She was the hippy waif
who rode to success with Fleetwood Mac.
It was the summer of 1991 and Stevie was no longer the enormous star she had been. Back in the days when with Fleetwood Mac she'd topped the US charts with 'Dreams' and 'Rumours' simultaneously, Stevie had been 70s rock chic incarnate: her thrift-store shawls, her skin-length midi skirts, her hippy beads, long witch's fingernails and dazed baby-doll pout iconic were signifiers of an age where over-indulgence bound, different faces of the same coin.
At 43, she was considerably thicker round the hips and the waist then the slender hippy-waif who first found fame with 'Rhiannon' ("About a Welsh Witch", she told audiences.) Her voice had changed too, the upper register having vanished, leaving behind a throaty croak. that didn't make her any less beautiful, though. Dressed in a tight black mini-dress with a low plunging neckline, her hair still tumbling down her shoulders in a waterfall of ringlets, she was not young any more, but she wasn't old she couldn't be funky about it.
She was living then in a big, white walled castle-like structure with three floors and a watchtower, somewhere out in Encino. We sat next to each other on a couch, in a large candle-lit lounge, drinking red wine, and talked for a couple of hours - in the vaguest possible way - about her life. I tries steering the conversation onto her relationship with Fleetwood Mac singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, the boyfriend she left behind for flings with Don Henley of the Eagles and then, later, Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood himself (the sort of stuff journalist always go for).
But she was completely deaf to those subjects these days, she said. Now was all that mattered, and there was "no one special in my life right now, and I don't want there to be". Despite her millions, she was a still a tortured artist, you see. She showed me her journal, full of stories of old affairs and filled with dead flowers. She spoke of having realized lately that the "real love" of her life had been someone way back in the distant past, who was now married and lived, in her mind anyway, "a million miles from here".
Then she took my hand and gave me a tour of the house: the courtyard with the waterfall, the gold and platinum records on the stairwell; up to the first floor where there was the kitchen, and a couple of big rooms full of paintings, rugs, chandeliers, expensive knick-knacks. And everywhere you looked there were candles. It was the same in every room; hundreds of tiny, flickering candles, I wondered who she employed to put them all out at night. If indeed she ever let anyone put them out.
She showed me the bathrooms with their gold taps and fittings, and the guest bedrooms with their own TVs, phones etc. And then, finally, her own bedroom. I had expected a four-poster, but it was just a normal-looking double bed with a patterned quilt thrown over it and lots of stuffed animals on top.
"And then there's this," she said, leading me up to another door, though which there was a ladder up to the top of the watchtower. She led the way. "This is my secret space," she said, in a horse whisper. I climbed up the ladder behind her. Her dress was so short I couldn't help but see up it. Not that I meant to look (not much).
"This is where I come when I want to be alone and think about things." she said, when we got to the top. "You can look out on the whole world from here." "Yes," I said, my mind still elsewhere, "it's an amazing view all right."
Last Updated - 14 July 2004
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