In Maps to the Stars, Curbed LA maps the lives of the most notable figures in Los Angeles history through the places that were important to them.
Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were residents of a slightly older and by then very different Los Angeles than writer Nathanael West (subject of our last map), but they've been no less important to the formation of the city's identity. Like West, they were transplants, moving down from the Bay Area together in the early 1970s. Their story is also at least as romantic as his—the two were lovers and musicians, and they came to Los Angeles to make it big.
Buckingham and Nicks hung around the edges of the Laurel Canyon music scene, shacking up with Keith Olsen, their producer, down the hill and close to Fairfax High. Nicks worked odd jobs cleaning house and waiting tables, Buckingham didn't do much at all, and after scraping together enough material, the duo recorded their debut album, Buckingham Nicks.
Released on Polydor in 1973, the album fell on deaf ears, but it made an impression on Mick Fleetwood, who hung around the same studio that Buckingham and Nicks recorded in. Fleetwood was in need of a new guitarist for his band, and Lindsey's expert playing on "Frozen Love" immediately caught his ear. Olsen put the two in touch, and when Mick asked Lindsey to join Fleetwood Mac, he agreed, as long as Nicks was part of the deal too.
Its classic lineup established, Fleetwood Mac went on to write rock history. Their self-titled 1975 album was a massive success, becoming the first to chart on top the Billboard 200. Its follow-up, 1977's Rumours, launched the group into the stratosphere, winning the Grammy for Album of the Year and ultimately selling more than 40 million copies. Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way" and Nicks's "Dreams" are generational touchstones. (So is "Don't Stop," thanks at least in part to Bill Clinton.)
1979's Tusk, the group's artistic high/commercial low, was the start of the comedown. Nicks and Buckingham, long since personally broken up, each released solo records in 1981 (the perfectly acceptable Bella Donna and oddball classic Law & Order, respectively), and Fleetwood Mac released Mirage, a still-great Rumours retread, in 1982. Buckingham left the band following Tango In The Night, the band's synthtastic 1987 release.
Lindsey and Stevie's story—talented small-town nobodies make it to the top—is one of LA's defining myths. Since the birth of Hollywood, dreamers have hopped on buses and come to the city where the sun just will not stop shining. They're still coming today, and they'll continue coming tomorrow, and it's stories like Lindsey and Stevie's that draw them. Below, a guide to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks's Los Angeles. —Ian Grant
· Mapping the Essential Sites of Nathanael West's Los Angeles [Curbed LA]