This is about a father-daughter relationship. Stevie wrote it on the guitar in about five minutes in Aspen, Colorado. She was surrounded by mountains and thinking, "Wow, all this snow could just come tumbling down around me and there is nothing I can do about it." When she feels like this she just goes to a room and writes her thoughts down so she can read it and ponder what she has written.
Nicks said of this song: "My Dad did have something to do with it, but he absolutely thinks that he was the whole complete reason it was ever written. I guess it was about September 1974, I was home at my Dad and Mom's house in Phoenix, and my father said, 'You know, you really put a lot of time into this [her singing career], maybe you should give this six more months, and if you want to go back to school, we'll pay for it. Basically you can do whatever you want and we'll pay for it - I have wonderful parents, and I went, 'cool, I can do that.' Lindsey and I went up to Aspen, and we went to somebody's incredible house, and they had a piano, and I had my guitar with me, and I went into their living room, looking out over the incredible Aspen skyway, and I wrote 'Landslide.' Three months later, Mick Fleetwood called. On New Year's Eve, 1974, called and asked us to join Fleetwood Mac. So it was three months, I still had three more months to go to beat my six month goal that my dad gave me."
Nicks wrote this the night before her dad, who was the president of Greyhound Bus Lines, was operated on at the Mayo Clinic.
Lindsey and Stevie were recording as a duo using the name Buckingham-Nicks before they were asked to join Fleetwood Mac. They had already released an album and were planning to include this on their next one. When Stevie wrote this and "Rhiannon
," Lindsey was on the road with the Everly Brothers.
Reflecting on this song in 2014, Nicks told the New York Times: "I wrote 'Landslide' in 1973, when I was 27, and I did already feel old in a lot of ways. I'd been working as a waitress and a cleaning lady for years. I was tired."
Drummer and founding member Mick Fleetwood was sure this album would be a hit, but was worried that Warner Brothers Records wouldn't promote it properly. He went to the head of the label and insisted that they either give it a big push or let another record company have it. Warner Brothers promoted it heavily and the album went to #1 in the US.
The song has changed meaning as the band has aged, but it remained a part of their setlist throughout their career. "When Stevie wrote that, she was probably 25 or 24," Lindey Buckingham told Rolling Stone in 2013. "She wasn't exactly 'getting older.' Now, that line certainly resonates with a far deeper perspective."
This is one of Fleetwood Mac's most enduring songs, but it was merely an album cut, as Fleetwood Mac's label Reprise didn't issue it as a single (The first UK single from the album was "Warm Ways," the first in America was "Over My Head"). The song garnered consistent airplay across a range of formats, however, and became a staple of their setlists.
In 1998, a live version from the album The Dance was issued in America, marking the first time Fleetwood Mac released the song as a single. This version made #51.
The song picked up steam in the '90s with a number of notable cover versions in that decade and stretching into the '00s. These include versions by:
Smashing Pumpkins, who recorded it for their 1994 album Pisces Iscariot and included it in their 2001 Greatest Hits album. This was the first rendition of the song to chart, reaching #30 US.
Tori Amos, who recorded it on January 31, 1996 and included it on her In The Springtime Of Her Voodoo album. She often performed the song at her concerts.
Venice, a Southern California band and a favorite of Stevie Nicks, included it on their 1999 album Spin Art.
Former New Kid On The Block Joey McIntyre, who recorded it for his 2002 album One Too Many: Live From New York.
The Dixie Chicks took the song in a new direction by adding a mandolin to the mix on their 2002 album Home. They had a huge hit with the song, taking it to #7 US. As a token of appreciation from the Chicks to Nicks, they gave her a bowl decorated with the lyrics to the song.
The Dixie Chicks performed their version at the Grammy awards in 2003. They won three awards that year, including Best Country Album.
The Glee Cast recorded this song with Gwyneth Paltrow. The tune featured in the "Sexy" episode of the Fox TV series on March 8, 2011, in which Naya Rivera's character Santana Lopez chose "Landslide" to express her true feelings for Heather Morris' Brittany Pierce. The following week it debuted at #23 on the US chart.
When Fleetwood Mac regrouped for The Dance tour in 1997, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham performed the song alone on stage, often getting teary-eyed toward the end. These emotional performances were repeated on subsequent tours, as fans were always eager to see the ex-lovers share a poignant moment, which could range in intensity to anodyne hand-holding to passionate soul-gazing. Nicks insists those are real emotions on display. She told Rolling Stone: "You can go onstage and have a bit of a love affair, and when you go back to your separate dressing rooms, it's over. But while you're on the stage, it's real."
This song was used in a very memorable Budweiser commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl in 2013. The spot showed one of their famous Clydesdale's being raised from birth and then leaving home to join the Budweiser team. When his former owner travels to Chicago to see him, the horse breaks away for a reunion. The commercial looked like it was going to take a comic twist, but was actually quite sentimental and somehow worked.