Now in her fourth decade in the spotlight, singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks was a member of one of rock's biggest acts and has released numerous solo albums.
She was born Stephanie Lynn Nicks on May 26, 1948, in Phoenix. Nicks' paternal grandfather, a frustrated country singer, influenced her early on and often took her along when he sang in bars.
Though Nicks' family moved around throughout her teen years, she sang in bands wherever they landed. While in California, she formed the band Fritz with a high school classmate, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The band broke up in the early '70s, but Nicks and Buckingham remained together professionally as well as personally.
In 1973 the duo signed with Polydor Records and released Buckingham Nicks, which featured Nicks' throaty vocals and Buckingham's fiery guitar. The album flopped, but Mick Fleetwood, founder and drummer of British pop-rock band Fleetwood Mac, heard the album and asked Buckingham to join his band. Buckingham accepted on the condition that Nicks be invited, as well.
The Nicks/Buckingham-infused Fleetwood Mac took the U.S. record charts by storm. In 1975, the band which also featured longtime members Christine McVie (keyboards) and her husband, John (bass) hit #1 with Fleetwood Mac, largely on the strength of Nicks' classic "Rhiannon" (RealAudio excerpt), the story of a Welsh witch. Nicks assumed the image of "Rhiannon" in concert, floating around the stage seemingly in a trance, dressed in long, flowing, black chiffon dresses.
Rumours (1977), with its words of love and loss sung over easygoing Southern California rock, dominated the airwaves in the late '70s. Although Nicks' "Dreams" became the band's only #1 song in the U.S., the album spawned three more hit singles, including "Don't Stop." The album would eventually sell more than 17 million copies in the United States alone.
In the late '70s the band began to fall apart because of musical and personal conflicts.
In 1981, Nicks, while remaining with the group, began a solo career with the release of the quadruple-platinum Bella Donna, which featured the hits, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (with Tom Petty), "Leather and Lace" (with Don Henley) and "Edge of Seventeen." She reunited with Fleetwood Mac for Mirage (1982), which yielded the top-20, Nicks-penned hit "Gypsy." Two more successful solo albums, The Wild Heart (1983) and Rock a Little (1985), followed. Nicks then entered the Betty Ford Center to fight cocaine dependency.
She toured with Fleetwood Mac again after the release of the band's 1987 album, Tango in the Night. Nicks released another solo LP, The Other Side of the Mirror, before leaving Fleetwood Mac
in 1990. She rejoined the group briefly for President Clinton's inauguration.
Though her 1994 album, Street Angel, sold less than its predecessors, 1997's reunion of the five Rumours-era Mac members (for The Dance live album) brought renewed interest in the band. This incarnation was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, along with members of the '60s, blues-era Fleetwood Mac.
Nicks capitalized on this career resurgence by touring solo in 1998 and releasing the box-set retrospective The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks.
Last year she contributed two tracks produced by Sheryl Crow to the soundtrack of the film "Practical Magic." Crow also produced material for Nicks' next solo album, due this year.
Other birthdays Friday: Peggy Lee, 80; Levon Helm (The Band), 58; Verden Allen (Mott the Hoople), 56; Garry Peterson (Guess Who), 55; Wayne Hussey (ex-Sisters of Mercy), 42; Lenny Kravitz, 36; Phillip Rhodes (Gin Blossoms), 32; Kristen Pfaff (Hole), 19671994; and Mick Ronson, 19491993.