Behind The Lindsey Buckingham Song That Expressed His Anger Toward Stevie Nicks

Sometimes, there's more to a song than meets the ear. The truth is that you could be singing along to your favorite tune without really knowing what it's about. For instance, did you know that Bruce Springsteen's titanic anthem "Born in the U.S.A." is actually a protest song? For years, listeners have misunderstood the track and believed it to be a patriotic rock n' roll hymn, but according to Mental Floss, that's not the case at all. Springsteen actually wrote "Born in the U.S.A." as a commentary on the war in Vietnam, the draft, and warmongering politicians. Classic Springsteen, right?

Another song that you may have gotten the wrong idea about is Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way." The track has such an uplifting, revitalizing tone that seems to cloak all your worries in a sort of ineffable, joyous reassurance, but you'd probably never guess that there's a far more scathing message simmering at its core. According to The Wall Street Journal, when guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham put pen to paper, the words that splayed themselves out upon the page came from a place of scorn and being fed up with his relationship. If you know anything about Fleetwood Mac, you're probably familiar with how messy things got with the rising and falling of romance between its members. "Go Your Own Way" is inspired by the tumultuous courtship that took place between Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

Go Your Own Way is directed at Stevie Nicks

"'Go Your Own Way' was written almost as a stream of consciousness," Lindsey Buckingham said in an interview with Song Exploder in 2018. "I was sort of coming to terms with the fact that I may not be over this person, and at the same time, I'm aware that I've got to accept what's happened and move on." Apparently, the fundamental statement inherent within the song is that Buckingham was better off without his former paramour and that she should go her own way and "shack up" elsewhere. Straight to the point, straight through the heart. 

"It was certainly a message within a song. And not a very nice one at that," Stevie Nicks told Q Magazine in reference to the song's line, "Packing up, shacking up is all you want to do" (via Bogart Boogie Oogie). Despite the band being at each other's throats throughout the recording of "Rumours" — John and Christine McVie were also splitting up around the same time — painstaking efforts from Mac's producers kept things on track, as Song Facts reports, and the album hit record shelves in 1977 (per People Magazine).

Inside Nicks' and Buckingham's relationship

Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks originally became lovers after they met in high school in Palo Alto, California, as Hollywood Life reports. The two started as friends playing music and frequenting shows together, but eventually, their friendship gave way to romance. The two were left alone together after their band broke up and the remainder of their troupe left town. Soon after, they moved to LA to seek new musical horizons and start a new life together. "I'm not sure we would have even become a couple if it wasn't for us leaving that band. It kind of pushed us together," Nicks once said (per the Los Angeles Times).

Finally, the opportunity to join Fleetwood Mac presented itself to Buckingham, but he told founder Mick Fleetwood that he wouldn't do so unless Nicks could tag along, according to the Los Angeles Times. As it turned out, the ultimatum worked in everyone's favor. However, just as they were beginning a new chapter in their musical lives, Nicks and Buckingham were closing the book on their saga of love. Throughout years to come, they'd engage in an on-again, off-again exchange that got distressing at times, though it certainly provided fodder for some of the group's most popular songs. "Go Your Own Way" is a testament to that (per Hollywood Life).