How Stevie Nicks created her most personal exploration, ‘Sara’

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Stevie Nicks and her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham assisted in taking Fleetwood Mac to new pop-rock heights after they joined the group in 1975. Nicks’ efforts to Fleetwood Mac helped them become one of the most popular bands of all time as the vocalist behind singles like “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” and “Landslide,” to mention just a few.

However, despite their popularity, the band’s internal dynamics were highly turbulent, with several members having extramarital affairs. Nicks started seeing Don Henley of the Eagles after her breakup with Buckingham, however, their busy touring schedules prevented them from spending much time together. Nicks began sleeping with her bandmate Mick Fleetwood because she was lonely, later confessing to Oprah Winfrey that “it was a doomed thing [that] caused pain for everybody”

One of Nicks’ best and most intimate compositions, “Sara,” from Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album Tusk, was the consequence of this intricate set-up.

Jenny Boyd, Pattie Boyd’s sister, who had just cheated on Fleetwood with his bandmate Bob Weston, was his wife at the time. So it was easy for Fleetwood to fall for Nicks during a difficult time in his relationship. In his autobiography, Play On, he reflected on this time and wrote: “Eventually I fell in love with [Nicks] and it was chaotic, it was on the road, and it was a crazy love affair that went on longer than any of us really remember — probably several years by the end of it.”

Even though Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks were having an extramarital affair, she was shocked to learn that he had been dating Sara Recor. Despite Nicks’ initial anger, Fleetwood and Recor eventually were married in 1988 and became close friends with her.

She disclosed the following in an interview with The Tommy Vance Show: “I remember the night I wrote it. I sat up with a very good friend of mine whose name is Sara, who was married to Mick Fleetwood. She likes to think it’s completely about her, but it’s really not completely about her. It’s about me, about her, about Mick, about Fleetwood Mac. It’s about all of us at that point.”

Nicks added, “There’s little bits about each one of us in that song and when it had all the other verses, it really covered a vast bunch of people. ‘Sara’ was the kind of song you could fall in love with because I fell in love with it.”

However, the song was long believed to be about Henley, who even discussed “Sara” with GQ in 1991. He stated, “I believe to the best of my knowledge [Nicks] became pregnant by me. And she named the kid Sara, and she had an abortion and then wrote the song of the same name to the spirit of the aborted baby. I was building my house at the time, and there’s a line in the song that says, ‘And when you build your house, call me.'”

Nicks was upset to learn that Henley had spoken so freely about such personal matters with the public, even if she later admitted that some of his statements were partially accurate in an interview with Billboard in 2014. She uttered: “Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara. But there was another woman in my life named Sara, who shortly after that became Mick’s wife, Sara Fleetwood.”

Nicks’ assertion that the song “covered a vast bunch of people” is supported by lyrics like “heartbeat that never really died (Sara)” that unmistakably relate to a miscarriage. She did, however, claim to MTV that “Sara” is “pretty much about Mick”. Following several years of cocaine addiction, Nicks entered treatment a few years after the song’s debut, under the alias Sara. The musician’s extremely emotional connection to the song is evident since she decided to use the moniker again in 1987’s “Welcome to the Room…Sara.”

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