Cover image for Gold dust woman : a biography of Stevie Nicks
Gold dust woman : a biography of Stevie Nicks
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017.

Physical Description:
332 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates ; 24 cm
Stevie Nicks is a legend of rock, but her energy and magnetism sparked new interest in this icon. At sixty-nine, she's one of the most glamorous creatures rock has known, and the rare woman who's a real rock ?n' roller. -- Jacket
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
Book - 14 Day 92 NICKS, STEVIE 1 .SOURCE. 11/17 BT
Book 782.42166 NICKS 1
Book ML420.N6D38 2017 1

On Order

Prescott Public Library1Received on 11/28/17
Cottonwood Public Library1Received on 10/27/17
Prescott Valley Public Library1Received on 2/14/18




"All you ever wanted to know about Fleetwood Mac's mesmerizing frontwoman." - People Magazine

"Davis is astute and respectful...adept in his literary analysis." - The New York Times Book Review

Stevie Nicks is a legend of rock, but her energy and magnetism sparked new interest in this icon. At sixty-nine, she's one of the most glamorous creatures rock has known, and the rare woman who's a real rock 'n' roller.

Gold Dust Woman gives "the gold standard of rock biographers" ( The Boston Globe ) his ideal topic: Nicks' work and life are equally sexy and interesting, and Davis delves deeply into each, unearthing fresh details from new, intimate interviews and interpreting them to present a rich new portrait of the star. Just as Nicks (and Lindsey Buckingham) gave Fleetwood Mac the "shot of adrenaline" they needed to become real rock stars--according to Christine McVie--Gold Dust Woman is vibrant with stories and with a life lived large and hard:
--How Nicks and Buckingham were asked to join Fleetwood Mac and how they turned the band into stars
--The affairs that informed Nicks' greatest songs
--Her relationships with the Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh, and with Fleetwood himself
--Why Nicks married her best friend's widower
--Her dependency on cocaine, drinking and pot, but how it was a decade-long addiction to Klonopin that almost killed her
-- Nicks' successful solo career that has her still performing in venues like Madison Square Garden
--The cult of Nicks and its extension to chart-toppers like Taylor Swift and the Dixie Chicks

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

For the audio edition of Davis's authorized biography of Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, Delaine doesn't impersonate Nicks's distinctive voice, but she captures enough of the singer-songwriter's essence to complement the material nicely. When quoting Nicks or reading anecdotes from her life, Delaine finds just the right tone to match a particular facet of the superstar's complex identity: a breathy, ethereal quality in relation to her creative life, a take-no-prisoners delivery in matters of business, and a vulnerable sisterly cadence with regard to her close friends and family and the wounded soldiers who have become her greatest philanthropic passion and the motivation behind the Stevie Nicks Soldier's Angel Foundation. Delaine also channels the turbulence inside Fleetwood Mac, particularly in regard to Nicks and her boyfriend turned personal and professional nemesis, Lindsey Buckingham. British bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie, meanwhile, are voiced with a convincing accent. It's hard to imagine a better performance for this audiobook. A St. Martin's hardcover. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

An unauthorized biography of Stevie Nicks (b. 1948), best known as the lead singer for Fleetwood Mac.Rock biographer Davis (More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon, 2012, etc.) begins with his subject's Welsh ancestry, taking it as a window into the mystical element in many of her songs. Nicks was born in Phoenix but spent much of her youth in California. Music was in her family, with a grandfather who sang country songs in bars and took her along to sing harmony when she was still very young. In high school, she learned guitar and started writing folk songs. Meeting another young guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, put Nicks on the road to a musical career, though she spent several years waiting tables and hoping for breaks while they scuffled. When Mick Fleetwood came looking for a replacement lead guitarist, the engineer suggested Buckingham. He brought along Nicks, and with the new additions, Fleetwood Mac went from being reliable second-stringers to the hottest group on the planet. Davis gives readers a look into recording sessions and concert tours, playing up the personality clashes and shifting romantic entanglements that made up the mystique of Fleetwood Mac in its heyday. Given the "unauthorized" character of the book, Nicks' impressions and feelings are more or less secondhand, quoted from interviews by others or guessed at by band mates and friends. This is less a problem than it might be, since Nicks has been fairly open, at least since the early days when the band kept her under wraps. As usual, the author is good at keeping readerseven those not totally enthralled by Nicks' musicturning pages. Things get slower when Davis recounts her solo career, though there were frequent reunions and continued drama between her and her band mates, especially Buckinghamand, of course, the drug problems and other personal crises that come with being a rock star.An entertaining rock biography, even if you're a take-it-or-leave-it fan of the singer. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The world is overdue for a definitive Stevie Nicks biography. This isn't it. Despite Davis' pedigree as a music journalist and the author of Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga (1985), he hasn't given the singer her due. Instead, he has produced an incredibly readable yet ultimately breezy narrative one might find on an exceptionally thorough episode of Behind the Music, culled from repurposed interviews, many with Nicks' bandmate Mick Fleetwood, whose memoir Davis coauthored. A renowned addict who dallied with music-world celebrities when she wasn't recording songs with the notoriously dysfunctional Fleetwood Mac or any number of legendary songwriters and producers, Nicks' life lends itself to rock-doc conventions, but the reader wishes Davis had pushed himself to think about Nicks' place in the male-dominated sphere of 1970s arena rock, or at least talked to some of her associates outside the band. In lieu of original reporting, Davis harps on his central metaphor that Nicks is a druggy Welsh witch and fills too many pages with excruciatingly clichéd Celtic myth.--Williamson, Eugenia Copyright 2017 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

LOU REED HAD a mordant wit and a pragmatic understanding of his own legacy. When an interviewer in 1992 suggested that radio stations might play Reed's new song "Cremation" as a tribute after he died, the musician responded dryly - and accurately - "When 1 die, they'll play 'Walk on the Wild Side.' " "Walk on the Wild Side" was the 1972 hit that propelled the underground New York musical adventurer to global rock star status. Had Reed been merely a one-hit wonder, as his reply implied, that one hit still would have made him a worthy subject for a biography (if not for the five published so far). "Walk on the Wild Side" is the kind of fourminute composition that transforms culture. Its central figures, including the transgender actors Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn, are people Reed met during the years when his group the Velvet Underground was the house band at Andy Warhol's Factory. The song transplanted the gender pioneers of Manhattan's gay bars to America's car radios and assured them a place in pop history decades before "Transparent" and "Orange Is the New Black." With just that song - let alone "Sweet Jane" or "Street Hassle" or "Pale Blue Eyes" or "Legendary Hearts" or "Satellite of Love" or "Halloween Parade," or any of his dozens of other truly great compositions - Reed enacted his oft-stated belief that, as Anthony DeCurtis tells it, rock 'n' roll could be "as transporting and lyrical as any other art form, that it could speak directly to the heart with incandescent power." If the goal of a biography is to bring its subject back to life, LOU REED: A Life (Little, Brown, $32), DeCurtis'S sympathetic but never fawning book, succeeds. Reed (who died in 2013) was a notoriously difficult man, and he hated most journalists. But DeCurtis - a longtime Rolling Stone contributor and the co-writer of Clive Davis's autobiography - was one of a handful the university-trained poet trusted, as DeCurtis rather immodestly notes in his introduction. Lewis Allan Reed was born in Brooklyn in 1942 to an accountant and housewife, and, after the family moved 10 years later, he spent the second decade of his life in a secular Jewish household on suburban Long Island. As a teenager he endured electroshock therapy when his parents tried to break him out of what they saw as a dangerous psychological decline: not just depression, but depression complicated by feelings of sexual desire that were not acceptable in Eisenhower's America. Reed never got over the pain sanctioned by those meant to protect him. Although DeCurtis suggests that the songwriter may have exaggerated gay mannerisms as a sort of rebellious affectation, this book captures how deeply ingrained into Reed's psyche an understanding of sexual dysphoria, if not sexual dysphoria itself, was. More than a voyeur of Manhattan's sexual demimondes, this former student of the poet Delmore Schwartz lived the life of which he sang on such albums as "Transformer." For a few years his love and his muse was a male-to-female striver named Rachel. As DeCurtis writes, "It's impossible to conceive of another highly visible star of Reed's stature openly presenting a transsexual as his significant other at that time." Unfortunately, DeCurtis doesn't really explain how the relationship ended, or why Reed subsequently went straight, except to note that in Laurie Anderson, his last partner, the strong-minded musician met his match. Carefully researched and thoughtfully written, "Lou Reed: A Life" is the best Reed biography to date and probably its author's greatest achievement. For all that it faithfully chronicles its subject's disruption and transgression, though, it fails to puncture its own reasoned veneer - DeCurtis doesn't so much walk on the wild side as respectfully observe it from across the street. It seems like a lack of imagination on the part of the publishing industry that only white men are apparently exhuming Reed's complicated corpus. I, for one, would love to read a black woman writing about the man who sang about "the colored girls" singing. Or I would settle for Deborah Sprague. Sprague is a veteran music journalist I met back when she was a he: David Sprague, an editor at the seminal rock magazine Creem in the late 1980s. In a moving essay in woman walk the line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives (University of Texas, $24.95), an anthology edited by Holly Gleason, Sprague describes how Rosanne Cash helped the writer through her own transition from male to female. The singer-songwriter guided her by the example of her life: Cash had to overcome the expectations of springing from a storied musical family to establish her own identity; Sprague blasted past the expectations of growing up with a single mom in a "working-class, inner-city neighborhood." Rosanne's music expressed Deborah's own emotional journey: Of her album "The List," Sprague writes, "Less like gravestones than musical equivalents of the stations of the cross, these pieces served as places to stop and reflect, and to gain strength through that meditation." Finally, Cash touched Sprague - literally - during their professional interactions. Noticing they were wearing the same nail polish, the subject grabbed the interviewer's hand. At the time, Sprague was only out as a woman on weekends, and the workday maroon decor was a "slip-up" whose revelation caused her momentarily to freeze. But Cash's warmth and directness (she invited Sprague to sit next to her in the interview booth, which "allowed her to be more tactile than I expected") affected the writer deeply. "The thing that really stuck with me," Sprague writes, "was her attitude toward how she was perceived." It's a wonderful, vivid anecdote that captures how writers and musicians can communicate as peers rather than engaging in the kinds of power struggles that characterized Reed's relationships with journalists (particularly the critic Lester Bangs). The 27 essays in "Woman Walk the Line" chronicle this kind of connection. The writers, all women, are musicians (Grace Potter, Taylor Swift), novelists (Alice Randall, Caryn Rose) and, primarily, journalists (Elysa Gardner, Meredith Ochs). Subjects include Maybelle Carter, Dolly Parton, Lucinda Williams and Rhiannon Giddens. These are personal essays about influence and inspiration; accordingly, they can veer into self-indulgence. But at their best, they shine their light on the story and the storyteller equally. Cash lands on both sides of these essays: as muse for Sprague and as acolyte in her moving tribute to June Carter Cash, the country legend who married Rosanne's father, Johnny, and raised Rosanne as one of her own. As the piece explains, June "eliminated confusion by banning the words 'stepchild' and 'stepmother' from her vocabulary, and from ours." There is no more moving evidence of the way in which the daughter of the famous Carter Family was able to assert the primacy of nurture over nature than her daughter Rosanne's eulogy: "She did not give birth to me, but she helped me give birth to my future." A SICK LIFE: TLC 'n Me: Stories From On and Off the Stage (Rodaie, $26.99) begins with a transformation. Tionne Watkins describes how she becomes the performer ?-Boz: "I have a routine I do when I transform into ?-Boz. It's always the same. I look down, rock, pace the floor, and then get really quiet and tune everything out. When I look up, I'm T-Boz." ?-Boz is the T of TLC, the Atlanta trio that was one of the most popular groups of the 1990s. Many performers have a routine like hers, a ritual by which the private person becomes the public persona - Clark Kent turns into Superman. But for Watkins, the split between identities has been firmly and cruelly determined by biology. For her entire life, the singer and dancer has fought sickle-cell disease, a blood disorder that can be crippling and fatal, and in T-Boz's case has meant regular hospitalizations, surgeries, drugs and rest. Stress, fatigue, airplane travel, temperature changes - the daily stuff of being a pop star - are her kryptonite. "A Sick Life" is a chronicle of perseverance. For Watkins, turning into ?-Boz often means jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire - almost literally, at times. TLC, whose No. 1 hits include "Creep," "Waterfalls" and "Unpretty," had a career filled with dramatic incidents, like the time Lisa Lopes burned down the house of her boyfriend, the football star Andre Rison. "When I got the call that she'd been arrested, I wasn't that surprised," Watkins writes. "I'd gotten these kinds of calls before." When Lopes died in a car crash in Honduras, the band's career crashed too, though ?-Boz and Rozonda Thomas (or "Chilli") eventually began making music and performing again. Strangely, Watkins writes a bit about Lopes but hardly at all about Thomas. It's an oddly incomplete memoir. From tales of teenage crimes to her near-death from a brain tumor, "A Sick Life" can be harrowing; Watkins's life makes Reed's walk on the wild side look like a walk in the park. But as a kid trapped in hospital beds, she learned how to cope at an early age: "I didn't feel like I had to be defined by my illness." She managed not only to have a phenomenal career, inspiring millions of young women around the world; she also gave birth, against doctors' predictions. (Nursing, however, literally almost killed her.) "A Sick Life" peddles a lot of positivist clichés: "I believe everything in life happens for a reason" is the first line of the book. But in Watkins's case, the affirmations are well earned. TLC put Atlanta hip-hop on the map, paving the way for a slew of acts, including Gucci Mane. As with ?-Boz, that's a stage name - passed down from his father, as the rapper reveals in THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GUCCI MANE (Simon & Schuster, $27), written with Neil Martinez-Belkin. But Gucci has an interesting relationship to his "real" self. On his 2009 breakthrough album, he uses his birth name in the title: "The State vs. Radric Davis." As the title implies, that album references Davis's many scrapes with the law, including prison time for drug and weapons crimes, among other things. Most famously, he beat a 2005 murder charge. Thus, Radric Davis is a character in the tales spun by his alter ego Gucci Mane - as well as the person who has authentically lived Gucci's raps about drug deals and lavish lifestyles. Not that this book offers such philosophical self-reflection. Written, judging by its closing chapter, during his three-year stint in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., "The Autobiography of Gucci Mane" is styled as a story of jailhouse redemption; there's a reason its title mirrors "The Autobiography of Malcolm X." "Prison is time," he writes. "I tried to use the time to better myself." But Gucci's a better lyricist than prose stylist, and the knack for vivid details and dizzying turns of phrase that continues to mark him as one of hip-hop's most skilled storytellers (he just scored his biggest hit yet with "I Get the Bag") doesn't materialize in these pages. Nor do he and his cowriter create a propulsive narrative around all the individual stories of mishaps, trap and rap. Repeatedly, the book turns to court documents to explain some of the most controversial moments in his criminal career. Apparently, it's one thing to write rhymes about one's legal odyssey; it's another to write a book. Gucci's not alone. Surprisingly few artists are happy to see their lives truthfully encapsulated between two covers. That's why it's easier to write about someone who has died, like Reed, and why Jimmy McDonough and Stephen Davis are hamstrung in their respective unauthorized biographies of A1 Green and Stevie Nicks. McDonough begins SOUL SURVIVOR: A Biography of AI Green (Da Capo, $28) with an anecdote about how gaining access to the notoriously elusive singer didn't help Davin Seay, the co-writer of Green's autobiography. It may be a telling incident, but narratively it provides a bit of a metatextual stumble. I don't want to read about writing about Green; I want to read about Green. McDonough, who has also written biographies of Neil Young and Russ Meyer, cuts to the chase eventually, though Green remains the hole around which he writes, forcing him to draw on interviews with band members and lovers. Ultimately, the author goes to the reverend's sermons (or sends an assistant) to hear the man talk. The conventional line about Green is that he too went through a transformation, from a secular performer to a man of God. McDonough doesn't quite buy that: "I believe Al's life is far more ambiguous, chaotic and unsettled than the clichéd happy ending usually reported." He also warns that you might not like the protagonist of "Soul Survivor," the man who has been accused of spousal abuse and, McDonough implies, perhaps worse: "There will be those who find the portrait that emerges in these pages somewhat bewildering, even disturbing." Love and happiness indeed. Davis didn't have access to Nicks either; she too is a sometimes mysterious subject around whom, er, rumors (sorry!) tend to fly. But Davis, the author of the infamous Led Zeppelin biography "Hammer of the Gods," doesn't let that stop him from painting a mostly flattering portrait in GOLD DUST WOMAN: The Biography of Stevie Nicks (St. Martin's, $27.99). Nicks, who came to fame as one of the singers of Fleetwood Mac in the 1970s, is an iconic and still active figure whose fan base and influence (on artists from Courtney Love to Taylor Swift) continue to grow. As Davis waggishly writes in the opening scene, describing the 1975 taping of a TV show: "One day in the next century there will be websites devoted to her collection of shawls." If the man whose Led Zeppelin book memorably recounted an incident involving a fish and a groupie would seem an unlikely biographer for one of rock 'n' roll's greatest heroines, fear not: Davis is astute and respectful, almost as adept in his literary analysis as the Ph.D.-wielding University of Pennsylvania lecturer DeCurtis. He calls Nicks "a poet of sometimes exquisite technical skill in terms of cadence and scansion." He is also very receptive to her mystical inclinations (as one might expect from a Zeppelin biographer): "Her vision of the Welsh goddess was numinous - something that could be felt and experienced but not actually seen," he writes, explaining the namesake of Nicks's song "Rhiannon." If in some ways DeCurtis's book offers a portrait of New York, "Gold Dust Woman" is very much a California story. There's Bob Welch, cocaine, Sound City, cocaine, Tom Petty, pot, the Pacific Palisades, cocaine. (Reed's bio might be synopsized as Andy Warhol, heroin, the Factory, heroin, Rachel, amphetamines, Greenwich Village, heroin.) Like "Lou Reed," "Gold Dust Woman" is researched down to the last vocal overdub, sometimes to mind-numbing effect. Davis is ultimately a fan, and the forest fades for the trees. EVELYN MCDONNELL, a longtime music critic, is the author of "Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways."

Library Journal Review

The latest unauthorized biography about legendary Fleetwood Mac member and solo artist Stevie Nicks (b. 1948) is what you'd expect-a dishy retelling of her much-reported sex, drugs, and rock and roll-filled life-but with a lot of foofy words and sexist descriptions of the singer-songwriter, including an emphasis on her age, looks, and weight. This book has been in the works for several years (St. Martin's reportedly purchased the rights in 2012), and author Davis (Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga) has cobbled most of the content from previously published interviews, magazine articles, track-by-track liner notes from Nicks's various albums, and books by insiders such as bandmate (and former lover) Mick Fleetwood. Interestingly, -Davis first entered Fleetwood Mac's universe when he began helping the musician pen his memoirs in 1987; his recollection of this experience is the freshest part of this book. VERDICT This title may attract curious new or casual fans looking to learn about Nicks's life, but die-hard admirers of the performer will find little new in its pages. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/17.]-Samantha Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.