Stevie Nicks untangles the history of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Silver Springs’: ‘An incredible seven minutes’

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Most fans are familiar with “Silver Springs” as Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 comeback single after Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham returned for the live album The Dance, released on August 19, 1997. But it boasts a complicated backstory.

Stevie Nicks had originally written the song years before, and hoped to have it included on Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 blockbuster studio effort Rumours. The physical limitations of the old vinyl LP format ended up getting in the way, however.

Nicks would learn the news in a fashion that still sticks with her.

“I wrote ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ about Lindsey and I,” Stevie Nicks once told Classic Rock Society, “and I didn’t want ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ on the record. I wanted ‘Silver Springs’ on the record. Lindsey wanted ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ on the record, and recorded it — without telling me. I went in, and it was recorded, and ‘Silver Springs’ was off. It went off, because it was too long. The version that everybody heard was, like, four minutes and something seconds, but it was really seven minutes. And it was an incredible seven minutes.”

An edited studio version was ultimately relegated to the b-side of “Go Your Own Way.” When Fleetwood Mac returned to the song some 20 years later, Stevie Nicks’ belief in its was justified. They earned a Grammy for best pop performance for the ’97 live version.

“It was too long; ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ was a lot shorter,” Nicks adds. “But the choice to take ‘Silver Springs’ off and put ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ on will go down as the biggest question in history, as to whether that was the right thing to do or not.”

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