They’re Playing My Song: Landslide

Section: Songwriters & Publishers

Written by Stevie Nicks
Published by Welsh Witch
Music: Sony/ATV Music (BMI)

Among the many treasures in Fleetwood Mac’s repertoire, the beautiful ballad “Landslide” is one of the most memorable. Penned by Stevie Nicks, the tune was first recorded on the band’s self-titled 1975 album and was released in 1980. However, the song didn’t chart as a single until it was culled from the Mac’s most recent album, “The Dance.” It climbed to No. 10 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart in April 1998 and peaked at No. 51 on The Billboard Hot 100 in August last year:

Most recently the song received a gorgeous, harmony-laden treatment from California-based folk/pop foursome Venice on its new albums, “Spin Art.” The Vanguard Records act consists of brothers Mark and Michael Lennon and their cousins Pat and Kipp Lennon (brother of “The Lawrence Welk Show’s” singing Lennon Sisters). “Landslide” is the only cover tune on the 13-track album.

“Growing up as a family, we always listened to the Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the Eagles. Then Fleetwood Mac came along the blew us away,” says Mark Lennon. “When we formed a band 20 years ago, we started doing cover tunes, playing all the clubs in Hollywood. They’d tell me, ‘You’re 14. You come out to sing’ … Then we started writing our own original stuff and doing acoustic shows in 1988 or ’89.

“We started doing a few covers in our acoustic shows and decided to do ‘Landslide.’ We did it in the same key as Stevie Nicks. We just added our own harmonies on the chorus, and people were going crazy.

“We did it for so many years that everybody started saying, ‘You guys should record that. Finally, on this album we were talking about doing a cover time tune. We do the Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’ in our live show for our blended together; but everyone kept saying, ‘You need to do “Landslide.”‘ So finally after all these years, we said, ‘Let’s record it, and if it makes the 12 or 13 of the final cut, it’s there.’

So that’s what we did. It made the cut on the album, and now we’re getting this great feedback from it.”

Lennon says Nicks’ gift as a lyricist makes the song an enduring classic. “Stevie Nicks writes in such an incredible way. Her lyrics are so different. Ten different people could tell you what that song means, and it would all be different meanings … The Lyrics mean something else to everybody. That’s how mystical she is. She can really pull you in. You can make her songs what you want them to be about. Overall, that song is undeniably a beautiful hit.”

Deborah Evans Price / Billboard / September 18, 1999

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