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Behind the Meaning of “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

May 30, 2023
landslide meaning

Fleetwood Mac, the iconic British-American rock band, has captured the hearts of millions with their timeless hits and evocative lyrics.

Among their impressive repertoire, few songs have resonated with listeners as profoundly as “Landslide.”

Released in 1975 as part of their self-titled album, “Landslide” has become a classic adored by fans of all generations.

However, beneath its haunting melody and graceful harmonies lies a profound and reflective exploration of personal growth, self-reflection, and the bittersweet nature of life’s transitions.

Written by the talented singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks, “Landslide” serves as a window into her soul, delving into the complexities of her life experiences and emotions.

Drawing inspiration from a period of introspection and uncertainty, Nicks masterfully weaves poetic lyrics that have touched the hearts of countless listeners.

This article will journey to uncover the layers of meaning hidden within the lyrics of “Landslide.”

This includes the personal experiences that influenced its creation and deciphering the profound themes that have made it an enduring anthem for years.

The Song’s Background

“Landslide” was Stevie Nicks’s first big hit, especially with Fleetwood Mac.

However, she wrote the song before she joined the famous rock band.

It was a time when she didn’t know what her future held, and she felt overwhelmed by the choices she had to make.

She brought the song with her when she joined the group, and it became one of their most famous songs.

She wrote the song in 1974 when she went to Aspen, Colorado.

At the time, her first album with Lindsey Buckingham, who was her boyfriend at the time, was a colossal flop.

So, her record label dropped them, and their hopes of making a living as musicians seemed over.

Nicks said she wrote the song in about five minutes while she was in Aspen and looking out the window at the beautiful mountains.

She considered the risks of an avalanche in the mountains and related them to her problems.

This led to the most popular song of her career.

Buckingham Nicks

Nick‘s first time making music was with Buckingham, a former high school classmate who became her music partner and lover.

By 1974, they had been trying to get their big break for nearly eight years.

During those times, they had to deal with many struggles and poverty.

Finally, in 1973, they put out their first album.

Eventually, Buckingham and Nicks would join Fleetwood Mac and no longer be a pair.

Nicks & Her Father

When she was in her late 20s, Nick’s singing career seemed to fall apart.

Her father, who ran a business, suggested she try something else.

He told her that the project had already taken up most of her 20s and that if it didn’t work out, it might not work out at all.

He told her to keep trying for another six months.

He said to her that after that, she should decide if that kind of life was for her or if she wanted to try to go back to school.

“Landslide” was motivated by this possible significant change in life.

“Landslide”

After Buckingham Nicks’ first album came out in 1974, Polydor Records dropped the duo immediately.

The first album was a colossal failure; it looked like their plans for success had turned upside down.

Nicks’s plans were all up in the air, and she said it felt like her life was about to collapse.

Everything she had built was falling apart like a mountainside after an avalanche.

After talking to her father, she went to Aspen, Colorado, with Buckingham, who was there with Don Everly for rehearsal.

She was staying at a friend’s house when she got the idea to write a song about how her life had changed.

“I Saw My Reflection In The Snow-Covered Hills” 

Nicks said she saw herself in the fragile mountains, which looked like they could fall at any time.

The line “I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills” suggests that her image of herself as a singer was about to fall apart in a way that would be devastating and impossible to fix.

“I’m Getting Older, Too”

Some people had said, strangely, Nicks wrote “I’m getting older, too” since she was only 27 when the song was written.

She did, however, explain the line later.

She had worked as a waitress and a maid for a long time.

After being poor and working hard, she felt exhausted and much older than she was.

“I Built My Life Around You”

One part of the song that hits home is this:

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

Nicks’ music career had been growing for a few years at that point, but it seemed to be falling apart.

She was trying to figure out if she should continue singing or give up everything she had worked for.

Nicks’ Relationship With Buckingham

Fans have noticed that “Landslide” sounds more like it was written about a person than an event.

It was partially true.

Nicks’ career wasn’t the only thing that influenced the song.

Her life was changing in other ways, too, and she didn’t know what would happen to her relationship with Buckingham.

They met in Palo Alto, California, when they were in high school. 

Soon after that, they got together to form the duo Buckingham Nicks and moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming famous worldwide.

Not long after they became a duo, they started dating.

But the years of poverty and uncertainty were hard on them, and by the mid-1970s, things were getting worse between them.

They broke up for good in 1976, not long after they joined Fleetwood Mac.

“Landslide” And Fleetwood Mac

Buckingham Nicks became a part of Fleetwood Mac in 1975.

“Landslide” was on the band’s album from that same year and was a regular part of their live shows as long as Nicks was in the band until 1987.

But most people learned about it when Buckingham and Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac again more than 20 years later.

In 1997, the band got back together and released an anniversary album called The Dance.

It had “Landslide” as a single, which helped make the song famous.

The song reached number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late 1990s.

The Impact of “Landslide”

“Landslide” is one of the most essential songs by Fleetwood Mac and one of the most famous songs from the 1970s.

It is also on Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 500 Best Songs of All Time.

Several well-known covers of the song have helped it become famous again and again.

In 1994, The Smashing Pumpkins did one of the most notable covers.

This version got to number three on the Modern Rock charts, and Nicks liked it and said she was glad Billy Corgan reached out to her.

It was also covered by The Chicks, who used to be called The Dixie Chicks, on their album Home, released in 2002.

This was another popular version, hitting number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Adult Contemporary charts.

Later, the group performed the country-style version of the song live with Nicks.

Even though Fleetwood Mac had hits before and after Stevie Nicks joined, “Landslide” is still one of their most famous songs.

Maybe it’s because of her sweet, ethereal voice or because it talks about something we’ve all experienced: not knowing where your life is going or who you’ll be if you make it through the landslide.

Cool Facts About “Landslide”

It was recorded by Tori Amos on January 31, 1996, and put on her album In the Springtime of Her Voodoo.

She regularly performed the song at her shows.

It was on the 1999 album Spin Art by the Southern California band Venice, which Stevie Nicks liked.

Joey McIntyre, who used to be in the band New Kid on the Block, put it on his 2002 album One Too Many: Live From New York.

In 2003, the Dixie Chicks performed their version of the song at the Grammy Awards.

That year, they got three awards, one of which was for Best Country Album.

Gwyneth Paltrow helped the Glee Cast record this song.

The song was in the “Sexy” episode of the Fox TV show on March 8, 2011, when Santana Lopez, played by Naya Rivera, picked “Landslide” to tell Brittany Pierce, played by Heather Morris, how she felt.

The following week, it went to #23 on the US chart.

This song was used in a memorable Budweiser commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in 2013.

The song has been used in several movies and TV shows, including “Jackass: The Movie,” “The West Wing,” and “This Is Us.”

It has also been used in commercials for companies like Apple and Estée Lauder.

You may also like: Meaning of “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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