Stevie Nicks Had an Embarrassing Moment in Front of Bill Clinton
Fleetwood Mac reunited for Bill Clinton’s inauguration
By 1991, the Fleetwood Mac of Rumours-era fame had dissolved. Lindsey Buckingham left the group in 1987, and in 1990 Nicks and Christine McVie said they would no longer tour. In 1991, however, Nicks left the band altogether.
After the Fleetwood Mac song “Don’t Stop” was the backing soundtrack to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, it seemed fitting that the band would play at his inauguration. After years of fighting and a band breakup, they reunited at the Inaugural Ball. Here, Stevie Nicks had a slightly embarrassing moment in front of the new president while trying to get him involved in the performance.
“I called [Lindsey] and said, ‘If you cheat me out of this honoring moment, I’ll never speak to you again,’ so he did it,” Nicks said in the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoë Howe.
As the performance went on, the Clinton family and celebrities like Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Sally Field joined the band.
“John and Chris [McVie] were holding hands. Lindsey was holding Stevie’s hand,” Mick Fleetwood said. “That really got to me.”
When Clinton joined the band onstage, Nicks gave him the tambourine she wields during performances.
“[The inaugural gala] was something I don’t think any of us will ever forget,” Howe reports that Nicks told The Miami Herald. “Walking out [on stage] … and knowing we were walking out because Bill Clinton wanted us. You couldn’t feel more special than we did that night.”
Nicks’ tambourine was muted with gaffer tape, as it always was during performances. It was essentially there to give her something to do with her hands when she wasn’t singing. When she realized that Clinton was trying to get the instrument to make noise, she felt embarrassed. At the very least, though, the new president was a part of the performance.
“I started to move toward him and he got this terrified look on his face,” Nicks explained. “I just handed him my tambourine and said, ‘Go to it, Mr. President.’ And he did — he rocked out.”
“I did hold it back since 2008, and I just knew that right now, with the presidential election and everything else that’s going on, that this was the time,” she told Variety. “I hope that this song and its words will be seen as a prayer — a prayer for our country, and a prayer for the world. It’s a pretty heavy song.”