Music, Fame, and Missing Love
So you face yesterday
Thinking on the days of old
And the price that we paid
For a love we couldn’t hold
I let you slip away
There was nothing I could do
That was so long ago, yeah
Still I often think of you
There is one story that no one can forget, it still quietly echoes in music today, a story of soul mates lost in their search for fame. Often love between two celebrities seems contrived, perhaps it is the tabloids capturing their private moments or their representatives revealing who the actress/singer is wearing that makes the idea love such a strange concept. Before there were entertainment shows, social media and those strange paparazzi who are content to wade through a celebrity’s rubbish (although it’s possible they did that in the sixties and seventies), there was no way to judge whether a couple was truly in love or if they were on the rocks. Relationships were private and society wasn’t nearly as invested in celebrities’ private lives as they are today. This voyeuristic culture that we live in thrives on chaos, especially since the life of a celebrity couple crumbling makes for good ratings.
Decades before the public fell in love with Beyonce and Jay Z, they were fascinated with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Their passionate love story is played out in music, just listen to Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, The Dance, Tusk, and Say You Will. They continue to write songs about each other. Any cynic might point out that it’s what their audience expects or Buckingham and Nicks want to conjure up the magic that existed in Rumours, an album that catapulted them to fame; but the problem with that theory is Nicks and Buckingham are from a different time. Their interviews are pure emotion, unfiltered and above all else, they are honest to the point that they’ve argued over past details. They grew up before people were “branding” themselves, creating labels that changed based on popularity, and hiring specialists to construct their image. These two certainly weren’t being controlled by publicists. Perhaps that’s why their love story was so authentic, which makes it even more tragic.
Buckingham and Nicks met as teenagers at a San Francisco high school in the mid ’60s, they formed a band and eventually opened for Jimi Hendrix as well as Janis Joplin. A dream come true for most emerging artists and yet it didn’t lead to fame straight away, so instead the young couple moved to Los Angeles and Nicks began waitressing while Buckingham worked on their music. She supported him with her meager wages. It’s impossible not to root for them. Nicks and Buckingham against the world. Admittedly their relationship was rocky, but they were soul mates, at least, I believed that after listening to Rumours on an old turntable. I still do…believe they are soul mates.
Mick Fleetwood offered them a place in his band and they accepted. We all know the story…the heartbreak…relationships irretrievably broken…but the love, it’s still there when you watch them on stage. Stevie Nicks looks at Lindsey Buckingham like he’s the only man in the world for her. No matter how far away the audience is, it’s apparent. Love dies with time, people break up and they move on, but Nicks and Lindsey are frozen in their idyllic world and their love endures.
What was the alternative, sharing a life off stage and ending this pursuit of fame that altered their future together…why couldn’t they have had both? A life together. Stevie Nicks revealed she knew their romance was really over when Lindsey Buckingham had his first child in 1998. So we know that she held out hope for a reunion…decades later. Such a powerful admission, Her love for him — an all consuming attraction that their fans sense has been honest. Nicks discusses their breakup with such detail even to this day, reliving experience over again; sometimes I wonder if she could go back a choose differently, what would she do?
They still love each other, but have said a future together is impossible. I like to imagine that they could have married, had a baby and taken her/him on tour. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham — flawed, talented and beautiful could have had it all. It’s what I told myself at ten years old. They were broken up before I was born, but I still feel the loss. Those beautiful souls who shared their anger and heartbreak through songs; the subtext has always been love even when they hated each other, there was still love between them. Watching them perform and listening to their songs, is a reminder that love cannot conquer all. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are a modern Heloise and Abelard, communicating through song instead of letters; unable or perhaps unwilling to let go of each other.