“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
Although the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” may read as if it is entirely metaphorical, it is also part lyrical. When Stevie Nicks wrote it, she was physically situated in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado. So the first and third verses are based on her quite literally marveling at the “snow-covered hills”.
That is not to say that she actually went as far as to “climb a mountain”, as the working implies. But she was marveled by the locality nonetheless and was truly concerned about landslides.
The second verse is where the vocalist gets more existential or philosophical. As the story goes, Nicks penned “landslide” during a critical juncture in her life, when she was wavering between the continued pursuit of her musical ambitions or going back to school.
And that would apparently be why she is expressing such self-doubt during said passage. But of course, being a musician was the path closer to her heart. And arguably, it is a personification of music itself whom she is addressing in the chorus.
And with such an understanding in mind, what Stevie seems to be saying is that whereas she is ‘afraid of change’, as someone who is maturing and accordingly becoming “bolder” she is going to continue to pursue her dream anyway.
Indeed there is a lot going on in this song from a personal-historical standpoint as far as Stevie Nicks is concerned. And how the first/third verse and second combine is that visiting the Rocky Mountains resulted in Stevie becoming more confident in terms of pursuing her musical career.
And her conviction paid off, as it was shortly thereafter that she was asked to join Fleetwood Mac, the association which ultimately led to Nicks becoming a music legend.
Writing and Production Credits of “Landslide”
“Landslide” was written by Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks, as noted earlier before she even joined the band. But the entire crew is credited with producing the song alongside the late Keith Olsen (1945-2020).
This song was made public on 11 July 1975 as part of the self-titled project Fleetwood Mac put out that year. The said project is also known in some circles as ‘The White Album’.
Originally Reprise Records didn’t release “Landslide” as a single. However, it still proved to be a fan favorite and one of the songs that Fleetwood Mac performed most frequently throughout the years.
But Reprise did eventually put the song out as a single in 1998. And upon venturing out on its own, “Landslide” appeared on three Billboard charts. It even peaked at number 10 on the Adult Contemporary listing.
Even More Achievements
Afterwards the song has also re-charted sporadically here and there. For instance, it made its first appearance on the UK Singles Chart in 2011 and went on to be certified platinum Across the Pond.
Also “Landslide” went on to exceed 2,000,000 copies sold sometime around the mid-2010s. This was some 40 years after it originally appeared.
This song has also been covered by other artists to notable chart success. This includes the Smashing Pumpkins in 1994 and the cast of Glee in 2011. Most successfully out of the many covers is that of The Dixie Chicks in 2002.
Other popular covers include:
- Lucy Lawless (in a comedic capacity) in 1998
- Harry Styles (alongside Stevie Nicks) in 2017
Beautiful song, well written, a real classic.