‘My voice will haunt you’: The story behind Fleetwood Mac’s blistering 1997 ‘Silver Springs’ performance
Footage of the 1997 Fleetwood Mac reunion concert The Dance is doing the rounds on social media, as fans delve into the fictional band drama that plays out in Amazon Prime Video’s Daisy Jones & the Six.
The new series, starring Sam Claflin and Riley Keough, has received mixed reviews from critics due to the quality of the original songs, and the overly slick look of the show and its characters.
It is based on the novel of the same name by US author Taylor Jenkins Reid, who has said she was partly inspired to write the book after watching performances of Fleetwood Mac on TV.
The cast have also spoken about how they watched clips of the band themselves, with Claflin citing one moment in particular as a major influence.
The performance in question took place at Fleetwood Mac’s reunion concert at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank, California in May 1997, and showed the band playing “Silver Springs”, the B-Side to their Rumours single “Go Your Own Way”.
Stevie Nicks wrote “Silver Springs” about the end of her romantic relationship with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham. She originally intended it to appear on Rumours but the track was removed by Mick Fleetwood in favour of her other song, “I Don’t Want to Know”.
Nicks has said she was devastated by the decision, telling the BBC in 1991: “I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horrible mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being, and walked back in the studio completely flipped out. I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna sing “I Don’t Want to Know”. I am one-fifth of this band.’
“And they said. ‘Well, if vou don’t like it, you can either (a) take a hike or (b) you better go out there and sing “I Don’t Want to Know” or you’re only gonna have two songs on the record.’ And so, basically, with a gun to my head, I went out and sang ‘I Don’t Want to Know’. And they put ‘Silver Springs’ on the back of ‘Go Your Own Way’.”
In an MTV interview the year of the reunion, she explained she wanted the song to let Buckingham know: “I’m so angry with you. You will listen to me on the radio for the rest of your life, and it will bug you. I hope it bugs you.”
“I wrote Silver Springs uh, about Lindsey. And we were in Maryland somewhere driving under a freeway sign that said Silver Spring, Maryland,” she recalled to Classic Albums a year later. “And I loved the name... Silver Springs sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me. And uh, ‘You could be my silver springs...’ that’s just a whole symbolic thing of what you could have been to me.”
She later revealed that the visible emotion and tension in the performance only appeared that night, and hadn’t been present during rehearsals.
“In six weeks of rehearsal, it [performing ‘Silver Springs’ for the MTV special] was never like that…” she told Arizona Republic. “Only on Friday night did we let it go into something deeper. When we went on Friday, I knew we’d bring it out in case it was the last thing we’d ever do. I wanted people to stand back and really watch and understand what [the relationship with Lindsey] was.”
In an interview with the Miami Herald that same year, she also explained that performing the song live offered a form of closure for her and Buckingham: “Well, since that performance I have to sing ‘Silver Springs’ to him almost every day, so Lindsey and I get to do and say things that we wouldn’t get to say to each other in real life.
“It’s like a release,” she explained. “Even now, we don’t talk much, so when those songs come around and are directly involved with our relationship it’s very therapeutic to work that stuff out. This way we get to have closure.”
Performing “Silver Springs” was a particularly special moment, she told MTV, due to it being “kicked off” Rumours 20 years ago.
“I was so genuinely devastated... because I loved the song and it was one of the Rumours songs,” she said. “So I never thought that ‘Silver Springs’ would ever be performed on stage, would ever be heard of again so it, like, and my beautiful song just disappeared. So for it to come back around like this has really been, really special to me.”
Jenkins Reid told The Guardian in 2019 that the “Silver Springs” performance was a major inspiration for the book and inspired one of the original songs, “Regret Me”.
“That concept of a woman’s right to be angry is absolutely based on Stevie Nicks singing ‘Silver Springs’ at Lindsey Buckingham during their reunion [album and] show, The Dance [in 1997],” she said.
“I have always been very moved by Stevie Nicks singing that song the way she did then.”
Claflin, who plays band frontman Billy Dunne in the series, told Elle magazine that a friend also sent him the performance ahead of his audition for the role: “He was like, ‘Just channel this mate.’”
After being successfully cast, Claflin then sent the clip to his co-star, Keough, who plays Daisy Jones.
“She’s like, ‘Whoa, this is Billy and Daisy,’” he says. “So I think we kind of, in a sense, wanted to channel that through the process.”
“It’s so electric, the chemistry between Lindsey Buckinham and Stevie Nicks, knowing what Fleetwood Mac had been through in that moment and knowing the history behind it and the history behind them as a couple, their relationship, it just carries so much more weight,” he said in a separate interview with MTV.
The duo attempted to challenge the palpable chemistry between Nicks and Buckinham during the show when their characters perform “Regret Me”.
“They’re on stage and she basically just turns away from the audience and just stares at him and just sings. And he’s like, ‘Oh God.’ And he’s sort of reluctantly staring back at her,” Claflin said.
“And I think that that was the energy that we wanted to basically bring to that song every time they perform it. I think there’s a reluctance that [Billy’s] having to sing it.”