"When they suggested they shoot Lindsey and I nude I could not have been more terrified if you’d asked me to jump off a speeding train": Stevie Nicks on her regrets over topless Buckingham Nicks album cover shoot

Stevie Nicks | Buckingham Nicks sleeve
(Image credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images | Polydor)

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham first met as teenagers at a party in San Francisco in 1966. They first sang together - duetting on a cover of The Mamas & The Papas California Dreamin' - that same night, initiating a musical partnership that would endure, not without considerable tensions at times, for decades, first in hard rock band Fritz, then as Buckingham Nicks, and on to Fleetwood Mac.

The duo might not have wound up together in Fleetwood Mac, however, had Polydor, who released their self-titled Buckingham Nicks album in 1973, not unceremoniously dropped the pair after the record sold poorly. This after railroading Nicks, then 25, into appearing topless alongside Buckingham on the album's cover.

Interviewed by MOJO magazine 40 years after the fact, Nicks still had regrets over being talked into the photoshoot.

"I’m actually quite prudish," she told writer James McNair. "So when they suggested they shoot Lindsey and I nude I could not have been more terrified if you’d asked me to jump off a speeding train. Lindsey was like, 'Oh, come on – this is art. Don’t be a child!' I thought, Who are you? Don’t you know me?

"I went out and spent my last $100 on a beautiful, hand-painted chiffony blouse that wrapped around and tied, and Jimmy Wachtel, my long-term guitarist Waddy’s brother, took a bunch of photos of us with me wearing it. But then it was, 'OK – now without the blouse.' I couldn’t breathe. But I did it because I felt like a rat in a trap."

Nicks revealed that her parents were not entirely impressed when she showed them the album cover, but that her father's respone did teach her a life lesson.

"I’d taken it home to show them, because I didn’t want them taken by surprise," she said. "But then I got sidetracked by an ovarian cyst operation, and I kept the picture under my bed for five weeks while I was back home recovering. When the record came out and I saw my father it was, 'Why didn’t you just say no, Stevie?' I said, Daddy, I don’t know. I didn’t feel like I had a choice – I’m so sorry. He said, 'OK – move on. But you always have a choice.' I learned a big lesson that day."

Despite Nicks and Buckingham's subsequent successes, the Buckingham Nicks album has yet to be commercially remastered or released digitally.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.