Gold Dust Woman: The Story Behind Stevie Nicks’ Signature Song
The song was written earlier in her life in Phoenix, Arizona before Fleetwood Mac, inspired by a street near where she lived, called Gold Dust Lane. It was revised and recorded by Nicks in 1976
Stevie Nicks is one of the most iconic and influential singers of all time, and her song “Gold Dust Woman” is a testament to her talent, charisma and mystique. The song, which closes the 1977 album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, is a haunting and powerful expression of Nicks’ personal struggles, artistic vision and spiritual quest.
The song was written earlier in her life in Phoenix, Arizona before Fleetwood Mac, inspired by a street near where she lived, called Gold Dust Avenue. It was revised and recorded by Nicks in 1976, during a turbulent period in her life. She was coping with the ending of her relationship with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, as well as her growing addiction to cocaine. She later said that the song was about “a woman who is dealing with the pressures of the music business, and who is trying to keep up her strength and not let herself get beaten down by it.”
Nicks recorded the vocals for the song in one take, in the middle of the night, at the Record Plant studio in Sausalito, California. She said that she felt like she was singing in an empty church, and that she wanted to capture the feeling of being alone and isolated. She also added some improvised lyrics at the end of the song, such as “Did she make you cry? Make you break down? Shatter your illusions of love?” which reflected her emotional state at the time.
The song features a distinctive arrangement and production by Buckingham, who added layers of guitars, keyboards, percussion and harmonies to create a dark and atmospheric sound. He also used a device called a jet phaser to create a swirling effect on Nicks’ voice, which added to the ethereal and mysterious quality of the song.
“Gold Dust Woman” became one of Nicks’ signature songs, and a fan favorite. It showcases her unique style of blending rock, pop, folk and blues influences, as well as her poetic and symbolic lyrics. The song also reveals her fascination with mythology, magic and spirituality, as she sings about being a “gold dust woman”, a term that could refer to a fairy, a goddess or a witch.
The song has been covered by many artists over the years, such as Hole, Sheryl Crow, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, and Halestorm. It has also been featured in various movies, TV shows and video games, such as American Horror Story: Coven, The Crow: City of Angels, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Grand Theft Auto V.
“Gold Dust Woman” is a timeless classic that showcases Stevie Nicks’ artistry and legacy. It is a song that resonates with anyone who has ever faced challenges, overcome obstacles and pursued their dreams.
This live version is fantastic, and features most of her current touring band, as of last week. Lead guitar and Music Director Waddy Wachtel is here too. Taste it again, for the first time…. and go full screen.