I’ve written about her before, but not in a while. Over the weekend, I knew it was time to write about the genius and legendary beauty of Stevie Nicks. This is very much about the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star. But, it’s also very personal for me. Friends and family know that I credit her music for saving my life as a teenager. And it is absolutely the truth.
This past weekend, we would have celebrated my mom’s 78th birthday. Honestly, this fact makes my brain go non-linear because it signifies approaching 14 years since she passed in December 2006. I have to mention that in this moment because my mom certainly served as a guiding light to me all of her life. And from way up there in heaven, she still does. Love is an energy that never dies.
And also this weekend, we saw Stevie Nicks in a film of her more recent 24 Karat Gold concert. It was remarkable for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was the first movie theatre we went to since the theaters closed due to the pandemic. It was also notable that the theatre was empty, except for us and two other people. So, it was like going to a concert with a private screening. It wasn’t like sitting in the first or second rows, as I always do at her live concerts. But, it was a front row seat nonetheless.
Marking my mom’s birthday and seeing the genius and legendary beauty of Stevie Nicks, I realized an important connection. It was also a calculation. Though my mom’s influence lives on within me in the form of memories and wisdom, it changed when she passed. I discovered Stevie Nicks at the age of six, when I “stole” my parents’ Fleetwood Mac Rumours album. I’d never before calculated that the woman whose songs create my life’s songbook has influenced me for 45 years.
The math adds up that Stevie’s influence on my life looms large. And that’s a good thing. Through her music and presence, unbeknownst to her, she has been guiding me through life for many years more than my mom already.
Have you ever been blown away by the influence a total stranger can have over your life? Well, I am that gobsmacked guy right now. So, the genius and legendary beauty of Stevie Nicks makes her a crucial influence in my life.
For one thing, her music is extraordinary. It’s almost uniquely thematic by her rich combination of writing about love, change, mysticism, dreams, fascinating characters, and even self-sufficiency. Even more, she very cleverly uses lines of her poetry in more than one song. For instance, her new current single release, a timely anthem, “Show Them the Way” takes a line she used before.
“The dream is not over, no
The dream has just begun”
Back in 1982 on the Fleetwood Mac Mirage album, in her song, “Straight Back,” she sings:
“The dream was never over, no
The dream has just begun”
This is a brilliant form of musical branding because longtime fans connect these dots and more deeply to the artist. The genius allows listeners into that area of her psyche that she accesses and willingly shares through her music. It just draws you in closer that her music has the kind of focus it does. Having a public career of such longevity, over 50 years now, further enhances her brand as singer/songwriter.
Her musical genius is one thing. Another significant element of Stevie’s genius is her legendary beauty. One might even argue that Stevie is a woman who has grown even more beautiful with age. Her style inspiration began in an instant when she took notice of how women dressed that attended Janis Joplin concerts. Joplin and fellow rocker Grace Slick shopped at a San Francisco boutique known as Velvet Underground. Once Stevie walked through its doors, the rest is history.
Stevie says, in an interview that aired on CBS Sunday Morning, that she “wanted a uniform so that I could just go out there and sing, and know that my outfit was great, and not have to worry about it every night. ‘Cause – me personally, who wants to do that? To go into your dressing room and spend an hour trying to figure out what to wear every night? That is too much work for me. So — and you might not pick a good outfit if you do it that way. MY way works every night. And it’s perfect.”
To break this down, the idea of creating a uniform is all about making life easy. Equally wonderful, this creates consistency among looks. To be clear, her type of uniform isn’t at all like anyone else’s uniform. Hers encompasses a romantic bohemian vibe replete with handkerchief hemlines, voluminous yet diaphanous fabrics layered with beaded and fringed shawls. She even festoons her microphone stand and tambourines with ribbons, completing the look with famous immense platform boots.
Her look is so recognizable because of the constancy over the years, and her unwavering consistent commitment to it. When you pause to ponder this, it’s no wonder that she has developed a legion of devotees. This is because she, too, devoted herself to a concept and to a style. Ladies and gentlefolk, this is a textbook case study of brand development.
Which brings me back to the beginning and to my soul connection with Stevie Nicks that she doesn’t know about. As a young person, I first gleaned what makes a person into a brand. Then I studied and came to understand that this brand concept is entirely tied to personality. Even rock stars like Stevie Nicks don’t put on stage clothes that fail to reflect and represent the authentic self. So, it’s not just for show. This is who she is. The genius and legendary beauty of Stevie Nicks all comes down to – her.