It has taken a long time to make the transition from the predominantly male-dominated rock music culture to one where female rockers may enjoy the same level of respect and adoration. In the beginning, there was so little female representation that most aspiring female singers had to idolize men in order to further their careers. Rock stars like Grace Slick and Janis Joplin showed the world that women could thrive in the rock industry if they were committed to doing so and leaving a lasting legacy that would motivate other women to follow in their footsteps.
Many female artists aspire to be on the same level as their contemporaries and have role models in the profession. Women aspire to reach a level of influence and success that will allow younger female rockers in the scene access. For instance, Grace Slick, one of the most important female rockers in rock history, was someone to who Stevie Nicks had previously compared herself. Nicks created a Fleetwood Mac song specifically for Slick because she was so fascinated by her presence in the traditionally male-dominated music business.
There were hardly any female rockers or artists in general while Stevie Nicks was rising up the celebrity ladder. As a result, she elevated Janis Joplin and Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane as the two musical icons of the psychedelic era thanks to their mezzo-soprano vocals. The vocalist wanted to pursue rock and break into the male-dominated genre even though she wanted to write country songs.
Nicks revealed the history of the song “Gypsy,” which was heavily influenced by none other than Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick, on March 25, 2009, during a performance in Montreal, Quebec, as part of Fleetwood Mac’s Unleashed Tour. She said it was written sometime between 1978 and 1979, when the band had become “very famous, very fast.”
It was a tune that transported her to a previous period, to an apartment in San Francisco, where she had removed her bed’s mattress and placed it on the floor. Nicks sang the following words to set the scene:
“So I’m back, to the velvet underground / Back to the floor that I love / To a room with some lace and paper flowers / Back to the gypsy that I was.”
The singer remembered the store she and her two idols would frequent and recalled the times she and Lindsey Buckingham had to sleep on a king-sized mattress on the floor because they had no money. Stevie elucidated the lyrics as follows:
”So I’m back to the velvet underground’—which is a clothing store in downtown San Francisco, where Janis Joplin got her clothes, and Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane. It was this little hole in the wall, amazing, beautiful stuff.”
One of Fleetwood Mac’s most well-known songs is “Gypsy,” a piece from the album “Mirage.” The song even peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 14 weeks there. Stevie used the song “Gypsy” as a method to describe her previous existence before the band found mainstream success. Nicks mostly nodded at a store that featured handpicked goods and was frequented by her hero Grace Slick.