Fleeting love: The tale behind Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks bre – The Hippie Shake
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Fleeting love: The tale behind Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks break up anthem ‘Silver Springs’

07 Dec 2023 0 Comments
Words by Megan Earl 

Heartbreak. One of the most emotionally painful experiences a human being can endure. There’s no ritual on earth that speeds up the recovery process and you’ll hear an echo of clich
é phrases until you wake up one day no longer thinking of…what was their name again? And in the realm of music, which usually speaks louder to the ears of a broken heart. Few breakup anthems have managed to capture the raw essence of heartache and longing quite like the haunting melody of late 1970s hit, “Silver springs”.  

A direct result of the split between Fleetwood Mac’s front woman, Stevie Nicks, and lead guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, which holds a special place in the band's history. The song sets the stage for the complex dynamics of love and loss, unveiling the bittersweet tale of what could have been. The title itself was inspired by Silver Spring, in Maryland, as the band passed through on tour. “It sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me” said Nicks in the Classic Albums documentary about Rumours. “It’s a whole symbolic thing of what [Lindsey] could have been to me.” 
The feeling of ‘what if’ is in the spirit of “Silver springs” and is why time may have cast its spell on the song, but listeners worldwide and through the decades have found comfort in the powerhouse lyrics that have had us all belting in our kitchens “But you won’t forget me”…well, our ex partners may have, but the song has certainly stood the test of time and offered us an insight to the universal experience of heartbreak. 

Back to the bandmates. The pair met when they were just 16, forming musical partnership “Buckingham Nicks”, which led to the release of their album in 1973. The music may not have struck a chord with the public, but it did put them on the map to secure critical acclaim. Cut to a couple years later and an unexpected invitation and opportunity of a lifetime landed in Buckingham’s lap; a request to join Fleetwood Mac, with the condition he brought Stevie along for the ride with him. Despite the undoing of their romantic relationship, Buckingham enforced that the two came as a packaged deal. 

"And so, Lindsey, you and I have to sew this relationship back up. We have too much to lose here. We need to put our problems behind us. Maybe we're not going to have any more problems, because we're finally going to have some money. And I won’t have to be a f--king waitress." - Stevie Nicks, 2017 

Although the pair found a resolution and rekindled their romance, that’s not to say their newfound success didn’t come without any complications, as Nicks opened up during her 2013 interview on Oprah’s Master class: 
"We never, ever, with everything that happened to us, ever, let love affairs break Fleetwood Mac up," Stevie added. "But Lindsey always blamed Fleetwood Mac for the loss of me. Had we not joined Fleetwood Mac, we would've continued on with
our music, but we probably would've gotten married, and we probably would've had a child. It would have been a different life." 

But the rhythm of their lives didn’t lead to the pace of suburbia and eventually drove a wedge between the pair. While writing the “Rumours” album the band blew up. After eight years of marriage the McVie’s divorced and in 1986, Stevie and Lindsey’ love story reached its end. Lyrics of lost love poured out of both Nicks and Buckingham, inspiring some of the bands greatest hits, “Go your own way”, “Dreams” and the most significant record on their split, “Silver springs'. The song lyrics read like an unsent letter, and instead of staying firmly in the notes app, it became a chart-topper that expressed the regret, nostalgia and unfulfilled love that often accompanies the end of a romantic relationship. 

Although not included in the original release of the album, due to its length, “Silver springs” became a cornerstone of the band’s legacy, which ultimately was included in their later releases. The line of questioning in the track alludes to the insecurity that occurs during a breakup, and the influx of intrusive thoughts that beg us to gain some semblance of clarity and connection. Juggling the stages of grief for the fairy-tale ending that never became a reality. 

“I never thought that ‘Silver Springs’ would ever be performed on stage,” she reflected, during a 1997 MTV interview. “My beautiful song just disappeared [20 years ago]. For it to come back around like this has really been special to me.” 
By 1997, their romance was ancient history, but the ferocity of Nicks’ performance captured media attention. During the bridge she turned to face her former lover, locking eyes to drive the lyrics home, signifying how she never achieved closure from Buckingham. This moment of raw emotion sparked inspiration for Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel "Daisy Jones & The Six". A prime example of the impact that Nicks had on contemporary storytelling. Set in the 1970s, the novel captures the rise and fall of a fictional rock band while drawing inspiration from the real-life dynamics of Fleetwood Mac. The character of Daisy Jones in the novel reflects the magnetic allure and creative spirit associated with Stevie Nicks. Daisy's connection to music, her unconventional style, and her embodiment of the free-spirited ethos of the era echo Nicks' influence on fashion and music. Just as "Silver Springs" encapsulates heartache and longing, Daisy Jones' journey through fame, and personal struggles mirrors the complexities of Nicks’ own experiences, especially with fleeting romance. 

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” , which is the opening line to Brian A. “Drew” Chalker’ poem, encouraging us to be open to, to recognise and to appreciate the different types of relationships that we’ll encounter throughout our lives. To feel the extent of love we have to be willing to endure the potential pain of losing it. Nicks’ music speaks to listeners, as many of us have entertained the fantasy of what could have been. But the reality is that every relationship in our lives serves a purpose and some have a shorter expiration date than others. Romantic relationships act as a mirror to our insecurities, inner pain and have the potential to unlock personal growth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t go our own way when the time is right.
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