Who is the Gold Dust Woman?

Who is the Gold Dust Woman?

Gold Dust Woman is a well-known song in our popular culture, even appearing in the movie Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock. 

However, we have many questions about the hit’s origin and meaning. It’s a haunting and beautiful song, but with quite a few interpretations. 

We dug around the Internet to learn more about the song and discovered that even the songwriter has more than one explanation of who the Gold Dust Woman really is. 

Let’s find out what they are!

Who Originally Wrote Gold Dust Woman?

Stevie Nicks was born on May 26, 1948, in Phoenix, Arizona. She was musical early in her childhood and fully supported by her family. The singer was very close to her mother and grandfather. Her mother loved to tell fairy tales, which likely influenced her writing style. 

Her grandfather shared his love of music through singing and guitar. He had wanted to be a country-western singer but was never a commercial success. Stevie was a songwriter from an early age, and her family gave her a beautiful Goya guitar on her sixteenth birthday.

Stevie attended high school in Arcadia, California. There, she joined her first band, a folk-rock group called The Changing Times. Her family moved again before graduation, and she attended her senior year in Atherton, California. 

Becoming Fleetwood Mac

She met Lindsey Buckingham, one of the other members of Fleetwood Mac, in Atherton. It was love at first sight for Stevie. She saw him singing in a youth club and joined him in harmony. They quickly became a couple, and Buckingham asked her to join his band, Fritz, when they were both in college.

Fritz was a moderate success at first. They opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin from 1968 to 1970. Stevie and Buckingham dropped out of college to pursue their musical dreams. 

In 1972 Fritz disbanded, and Buckingham became quite ill. Nicks had to work multiple jobs to support them. Although, she still wrote music in hopes of a studio contract for them. This was when she began using cocaine recreationally.

In 1974, Buckingham landed a gig playing studio music with Mick Fleetwood. This was their entry into Fleetwood Mac. Their first self-titled album was a huge hit. They were on their way to becoming one of the best-selling bands of all time! 

Sadly, the romantic relationship between Stevie and Buckingham began to collapse. The breakup caused problems between them and the band. Nicks wrote Gold Dust Woman during the demise of their love and the skyrocketing success of the band.

So, Who is the Gold Dust Woman?

Fleetwood Mac’s first album was a huge success, and Stevie’s song Rhiannon appears on Billboard’s top 500 songs of all time. During this period, she cultivated a bohemian appearance and demeanor. 

Her live singing style was intense and emotional, and her outfits reflected her inner self. She wore a uniform of long flowing hair and dresses, platform boots, and gossamer scarves draped around her shoulders and waist. 

She and Buckingham broke up during this period, although they still worked together in the band. At this time, Nicks wrote Gold Dust Woman and sang it on their second album, Rumours.

Wake up in the morning
See your sunrise, loves to go down
Lousy lovers pick their prey
But they never cry out loud, cry out

Multiple Interpretations

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1976, she said about the song, “It’s about groupie type ladies.” It was typical for groupies that flocked around the band to give her and Christine McVie dirty looks or ignore them. As soon as the men came into the room, they would turn friendly and flirty.

Rock on, Gold Dust Woman
Take your silver spoon, dig your grave
Heartless challenge
Pick your path and I'll pray

Later on, in an interview with VH1’s, The Making of Rumours 1997, she said that the song was partly about cocaine. The silver spoon references a cocaine spoon and how her drug use was spiraling out of control – digging her grave. 

She said, “I don’t think I had ever been so tired in my whole life…….I think it was shocking me – the whole rock ’n roll life, it was so heavy and was so much work and was so everyday intense you know……so Gold Dust Woman was really my kind of symbolic look at somebody going through a bad relationship, and doing a lot of drugs, and trying to make it- trying to live – you know trying to get through it to the next thing.”

In another interview, she said that the song was about being scared and angry. Stevie certainly wrote her emotions and experiences into her music, especially Gold Dust Woman. 

Maybe this is why it resonates with so many people. Gold Dust Woman is not one woman or one meaning. Instead, she’s a compilation of emotions, experiences, and pieces of Stevie Nicks at that time in her life.

There have been several cover versions of Gold Dust Woman. The most famous are by Hole, Waylon Jennings, Sister Hazel, and Sheryl Crow. 

Stevie enjoyed the cover by Courtney Love of Hole, saying, “I thought it was great. She’s a little raucous for me, but she’s so very true to my song.” She recognized that Love had a different style but kept the original emotion and intention of the music.

Where is Stevie Nicks Now?

Stevie Nicks says that she will never retire. “When you retire, you get small.” She’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice and still tours solo and with Fleetwood Mac. 

She has done a couple of cameos on American Horror Story and tours with the USO. She also has many interests and projects she works on outside of music. Her next concert will be at the New Orleans JazzFest, on May 7, 2022.

Does Stevie Nicks Have a Memoir?

Will Stevie Nicks write her autobiography? The singer stated she’s not ready yet, but hasn’t ruled it out. She says she’ll write her memoir one day when everyone in her life “just doesn’t care anymore.” 

Nicks doesn’t want to offend anyone or perhaps offer up secrets that aren’t hers to tell. She’s maintained a journal since she joined Fleetwood Mac and kept them all.

Gold Dust Woman Invites Interpretation

From her comments, it seems Stevie Nicks wrote Gold Dust Woman while thinking about several things. We wonder if she’ll reveal more in a possible future autobiography. 

What do you think? If Stevie Nicks wrote her memoir, would you read it?

One response to “Who is the Gold Dust Woman?”

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