Stevie Nicks Said the O.J. Simpson Trial Shaped Her Views on Relationships and Show Business

Stevie Nicks Said the O.J. Simpson Trial Shaped Her Views on Relationships and Show Business

December 2, 2021

As she was writing her sixth solo studio album, Stevie Nicks followed the O.J. Simpson trial with the rest of the world. The album’s titular song, “Trouble in Shangri-La,” is not about the trial, though Nicks says that she sees its truth reflected in the tragic circumstances. She shared the surprising impact the trial had on her understanding of relationships and show business.

Stevie Nicks says it’s challenging to find a good romantic partner

Throughout her life, Nicks has had several famous relationships. The most famous is her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham, which ended soon after joining Fleetwood Mac. She’s also dated Don Henley and Joe Walsh of The Eagles and her bandmate Mick Fleetwood. Nicks said that most of the people she dates are intimidated by her success and confidence. 

“People would say to me: ‘It would be very hard to be Mr. Stevie Nicks,’” she told The Guardian. “And I’m going: well, yeah, probably, unless you were just a really nice guy that was really confident in himself, not jealous of me, liked my friends, enjoyed my crazy life and had fun with it. And, of course, there are very few men like that.”

She said she learned something about relationships from the O.J. Simpson trial

Nicks’ romantic history has allowed her to reflect on what makes a relationship work. She also deals with these themes in her songwriting. She also looks for outside inspiration from other sources, such as Twilight or Game of Thrones. On one occasion, she learned a lesson about relationships from the highly publicized Simpson trial. She did not write “Trouble in Shangri-La” about the trial, but she believes it directly related to the song.

“What the O.J. trial made me aware of was relationships, and how difficult they are – especially for people who are in the public eye and are very famous and how difficult it is for them to hold on to Shangri-La,” she told Sheryl Crow for Interview Magazine, per Rock a Little. “Of course, to somebody who doesn’t make very much money and would just love to live in Shangri-La, it’s hard to even hear that. But there is a price to pay for this kind of fame. It’s strange, because in a sense I was writing about the same things when I recorded Bella Donna, almost 20 years ago.”

Nicks added that she believes “Shangri-La” is difficult to find, especially in show business. She thinks that the trial, and herself, are proof of this.

“If you’re in show business, there is a price,” she said in the book Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, and Rumours by Zoë Howe. “You get to have Shangri-La, but people just go crazy. It’s not [as] wonderful as everybody thinks sometimes. [The title track was written] in the last few months of the O.J. Simpson trial; it wasn’t really about them, it was just about how people make it to the top of their field and can’t seem to handle it. I’ve seen so many people screw up paradise, including myself.” 

Tom Petty gave Stevie Nicks the confidence to release ‘Trouble in Shangri-La’

Trouble in Shangri-La was released seven years after her last solo album, Street Angel. In between releases, she’d gone to rehab and felt trepidation about jumping back into her solo career. She turned to her longtime friend Tom Petty for advice.

“Basically, he said, ‘You know that you’re a good songwriter, Stevie, and I don’t know what’s getting in the way right now, but you just need to go home and go straight to your piano,’” she told Time Out New York, per Ultimate Classic Rock. “I was having a hard time getting over the Street Angel experience. I was just really sad. That dinner made all the difference. I give Tom all the credit in the world for this record.”

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