Gold Dust Woman

Album: Rumours (1977)
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  • Stevie Nicks wrote this song and sang lead. While Nicks has never been clear on the meaning, you can make a good case that it is about cocaine, which the band was consuming in quantity during the Rumours sessions. The lyrics, "Take your silver spoon, dig your grave," can be seen as a reference to a spoon holding the drug.

    Nicks' relationship with Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham may also have influenced the song, as they had broken up and were going through some very difficult times, using songs as a medium for expressing their feelings to each other.
  • In Mick Fleetwood's book My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, he explains that it took Nicks eight takes to get the vocal right, and they were recorded early in the morning. Fleetwood described Nicks as "hunched over in a chair, alternately choosing from her supply of tissues, a Vicks inhaler, a box of lozenges for her sore throat and a bottle of mineral water."
  • Cris Morris, who was a recording assistant on the sessions, explained in Q magazine: "Recording 'Gold Dust Woman' was one of the great moments because Stevie was very passionate about getting that vocal right. It seemed like it was directed straight at Lindsey and she was letting it all out. She worked right through the night on it, and finally did it after loads of takes. The wailing, the animal sounds and the breaking glass were all added later. Five or six months into it, once John had got his parts down, Lindsey spent weeks in the studio adding guitar parts, and that's what really gave the album its texture."
  • Among the artists who have recorded this song: Waylon Jennings, Hole, Sheryl Crow and Sister Hazel.
  • Lindsay Buckingham played a dobro on this track. The dobro is an acoustic guitar with a single resonator with its concave surface uppermost. The inventor of the resonator guitar, John Dopyera, together with his brothers Rudy, Emile, Robert, and Louis, developed the dobro in 1928. They named it as a contraction of Dopyera Brothers' coupled with the meaning of "goodness" in their native Slovak language. Gibson acquired exclusive use of the dobro trademark in 1993 and the guitar corporation currently produces several round sound hole models under the dobro name. One of these ornate guitars is featured on the cover of Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms.

    For insight on Buckingham's performance, we spoke with Jerry Douglas, an esteemed dobro player with 14 Grammy Awards to his credit. Said Douglas: "He's an electric guitar player so I noticed that technique right away. He's using it for more of a texture. He's not going to be a bluegrass dobro player and he's not trying to be. He's a great guitar player and I think he chose to use the dobro in that situation for a texture more than for a guitar part. It went deeper than that for him. He needed to set that song apart from the rest of the songs and one of the ways to do it and one of the ways to actually get to the subject matter quicker, change it from the rest of the songs, was to use a different kind of guitar, and the dobro was perfect for that."
  • On Fleetwood Mac's 2014-2015 tour, they did an extended version of this song that often stretched past 10 minutes, with Stevie Nicks losing herself in the music during the long instrumental break. She would often feel the effects the next day, as the dancing took a toll on her back. Speaking with Rolling Stone, she explained: "It's the drug addict in 'Gold Dust Woman' who is breaking her back. She's out there looking for drugs, and I'm trying to create that situation onstage so people get what it's about, which was a very heavy, bad time in my life."
  • This was used in the 1996 movie The Crow: City of Angels and also in the 2018 episode of The Americans, "Dead Hand."
  • Stevie Nicks performed this song with Foo Fighters from time to time, including at a show on September 21, 2015 at the Forum in Los Angeles with Haim singing backup. After Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters died on March 25, 2022, Nicks Tweeted a photo of them together and wrote: "He always came to my shows. He and his best friend Dave [Grohl] even let me be a Foo Fighter for a little while. We recorded a kick-ass version of 'Gold Dust Woman' (live) and at the end of the song I yelled out 'Best Gold Dust Woman ever' - and I meant it."

Comments: 17

  • Melinda from AustraliaWhat I love about this song is that although we now know it’s about Cocaine addiction.
    It describes as well without meaning to, the craziness when relationships break down, when there’s infidelity and the dark mood associated with it. The hate, the possessive aspect of love.
    Stevie Nick’s genius touch is the witchy imagery. ‘Ancient Queen’ and all that.
    She was always famous for how she dressed, felt hats, gold chains, lace, hippy embroidered shawls, silky fine fabrics, flowing skirts, velvet, with thigh high boots. She was an icon of 1970’s hippie chick fashion. Plus she was the original Gypsetter. Jetting around the world. In the Passenger jet Fleetwood Mac owned.
    The fact that she kept on with it into the early 1980’s ...with that look, made us think it was old fashioned then. And why isn’t she changing?
    But she suddenly re-booted her look slightly with big 80’s hair and made it more updated ..a gypsy in real expensive flowing clothes..glam for the album cover of Belladonna, her successful 1980’s solo album.
    The die hard romantic girls who read books like V.C Andrews: Flowers in the Attic. And soppy Danielle Steel Romance Novels. And wore white court shoes, loved it.

    Lovers of 80’s New Wave music hated it.
    And felt like it was everything feminism was tryin to change.
    Lookin back I dismissed Stevie Nick’s Belladonna album.(and her look)
    As I didn’t realise that some people should never change their unique style to suit anyone. Or any new movement. Now I love Stevie Nick’s style. And appreciate it.
  • Anton from EarthContains what this one believes to be one of the most evocative descriptive lyrics of a failed relationship, "Did she make you cry? Make you break down? Shatter your ILLUSION of love?" Was so surprised to hear Nicks wasn't directing it at Buckingham, but was describing her own addiction to cocaine.
  • Luke from London, UkEerie, haunting, beautiful. The perfect closer to one of the great albums.
  • Denise from Pembroke Pines, FlThe earlier take and the demo of this song, which can be heard on the 35th Anniversary Super Deluxe version of Rumours, are really interesting and worth listening to. The vocal in one of them, especially towards the end, is very different and much eerier than the album version. There is also a VERY beautiful version of Dreams (called 'Dreams take 2' I believe) on the SD version that has some wonderful dreamy guitar and moody keyboard work and not much if any bass and drums, though the bass is one of the stars of this song. I just bought some of these tracks last night and I'm loving them!! So glad that Christine is re-joining the group for the likely 2014 tour! And for the record - I LOVE the cowbell in GDW!! It suits the song well, especially paired with that Dobro guitar.
  • Fraser from Kent, United Kingdomgoing to see them at the O2 in September...can't wait
  • Fraser from Kent, United KingdomSaw a documentary about Fleetwood mac recently and Stevie Nicks verified that this song is indeed about cocaine!
  • Steve from Chino Hills, CaIt is said in the Wikipedia reference that the song is about living in the metropolis of Los Angeles. I believe the third person "she" (did "she" make you cry, make you break down, shatter your illusions of love) is about the city of Los Angeles. Jim Morrison referred to it as a female in LA Woman. The rest of it is about the excesses of drugs (silver spoon) and "Put your kingdom up for sale" I believe is about selling the house in Los Angeles.
  • Ross from Cornwall, United Kingdomthe 2nd b-side version of this on the remastered version of rumours is even better. give it a listen
  • John from Las Vegas, NvI truly love this song, it is so magical. I think it is about cocaine, but I also think it is
    about the groupies that were hanging onto Lindsey
    Buckingham, and disrespecting the "Ancient Queen"
    What a fantastic song and beautiful poetry.
  • Michael from Middletown, CtI think this song is about instead of using cocaine its about using heroin. The silver spoon is what the user would use to cook it to inject.
  • Carole from Sacramento, CaOf the thousands of songs I love as I listen to a lot music-Gold Dust Woman is my very favorite song.
  • Sibella from Pretoria, South AfricaI was so exhilirated when I saw the Hole covered it! But I still like the original much more.
  • Janie from Melbourne, Australiawho cares about the cow bell! lindseys guitar is amazing, and stevie is perfect, her best song in my opinion.
  • Tony from Chicago, IlI love this song1 it just takes me away. it has that really trippy feel that i love. it's all about nicks taking cocaine while her relationship with lindsey was ending. Perfect song to end a perfect album!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Arianna from Largo, FlHey, cow-bell or no cow-bell, this song ROCKS! Takes me on a journey, every time I hear it. I especially enjoy the end, the part about the "black widow" and "dragon".
  • John from Waldron, ArThere is a band form TX called the Mylie Thomas band that does this song in their live set. Lord help me, but they actually do it better than the original; bluesier, more soul, and no cowbell(thank God).
  • Don from B G, KyThis song "needs more cow-bell". Oh, wait that is Blue Oyster Cult. Don't fear the reaper or Christopher Walken.
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