The Clothing Store And The Tragedy That Inspired “Gypsy” By Fleetwood Mac

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The world’s most unrestrained rock and roll ladies would travel to Velvet Underground to outfit themselves in their iconic clothing. The renowned Grace Slick and famous Janis Joplin frequented the gypsy-styled store in downtown San Francisco. With scarves, velvet, lace, feathers, and jewel-toned everything, the women established the tone for a whole period of fashion.

In the 1982 song “Gypsy,” Stevie makes a reference to the store by singing, “So I’m back, to the velvet underworld. I adore the floor, so back to it. to a space decorated with paper flowers and lace. Back to the nomad I was before. Nicks makes reference to her rustic residence with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham in this song. Their tiny SF apartment’s floor was virtually covered with their mattress.

In 2009 during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she revealed, “Okay: In the old days, before Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey and I had no money, so we had a king-size mattress, but we just had it on the floor. I had old vintage coverlets on it, and even though we had no money it was still really pretty… Just that and a lamp on the floor, and that was it—there was a certain calmness about it. To this day, when I’m feeling cluttered, I will take my mattress off of my beautiful bed, wherever that may be, and put it outside my bedroom, with a table and a little lamp.” 

However, that was not the end of the story. According to Songfacts, “Stevie Nicks wrote this song and planned to include it on her 1980 solo album Bella Donna. She didn’t have room for it on the album, so she held it over for Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage album. By this time, her friend Robin Anderson was dying of leukemia and the song became a tribute to her.”

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