Music

'Landslide': The Story Behind the 1975 Fleetwood Mac Classic and The Chicks' Country Cover

Ross Marino Archive / MediaPunch/MediaPunch/IPx and Associated Press

"Landslide" is considered one of the best songs of the last 50 years, but the song was inspired by a particularly difficult time in Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks' life. The legendary singer-songwriter penned the tune while she was struggling to decide if she should go back to school or continue playing music with her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham.

The couple, who released their only album as a duo, Buckingham Nicks, in 1973, had just been dropped from their record label and Nicks' felt that her life was at a crossroads.

During an appearance on Oprah's Master Class, Nicks explained what she was going through at the time.

"I was really getting tired of being a waitress and I was really, really getting tired of being so poor. We could not afford to buy anything except just enough food to eat...and gas for our car," Nicks said. "During that year, I considered...if we do this record and we have no luck with it, maybe I'll go back to school for a year and at least I'll be able to breathe -- to not have to work on music all night long and be a waitress all day."

Nicks said the stress took a toll on her relationship with Buckingham.

"Fear never helps relationships. When you're scared of where your next money is coming from...it's really nerve-wracking. That's hard on a relationship and it was very hard on our relationship. And there were points during that time where I was like 'this is never going to work...We're going to end up breaking up and everything we've worked for is going to be done. It's all going to be for nothing.' That's really what the song 'Landslide' is about," Nicks said. "Is it worth staying in this relationship to keep this music together? And my opinion always was 'yes it is.' What we have to offer is way better than what I have to offer by myself or what he has to offer by himself."

Of course, as music fans know, the pair continued to create music together. The pair joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974 and "Landslide" was included on the band's 1975 self-titled album.

Nicks wrote "Landslide" in 1973 while staying in Aspen while Buckingham was on tour with Don Everly.

"I had been a waitress and a cleaning lady, and I didn't mind any of this. I was perfectly delighted to work and support us so that Lindsey could produce and work and fix our songs and make our music. But I had gotten to a point where it was like, 'I'm not happy. I am tired. But I don't know if we can do any better than this. If nobody likes this, then what are we going to do?'," Nicks told Performing Songwriter in 2003. "So during that two months I made a decision to continue. "Landslide" was the decision...it's the only time in my life that I've lived in the snow. But looking up at those Rocky Mountains and going, 'Okay, we can do it. I'm sure we can do it.' In one of my journal entries, it says, 'I took Lindsey and said, We're going to the top!' And that's what we did. Within a year, Mick Fleetwood called us, and we were in Fleetwood Mac making $800 a week apiece...Washing $100 bills through the laundry. It was hysterical. It was like we were rich overnight."

Nicks is one of the most beloved voices and songwriters in rock and roll history. She's the only woman who's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice -- once as a member of Fleetwood Mac and once as a solo artist.

Read More: Hear The Highwomen Cover Fleetwood Mac in Trailer for New Thriller 'The Kitchen'

While the Fleetwood Mac song never stopped playing on classic rock radio or record players (or in our hearts), "Landslide" got a new life when The Chicks (then known as the Dixie Chicks) covered the song for their 2002 album Home.

The album was a turning point for the trio, marking a move to a more acoustic, bluegrass-inspired rootsy sound, following their debt album Wide Open Spaces and sophomore record Fly.

During a 2006 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Natalie Maines said Nicks had been a source of support for the group.

"She's very supportive of other females in the industry," Maines said. "I think lots of women are competitive and she really wants you to succeed."

The Chicks also released a remix of "Landslide" produced by Sheryl Crow.

Listen to the Sheryl Crow remix of the song below.

Natalie Maines and Stevie Nicks collaborated on the song "Too Far From Texas" from Nicks' 2001 album Trouble in Shangri-La.

'Landslide' Lyrics:

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Til the landslide brought me down
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm
Well, I've been 'fraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm gettin' older, too
Well, I've been 'fraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm gettin' older, too
I'm gettin' older, too
Ah, take my love, take it down
Oh, climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
Oh, the landslide will bring it down

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'Landslide': The Story Behind the 1975 Fleetwood Mac Classic and The Chicks' Country Cover