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As Stevie Nicks turns 70: How her passions for drugs, music and musicians shaped one of the most successful …

As Stevie Nicks turns 70: How her passions for drugs, music and musicians shaped one of the most successful …
26 May
9:59

All the Rumours are true – one of the wildest women in rock has turned 70.

After so many years of excess all areas, it is little short of a miracle that Stevie Nicks is still standing.

But the husky-voiced Fleetwood Mac singer is not just surviving but thriving and fronting the hugely popular band.

She became a global superstar with the phenomenal success of Rumours. Widely ranked as one the best albums of all time, the 1977 work has sold over 40 million copies.

Stevie Nicks rose to fame as the husky-voiced frontwoman of Fleewood Mac
(Image: Redferns)
The hugely successful rock band went on to sell 100 million record worldswide
(Image: Getty)

Its track Don’t Stop became the anthem for Bill Clinton’s first US presidential campaign and The Chain the theme tune in Britain for Formula One TV coverage.

Now a new book, Gold Dust Woman, charts Stevie’s rise from high-school cheerleader to the voice of generations – as well as her love of drugs, music and musicians.

Stevie’s 10-year cocaine, alcohol and pot addiction and two stints in rehab are all detailed.

The singer admitted: “You could put a big gold ring through my ­septum. It was a lot of fun for a long time as we didn’t know it was bad.

Biography Gold Dust Woman charts Stevie’s rise from high-school cheerleader to the voice of a generation
(Image: Mirrorpix)

“Eventually it gets hold of you, and all you can think about is where your next line is coming from.

“All of us were drug addicts. But there was a point where I was the worst. I was a girl, I was fragile, and I was doing a lot of coke and I was in danger of brain damage.”

It was all a far cry from when, as Little Teddie, she dressed in homemade cowgirl outfits and sang country classics for family friends and in ­saloons with her grandfather at the age of five.

Stephen Davis’s book also lays bare Stevie’s relationship with Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, including a 1987 row in front of the rest of the band.

Stevie’s on-off relationship with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham inspired some of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits
(Image: Getty)

Buckingham slapped her face, bent her over a car bonnet and ­started to choke her until the others intervened, according to the book.

The pair met at school in California, they became lovers and moved to Los Angeles in the early 70s, forming the duo, Buckingham Nicks. But as Stevie waited on tables and cleaned homes to make 50 dollars a week, Buckingham smoked dope with his friends.

In 1975, drummer Mick Fleetwood asked Buckingham to join him and married couple John and Christine McVie. Buckingham agreed but insisted Stevie also joined. Fleetwood fancied Stevie on sight, it was a done deal.

At first Buckingham controlled Stevie. Fleetwood told Davis: “Very slowly, he began to lose control. And he really didn’t like it.”

Stevie later embarked on a relationship with Eagles’ drummer Don Henley (left)
(Image: Redferns)

With elfin Nicks twirling on stage in gauzy dresses and delicate shawls mesmerising audiences, Buckingham was jealous of her growing success.

The popularity of her songs Rhiannon and Landslide, about their fading romance, did not help, says the book. When Buckingham and Stevie finally split the first to come knocking at Stevie’s door was Eagles’ drummer, Don Henley. They became a semi-secret couple for a year.

Davis said Rumours was a nod to the gossip about who was sleeping with each other in music circles.

Stevie Nicks’ work continues to influence young musicans, including pop star Miley Cyrus
(Image: Getty)

The track Second Hand News was Buckingham’s admission about getting dumped, Stevie wrote Dreams as she started going out with Henley and Christine’s rousing anthem Don’t Stop urged her husband and everyone else to keep going.

Rumours topped the US charts for eight months. Stevie later said of the album’s success: “The truth about Rumours, was that Rumours was the truth.” Stevie became pregnant by Henley but got an abortion as he had disappeared back on the road.

She had an affair with a record exec then a two-year on-off relationship with Fleetwood which ended when he ran off with her best friend Sara.

Fleetwood Mac receive a huge applause from the crowd at the Radio City Music Hall in January 2018
(Image: Getty)

Her biggest heartbreak came when she fell head-over-heels in love with Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh.

She said: “We were probably the perfect, complete, crazy pair. He was the one I would’ve married. We were doing way too much drugs. We were really, serious drug addicts. We were a couple on the way to hell.”

But Walsh flew to Australia, leaving a message instructing her never to contact him. She said: “We had to break up or we’d die. It took me years to get over it – if I ever did. It’s very sad but at least we survived.”

By September 1986, Fleetwood was alarmed by how much Stevie was drinking, snorting and smoking so she could perform, writes Davis.

Stevie checked into rehab for substance abuse at the height of her fame
(Image: Getty)

Later that month she checked herself into the Betty Ford Centre in California for rehab. Once out, Stevie began seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed tranquillisers. She took them for seven years “until I just turned into a zombie.” She had a second stint in rehab in 1993. She said: “I felt like someone opened up a door and pushed me into hell.

“That doctor – he’s the only ­person in my life I can honestly say I will never forgive. All those years I lost – I could have maybe met somebody or had a baby or done a few more albums.”

The band will tour the US later this year but have sacked Buckingham after another feud. Buckingham blamed “factions within the band that had lost their perspective.”

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