This Fleetwood Mac Performance Of “Landslide” Only Gets More Heartbreaking With Age


Fleetwood Mac ripped our hearts out in 1975 and we thanked them for it – because what else can you do when listening to a timeless piece of art like “Landslide?” Those deep guitars set the perfect beat for one of the most achingly relatable and poetic songs out there. On top of all that, “Landslide” is one of those rare gems of a song that only gets more powerful with each passing year.


Millions are still listening to this haunting tune online, everyone lining up for singer Stevie Nicks to tell an intimate story of change and the unpredictable fear that comes with it, a kind of fear that we just have to endure because sometimes, sometimes, while time brings plenty of frightening changes, it also builds us up stronger to face those fears. It’s no wonder Nicks was at a pretty important crossroads of her own when she wrote it.


Fleetwood Mac told a story we can all understand with “Landslide”

Stevie Nicks wrote the Fleetwood Mac hit Landslide when she was at a crossroads / YouTube screenshot

Everyone’s got a different “Landslide” story, even almost 50 years since this four-minute song’s release. Listeners have found companionship by sharing their own tales: one’s a parent dropping their kid off at college. Another is mourning a departed spouse taken too soon.

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Nicks, who sang it for the band’s self-titled album Fleetwood Mac in ’75, also wrote the song while she herself was in the midst of uncertain times. She found herself at a crossroads: go back to school and try a new course, or stay in the music scene alongside guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. Both were gambles and, making this choice all the more fraught with doubt was the fact that it was Nicks who, at 27, was balancing jobs as a cleaning lady and waitress to financially support herself and Buckingham.

The intimately rustic notes of the song paint an earthy visual that perfectly matches the view of the Rocky Mountains that Nicks stared at during her visit to Aspen, Colorado, when she ultimately wrote “Landslide.” During this meditative break, Nicks lost herself “pondering the avalanche of everything that had come crashing down on us” and believed more than ever that at “that moment, my life truly felt like a landslide in many ways.”

Quickly making history and memories that last

Nicks wrote lyrics that are still relatable to this day / YouTube screenshot

It’s reported that Nicks took about five minutes to jot down the lines and emotions that would become “Landslide,” and for however quick that might have been, the song is very solidly here to stay. As of 2009, “Landslide” is certified Gold, and Rolling Stone ranks it at 163 in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

On stage, “Landslide” is considered a Fleetwood Mac regular, to the point that Nicks has sung it for every single tour since joining the group, with the only exception being the Shake the Cage tour. She’s also performed it at every single one of her own solo tours since 2005.

Nicks performed Landslide at almost every single Fleetwood Mac tour / Everett Collection

But even if they never touched the song again, there’s no forgetting the raw emotion Nicks tapped into – and allowed listeners a glimpse into, because the fears and hopes expressed in “Landslide” came from a very real place. “I did already feel old in a lot of ways,” Nicks once admitted, reflecting on the song’s composition. That comes with a weariness all of its own, while also being asked to face the unknown of so many tomorrows, so many possible losses, and changes for the worse – but as “Landslide” assures us, “time makes you bolder,” and each day we’re getting strong enough to endure the bumps in the road to handle the seasons of life.

Fleetwood Mac, (John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood), circa mid-1970s / Everett Collection
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