“Rhiannon” from Fleetwood Mac (1975)
Stevie Nicks’ breakthrough song with Fleetwood Mac—recorded for the band’s eponymous 1975 album, the same year she joined—also established her career-spanning association with the fantasy world. Inspired by the Mary Bartlet Leader novel Triad, about a woman named Rhiannon who is able to possess others, Nicks penned lyrics that get at mysticism and a bewitchment that could be evil or romantic:
”All your life you’ve never seen/ A woman taken by the wind/ Would you stay if she promised you heaven?/ Will you ever win?”
Lindsey Buckingham’s serpentine guitar supports the enchanted vibe, which Nicks would play up later after learning of the Celtic moon goddess named Rhiannon, sometimes claiming that the song was “about an old Welsh witch.” Drummer and band founder Mick Fleetwood has said that her live performances of the tune were “like an exorcism.” Nicks later delved into the Rhiannon myth again with the song “Angel.”
"Landslide" from Fleetwood Mac (1975)
The song came to Nicks at a crossroads in her life. Buckingham Nicks, her band with boyfriend Buckingham, had been dropped by Polydor after their debut foundered. Her parents, back in Arizona, were nudging the 27-year-old to consider giving up music and going back to school. Trying to figure it out, she decamped to a friend's house in Aspen, dropped acid (for what she has said was the first and only time in her life) and listened to Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark for three days. "Landslide," a gentle, yet heavy guitar ballad wrestling with indecision—"Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?/ Can I handle the seasons of my life?"—poured out. "At that moment, my life truly felt like a landslide in many ways," she has written. Years later, the song would develop a life of its own, with distinctive covers by The Chicks and Smashing Pumpkins.