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How Fleetwood Mac Influenced ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’

When Taylor Jenkins Reid decided to write ‘Daisy Jones,’ she kept coming back to a moment between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Story By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Mar 5, 2019

In the summer of 1997, I was thirteen years old and highly addicted to channel-surfing between MTV and VH1. I was mostly looking for No Doubt or Third Eye Blind videos, even perhaps Jamiroquai sliding across the walls. What I was not looking for was an old band I’d never heard of performing a two-hour-long live concert, preempting my Puff Daddy videos. But, nevertheless, Fleetwood Mac was always playing on repeat on both channels that summer, singing their greatest hits in a reunion show called The Dance. They were inescapable.

I don’t remember the first time I actually paid attention to the screen. Maybe I resigned myself to watching snippets of it, flipping back and forth between channels. What I do know is that, at some point during that heavy rotation cycle in which The Dance dominated music television, I glanced up at the screen while Stevie Nicks was singing “Landslide.”

The lighting was dim, she was in a gauzy black dress, her hair was big and blond. She shared the stage only with Lindsey Buckingham, who was just off to the side, accompanying her. She sang with such fragility and yet she seemed so confident and strong—and as she did, she kept looking back at Lindsey, her expression warm and intimate, but cryptic.

Who were these people?

As the song was coming to an end, Stevie and Lindsey moved closer to one another, smiling tenderly, maybe even a little bit wistfully. Lindsey stopped strumming for a moment and Stevie let it fly as he watched from the sideline. And for one split second—truly, a slice of a moment—Lindsey put his fist under his chin and looked at Stevie as if she was a miracle.

And I thought, “Oh, they’re in love with each other.”

I did not think it in any sort of revelatory way. It didn’t even seem like that big of a realization. It just seemed obvious. Like saying, “This water is wet.” He was clearly madly in love with her. And the way she smiled back at him, the way she seemed so comfortable in his gaze, she must love him, too.

Imagine my surprise when my mother later explained that, though they had once dated, they weren’t together anymore. This completely defied logic to me. But they love each other! I saw it with my own eyes!

"I understood that sometimes looking like you’re in love or in hate are things you ramp up a bit to make a good show."

Years later, once I understood the full story of Fleetwood Mac, I came across The Dance again, this time on YouTube. I watched it in its entirety. I saw that later on in the show, Stevie sung “Silver Springs,” like a woman scorned, holding that microphone like a weapon, drilling holes into Lindsey’s head with her eyes as she sang that her voice would haunt him. I was savvier then, I understood that sometimes looking like you’re in love or in hate are things you ramp up a bit to make a good show. I also understood then what I could never have conceived of in 1997: Love makes no goddamn sense.

And yet, two years ago, when I decided I wanted to write a book about rock ‘n’ roll, I kept coming back to that moment when Lindsey watched Stevie sing “Landslide.” How it looked so much like two people in love. And yet, we’ll never truly know what lived between them. I wanted to write a story about that, about how the lines between real life and performance can get blurred, about how singing about old wounds might keep them fresh.

Even after copious amounts of research about Fleetwood Mac and a host of other duos and bands, I’m still taken with that moment between them. I can’t help but marvel at the idea that, despite everything they’d been through, Stevie and Lindsey still loved each other then. Or how, despite what it looked like to us all, they no longer did.

I know I’ll never know the answer. And I suppose, if I’m being realistic, there isn’t one. For all of their tumult, Stevie and Lindsey probably still love each other and don’t love each other, hate each other and don’t hate each other. There probably aren’t any words to describe it. It probably won’t ever be distilled perfectly in a song.

Life is rarely as clean as the art we make from it. But still, I keep wondering.

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