the greatness of our favorite songwriting chanteuse Stevie Nicks today.
Like the best wine “Landslide” grows better with time, here’s my favorite version from 1997’s The Dance with Lindsey on guitar and Stevie on vocals, enjoy!
And Antony’s amazing cover, get ready to be amazed!