The tumultuous relationship between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks not only fueled their creativity but also resulted in hits that resonated with audiences. From their early days in Palo Alto to their time in Fleetwood Mac, their love story turned sour, providing the backdrop for some of the band’s most emotionally charged songs. Among them, Lindsey Buckingham penned a particularly bitter track directed at Nicks on Fleetwood Mac’s album Tusk, showcasing the raw intensity of their fractured connection.
Buckingham and Nicks initially met during their high school days in Palo Alto, where they formed a bond through music. As members of the psych-folk band Fritz, they embarked on a musical journey together. Following the band’s disbandment, Buckingham Nicks was born, and the duo secured a recording contract with Polydor. Although their first album failed commercially, fate intervened when Mick Fleetwood discovered their talent, leading to Buckingham’s inclusion in Fleetwood Mac, provided Nicks joined as well. Their personal and creative partnership flourished within the band, birthing poignant songs inspired by their intertwined lives.
‘Rumours’ and the Collective Heartbreak
Fleetwood Mac’s seminal 1977 album, Rumours, has often been hailed as a masterpiece and the quintessential breakup record. The songs on Rumours emerged during a period of immense turmoil for the band, with Buckingham and Nicks experiencing their own painful separation, paralleled by Christine and John McVie’s divorce and Fleetwood’s marital struggles. This raw emotional backdrop served as the foundation for the album’s deeply resonant and confessional lyrics, which captured the collective heartbreak experienced by the band members.
A Bitter Anthem: ‘What Makes You Think You’re the One?’
Following the catharsis of Rumours, Fleetwood Mac released Tusk in 1979. Among the album’s tracks, ‘What Makes You Think You’re the One?’ stands out as Lindsey Buckingham’s scathing and resentful song aimed directly at Stevie Nicks. Featuring thunderous drums and Buckingham’s gritty vocals, the song leaves no room for ambiguity—it expresses his indifference towards his former lover. The lyrics depict a detachment from the situation, challenging Nicks with lines like “What makes you think I’m the one who will love you forever?” Yet, despite the proclaimed indifference, Buckingham’s vocals betray his lingering anger, undermining the facade of emotional detachment.
Explosive Sound, Reflective of Friction
‘What Makes You Think You’re the One?’ was solely written by Buckingham, but he collaborated with drummer Mick Fleetwood during the recording process. The duo worked together to create the track’s intense, pounding percussion, which added to its bitterness. Buckingham described the recording experience, sharing, “We had an old cassette player with these really crappy mics… We put that right in front of the drums… and it just made this really explosive, trashy sound.” The raw, explosive drum sound mirrored the band’s internal dynamics at the time, a testament to their turbulent relationships and the passion that fueled their music.
A Legacy Shaped by Fractured Connections
Despite the creative collaborations between Buckingham and Nicks, their partnership eventually reached its breaking point, leading Buckingham to leave Fleetwood Mac in 1987. Their collective story of love, heartbreak, and musical brilliance became indelibly intertwined with the band’s legacy. Few other groups have experienced such publicized personal lives, with their relationships becoming an integral part of their enduring musical impact.