This is a fascinating if overlong look at the megasuccess of Fleetwood Mac in the mid-1970s, after the former British blues band recorded the laid-back rock songs of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks that made the album Rumoursone of the most popular of its era. While working at the band's recording studio, Harris, currently a music business costume designer, became Buckingham's girlfriend and constant companion from 1976 through 1984, and she gives a detailed look-more so than drummer and original member Mick Fleetwood's biography-at this already well-chronicled story of how the success of Rumoursprovided the income for extravagant cocaine-fueled excesses before, during and after performances. Harris too often uses clichés, such as her view of the band's "beautiful insanity." But she does candidly recount Buckingham's rage and his repeated physical assaults on her. Along the way, she offers great descriptions of the band's recording sessions, especially her account of Buckingham's desire to "create something new, something completely" different for Tusk, the more experimental (and less profitable) follow-up to Rumours. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Macby Carol Ann Harris
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A consummate insider as the girlfriend of Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac singer and guitarist, Carol Ann Harris leads fans into the very heart of the band's storms between 1976 and 1984. From interactions between the band and other stars-Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and Dennis Wilson-to the chaotic animosity between band members, this memoir combines the sensational account of some of the world's most famous musicians with a thrilling love story. The parties, fights, drug use, shenanigans, and sex lives of Fleetwood Mac are presented in intimate detail and illustrated with never-before-seen photographs. With the exception of one brief interview, Carol Ann Harris has never before spoken about her time with Fleetwood Mac.
"Carol Ann Harris experienced the brightness and darkness of rock and roll and bring[s] it to life in a passionate classic." Danny Goldberg; Fleetwood Mac insider; former head of Atlantic, Modern, Mercury, and Warner Bros; and author, How the Left Lost Teen Spirit
"Fans will be enthralled" Penthouse Forum
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My Life with Lindsen Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac
By Carol Ann Harris
Chicago Review Press IncorporatedCopyright © 2007 Carol Ann Harris
All rights reserved.
NEVER WEAK THE CHAIN
"Hi", he said, "I'm Lindsey Buckingham."
He turned silently out of the shadows in Studio B and just stared at me. I think I stared back. But there was a time lapse. What is it with some memories? They etch themselves indelibly on your mind afterward, yet at the time there's just confusion and resistance and a flood of emotion to fight through.
But now I remember so clearly that first time I saw him. I remember in exact and overwhelming detail the light on the angles of his face, the slow, sensuous smile, the dark, dark halo of hair, the satanic goatee and mustache. I was face to face with my nemesis, staring into eyes of a blue that was never Californian. This blue was misty, like those English skies I'd seen on my travels.
I shuffled my studio schedules, turned my gaze away.
"I'm ... I'm Carol Ann. Nice to meet you. I've, uh, gotta get back to work", I stammered, trying to sound bright and efficient. But I could see he wasn't fooled, and neither was I. I raced toward the office, almost stumbling in my haste to get away, slamming my papers down on the desk once I'd reached my sanctuary.
Oh listen, I'd seen beautiful men before. Out here, in Los Angeles, and in the recording industry, they were regular fixtures and fittings. I'd seen hundreds of one-hit wonders, each with a different come-on theme song, different lyrics.
This one was different. This one was unlike anything or anyone I'd ever seen before. This one had magnetism so intense that I felt a shock go through me the minute I saw him.
But who was Lindsey Buckingham? I had no idea, amazing as that might sound. I scanned the sheaf of papers for clues. Was he an engineer? Was he a technician? Was he just a delivery boy with a tape recorder? Whoever he was, he was scary. Well, he had me scared, at any rate, and despite my small-town background and my waiflike appearance, I didn't scare easily. I'd run my own music business since I was nineteen, and here I was, three years later, just trying to settle into the studio manager job, with a sound engineering internship on the side. I was going places. I needed to. I was in a dead-end relationship with a man who had hardly spoken to me for years and had forced me to part with the only person who ever mattered to me. I had to get out. I wanted independence. I was being smothered alive, and twenty-two was too young to die.
But now I'd just bumped into someone who felt dangerous. And danger wasn't what I was looking for. I told myself that I'd probably never meet him again and I forced my attention back on the scheduling book in front of me. Yes, this was it. Studio B. Richard Dashut and Lindsey Buckingham, it said. Post Production. Fleetwood Mac/Rumours. I checked that out again, and for want of anything better to do, with a shaky hand corrected the spelling. Rumors.
Over the next few days I avoided going into Studio B, just in case. I was trying to be absolutely professional, against my instinctive urge to see and speak to the guy again, if he was still around. For all I knew he could have driven off into the huge metro of L.A. and would have been just one of those random images that haunts your dreams for years.
But he ended up coming to me, just appearing out of nowhere two days later, asking for a coffee, explaining who he was. He said that he and Richard were putting the finishing touches on the Rumours album, so he'd be a fixture for a while. The rest of the band, Fleetwood Mac, would be coming in a few days to add extra vocal tracks for dubbing.
Fixture indeed — within minutes of each afternoon arrival he would appear at the doorway of my office and ask for a cup of coffee. I'd point him to the machine and hide my smile as he struggled to make small talk.
"A lot of rain. Don't you think we've had a lot of rain this week?" "Well, yeah, Lindsey, we really have."
Both of us felt the fusion every time we came within four feet of each other. Neither of us knew how to handle it. We stammered and fidgeted and smiled at each other to fill in the gaps where words should have been, drank bad coffee, and then one of us would have to leave the unspoken longing hanging in the air and get back to work.
"You know I broke up with my girlfriend?" he asked me one day, when he'd popped in to ask about the next day's schedules.
"Stevie Nicks. You know?"
"No", I said. "Really?"
I knew. That first week I'd checked it out. I'd found out exactly who he was. I knew that he was the new guitar player for a band that had been around for over ten years. A band that I'd listened to and admired in high school. A band that just happened to be in my studio putting the finishing touches on their next album.
He didn't seem sad about his lost relationship. If anything, he seemed resigned, even relieved. There was a sense of sweetness and vulnerability about him. When I looked into his eyes I could see a longing that made me want to reach out and touch his face. Each day it got a little bit harder to go home to my boyfriend, John. But then I'd been finding it hard to go back to John for ages. So I'd get in my car, drive out of Producer's Workshop and through the garish decay of Hollywood Boulevard, past the sex shops and the pimps, the slouched addicts, the broken flashing neon signs over the greasy diners, my head still buzzing with whatever it was that was happening to me with this complex and mesmerizing stranger.
I really didn't want to get involved with another dream angel.
John and I had been living together for over four years. He was the cousin of my best friend, Lori Lazenby. Lori and I left Tulsa together three days after high school graduation and drove the legendary Route 66, both of us singing along to the car radio, all the way to the City of Angels.
I met John on my first day in Los Angeles. I was eighteen and a virgin. He was my first angel, or so I thought. Anyway, he was a nice guy, pretty interesting, and within three weeks I slept with him. It just seemed like that's what you did in cities like L.A. The point of getting out there in the first place had been to say, "Look, I'm cool! I'm independent! I'm sophisticated!"
Within five weeks I was pregnant. He asked me to live with him, but didn't ask me to marry him. As the months passed, John would reduce me to hysterical tears as he began to tell me over and over that he didn't want a child after all. When our baby, Claire, was five months old, I realized with horror that he'd never even picked up his own daughter. His disinterest in her was terrifying to me.
I spent sleepless nights agonizing over my daughter's future. I wanted her to have the best that life could offer and I knew that being alone and just a child myself, I couldn't give it to her. I'd grown up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, surrounded by my six sisters in a loving, stable home with two parents who loved me. We didn't have a lot of money, but we were secure and I always, always felt safe. I desperately wanted that for Claire. I realized after crying many, many tears that by giving her up for adoption, I could give that to my little girl. I chose an agency and poured out my heart to them.
Because it was a private adoption agency, I was able to choose her new family from among four that were presented to me. I chose a wealthy family who already had two adopted sons. The parents were highly educated and loved books, music, and children. They wrote a letter to me asking me to allow them to raise my daughter. They promised that when she was old enough, they would tell her all about me. They swore that they would tell her that her birth mother loved her enough to give her up so that she would never, ever have to worry or want for anything.
On the day I signed the adoption papers John thanked me and said he wanted to take me out to the movies to a double feature to make me feel better. He took me to see Kotch, a movie starring Walter Matthau about an unmarried pregnant teenage girl who struggles to decide whether she should keep her baby or give her up for adoption. The second feature was The Other, a bloody horror movie about a child who kills an infant and then puts it in a large jar. I will never forget the shock, pain, and sheer horror I felt on that afternoon as I watched the flickering images in a dark theater as the father of my child sat silently beside me. After that, Claire was something we never talked about. I never discussed her with anyone.
From that moment we lived life on John's terms. And I'd clung to it because I thought that was what love was, and that it was my duty to work in the record business we'd set up as a kind of replacement for what had brought us together. I know that whenever I looked at him a part of me felt close to my lost daughter, although I never mentioned her again to him. For on the day I signed the adoption papers, a part of me died, and was still dead.
So that's why I knew that hoping for a miracle love affair was as mad as the drug-crazed visions shared by teenage hookers on Hollywood Boulevard. In real life, like in the gritty films shown to battered men in dirty overcoats, there are no angels. Are there?
But if I had some obligations and ties, however frayed at the edges, the man I was trying not to fall in love with was bound in chains. He had family responsibilities on a scale I'd never seen before. His family was Fleetwood Mac, and over the next few days I would be introduced to each larger-than life relative.CHAPTER 2
DON'T LOOK BACK
The day after Lindsey told me about breaking up with Stevie, I was sitting on the floor in the reception room of Studio B when a tiny hummingbird of a woman brushed past me in a blaze of color, on a cloud of patchouli and ylang-ylang. I stared. I'd never seen anything so bright and dynamic before, so compelling, so intensely certain of the vibe she created.
I watched as she jumped up onto a scuffed, low table in the center of that dingy gray room with its shabby carpets and grubby open shelving, creating a stage, inviting an audience. She moved and spoke at lightning speed, sniffing, pushing stray locks of long, blonde hair out of her eyes, smoothing her peasant blouse, swishing her silken skirts to create a backing track as she started to describe her Acapulco holiday.
"Like ... mystical ... and the moonlight ... and so translucent, and kinda deep dark, dancing under the stars, and the ocean, there, black and pounding —"
Words just poured out of her, words and sniffs, then, after pausing, "It was life changing. Life changing!" She sniffed again.
I'd just met Stevie Nicks. She was without a doubt the most mesmerizing woman I'd ever encountered. I didn't need to be told that she was a star. Her light was blinding. People gathered around. I sat transfixed, still on the floor, looking up at this five-foot-nothing exquisite firebrand.
And then Lindsey came into the room. There was a moment's hesitation, then he barked at her and she bit back, and I knew instantly that the two were familiar old sparring partners, with a history of love and loathing, and a sharp professional jealousy that would spark up and wound for as long as they lived.
"Hey", Lindsey whispered suddenly, as Stevie's voice sang on in the background. I looked up and he was right next to me, crouched beside me. "See what I have to put up with?" he said.
"We should compare notes", I replied, sighing as I thought of John and the aching spaces between us.
"Tonight?" he asked.
His breath was warm on my cheek. His eyes were too blue. He was too close. All this was too much.
"I live with this guy —" I started to explain, but I couldn't go on. Not then. This was all too raw and painful.
"OK", he whispered.
Above us, loudly, Stevie was announcing, "And next year I'm going to Cozumel ... Pyramids! You know what they say about pyramids?" Then she laughed. And everyone in the room laughed with her. Except me. I just watched Lindsey as he loped away, and didn't blame him for one minute. I didn't understand the joke about pyramids either, and wouldn't have even if I'd been thinking about it. I was thinking instead about the touch of Lindsey's breath on my cheek. I could still feel it. I couldn't wash it off, not even after getting home later to spend another silent evening with John. It was as if Lindsey had already claimed me, and I'd already cheated. In my mind, I had.
When I arrived at work the next day I found a drawing of a wizened old man's face on my desk calendar with a note that read, "Richard and I are going to see King Kong after work. Wanna go?"
Hell, yes, I wanted to go! As excitement turned my cheeks pink, I immediately called John and told him I had to work late. I felt a twinge of guilt about lying, but none at all about going out with Lindsey. I was too excited about seeing Lindsey to even take note of the fact that my lack of guilt spoke volumes about my feelings for John. It was over at last. I couldn't pretend any longer. Funny, isn't it? A night at the movies ended my first love affair. A night at the movies would start the next.
I waited impatiently for 6 P.M. and saw little of Lindsey during the course of the day. The remaining three members of Fleetwood Mac were due in the studio the next day, so he and Richard were working feverishly to finish the mixes before they arrived.
I kept telling myself there was no harm in going to a movie with Lindsey. Richard was coming with us. Richard was a lady-killer. Standing at five foot nine, he had curly black hair just past his collar and a full mustache that would make a pirate proud. With his handsome face and wit, women loved him. He was also Lindsey's roommate and best friend.
Lindsey had been sensitive and careful over his choice of date and the arrangements he'd made for it. A movie — with a chaperone. I felt respected and as nervous as a high school girl on her first big girl-boy thing. Oh, and there was Uncle Richard, of course, to make sure that the girl-boy thing didn't get out of hand!
Lindsey drove us. Richard sat in the back. I trembled in the front seat, overcome with excitement and apprehension. As he helped me out of the car, Lindsey put one arm protectively around my shoulders.
"You have the most fragile shoulders I've ever felt", he murmured.
"Fragile?" I asked.
"Fragile feel. That's what I meant", he explained. "You have a fragile feel to your shoulders. I love them."
He seemed unembarrassed by this Lindsey. declaration.
I looked at Richard, who rolled his eyes, and I started to laugh. "I think that's the first time in my life that anyone's complimented my shoulders!" Since I was five foot five and weighed 101 pounds soaking wet, I was not too surprised that he thought my shoulders felt fragile.
Halfway through the movie we both stopped pretending to watch the gorilla. We clasped each other's hands tightly as I laid my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes. A feeling of utter contentment came over me and I listened to his breathing and felt his heart beating under my hand on his chest. Finally there was a dead gorilla, the world was saved, the fragile woman had stolen the hero's heart, and the three of us walked back to our car and drove to the studio.
Richard climbed out first and held the door open for me. Lindsey shook his head. "She's not going anywhere. We're going to take a drive."
"God, Lindsey", Richard yelled. "'Mick and the others arrive tomorrow! You can't —" His words were lost in the squeal of Lindsey's tires as we sped out of the parking lot. As we drove down streets shaded with palm trees, Lindsey began to talk to me. "I have to tell you something, Carol."
He pulled over to the side of the street and turned off the ignition. My palms started to sweat as I waited for whatever horrible blow he was about to deliver.
"I've been seeing a girl. We've been going out almost three months, and I spent the night at her house two days ago."
My world was crashing around me as I listened to his words. All I could do was nod for him to go on.
"What I need to tell you is this. I spent the night at her house and I didn't touch her. We slept in the same bed, and I couldn't bring myself to touch her. All I did was lie there and think about you. I want you. I know you're living with someone, Carol Ann, but you can't deny that there's something amazing happening between us. Will you see me? Do I have a chance?"
I threw myself into his arms and kissed him hard. I was shocked, flattered, breathless, and incredibly relieved. Words started spilling out as I told him about my relationship with John. I told him about my daughter. I saw a reflection of the sorrow I was feeling on his face as I poured my heart out to him. As he stroked my hair and whispered that I did right by my child, I felt as though he was taking part of my pain onto his own shoulders. I chose her family, I told him in a low voice. She has two brothers and a beautiful home and will go to college. It's in the contract I signed. And one day, I sighed, maybe we'll find each other. Blinking back tears, I looked into his eyes.
Excerpted from Storms by Carol Ann Harris. Copyright © 2007 Carol Ann Harris. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Carol Ann Harris is a former recording engineer and model who is currently an A-list costume designer for music videos, films, and commercials.
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This book is awesome. I love stevie Nicks and fleetwood mac. It has definitly changed my opinion of Stevie Nicks but all and all I still love her. Carol ann is my hero. The things she went through with Lindsey and the fleetwood mac family is unbelievable and I am glad she came out on top. I dont agree that she wrote this book for money I think she was trying to let go of the past and is proud of the person she has become. If you are a fleetwood mac fan this is definitly a book for you to read!
I just finished this book and I couldn't put it down. Being a huge Fleetwood Mac and Stevie fan, I have read much of this in research over the years. I found this book to be very believable. Carol Ann Harris does a wonderful job of bringing it all together. I highly recommend this to a Mac fan.
A good read, although the author's repetitive "mental shrugs" and constant "I vowed to myself..." make her seem WAYYYY too dramatic - she even manages to turn picking up a prescription at a pharmacy into some kind of melodramatic crisis she barely survived! Although I found the drama factor a little high, I did enjoy the book and would recommend if you're a fan of Fleetwood Mac.
It was a great story! 100 pages too long...
Really liked this book. Couldnt put it down and didnt want it to end.
No ghostwriter needed here. Carol Ann Harris, who recounts her eight-year relationship with Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, has penned a memoir brimming with vivid detail and winning prose. No mere rock and roll time capsule, this is a poetic act of will, a work of stunning courage and originality. For fans of the Mac, Harris' recollections on her time with the band will make for juicy, page-turning reading. But it's when she turns the mirror on herself that the book really gets going. Being the girlfriend of a tortured genius is no easy task, and Harris takes us through the highs and lows, the euphroia and the horror, in an almost miraculous fashion, with a depth of feeling seldom found in even the best of celebrity tell-alls. Welcome the arrival of an exciting new writer. Joe Bosso
Ms. Harris was courageous to have lived through this traumatic episode and to have written so honestly about it. Dispite her praise of him, Lindsey Buckingham comes off as a brutal, alcoholic, drug-addicted liar. There have always been rumors about his abusive behavior, but this is Lindsey in the raw. She must have really loved him to have stayed with him so long. Stevie Nicks dumped him a lot faster than Ms. Harris did.
As a HUGE Fleetwood Mac & Stevie fan...i have to say WOW just WOW! It's been a long time since I've read an honest tell it like it is book about the Mac. Carol Ann is an amazing story teller. She had me laughing in tears over the Dennis Wilson chair incident...but mainly i found myself crying in sadness for her & the terror she must have had to endoure day in & day out. She truly knows the meaning of love based on the choices she made. A real stand-up lady.
She told the most amazing journey thru 8 years of her life. I am a huge fan of the band and I found it very interesting. A must read!
This is the story of Fleetwood Mac that I have been trying to find and read for years! Carol Ann Harris finally did it right. Apologies to none, she tells it clearly and for the record, no appearnt axes to grind or ulterior motives. I'm sure it took her the 20 intervening years since she left Linsey to get over the trauma and to chronicle, fairly objectively, the tumultous ride that nearly killed her! I absolutely could not put this book down! Her style is perfect as this book reads more like a novel than a mere chronicle of events. The guest appearances of so many rock legends is icing on the cake. An absolute must read for anyone with an interest in the incredible Fleetwood Mac story. Thank You Carol, FINALLY!
This book enlightened me i could never explain to anyone but the author
I have to admit that I'm not particulary a Fleetwood Mac fan but I thought that this book might make an interesting read. Boy, was I wrong. Even though the subjects of the book are probably fascinating people in their own right, Ms. Harris' account is insipid, cloying, proably exaggerated and undoubtedly the most badly written book of it's kind that I've read in a long time. Her excerpts of dialogue are laughable and hopefully, for the subjects' case, completely fabricated. I suppose Ms. Harris was going for dramatic affect when beginning to write this book but it comes off as being one written by a 14 year old girl with a penchant for fantasy. Ms. Harris should get over herself and maybe write a book that would be an honest and down to earth revelation of how a band interacts with each other and the people around them instead of creating a juvenile display of what is supposed to pass for high drama. Good thing I only borrowed it from my local library. If I would have paid money for this thing, I would be even more disgusted if that was possible.
LED ZEPPELIN is WAY........ better.their at the top. Fleetwood mac.................. ehhhhhhhhhh........................ no.