An unauthorized biography of Stevie Nicks (b. 1948), best known as the lead singer for Fleetwood Mac.
Rock biographer Davis (More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon, 2012, etc.) begins with his subject’s Welsh ancestry, taking it as a window into the mystical element in many of her songs. Nicks was born in Phoenix but spent much of her youth in California. Music was in her family, with a grandfather who sang country songs in bars and took her along to sing harmony when she was still very young. In high school, she learned guitar and started writing folk songs. Meeting another young guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, put Nicks on the road to a musical career, though she spent several years waiting tables and hoping for breaks while they scuffled. When Mick Fleetwood came looking for a replacement lead guitarist, the engineer suggested Buckingham. He brought along Nicks, and with the new additions, Fleetwood Mac went from being reliable second-stringers to the hottest group on the planet. Davis gives readers a look into recording sessions and concert tours, playing up the personality clashes and shifting romantic entanglements that made up the mystique of Fleetwood Mac in its heyday. Given the “unauthorized” character of the book, Nicks’ impressions and feelings are more or less secondhand, quoted from interviews by others or guessed at by band mates and friends. This is less a problem than it might be, since Nicks has been fairly open, at least since the early days when the band kept her under wraps. As usual, the author is good at keeping readers—even those not totally enthralled by Nicks’ music—turning pages. Things get slower when Davis recounts her solo career, though there were frequent reunions and continued drama between her and her band mates, especially Buckingham—and, of course, the drug problems and other personal crises that come with being a rock star.
An entertaining rock biography, even if you’re a take-it-or-leave-it fan of the singer.