Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Woman…Drug Reference Week

Rock on gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon
Dig your grave

Stevie Nicks wrote this song and it’s on their most successful album, Rumours. The album was made in turmoil with everyone going through relationship problems and on top of that…drugs were everywhere…hey this was the mid-seventies.

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.

This song was the B side to You Make Loving Fun in America…and Don’t Stop in the UK.

Stevie Nicks: Gold Dust Woman was a little bit about drugs ~ it was about you know keeping going. It was about cocaine. And, uh, you know after all these years since I haven’t done any cocaine since 1986 I can talk about it now you know. But it was ,ah, at that point ~ it was ~ I don’t think I had ever been so tired in my whole life as I was when we were like – doing that. You know I think it was shocking me ~ the whole rock’n’roll life ~ was really heavy and it was so much work and it was so everyday intense you know. Being in Fleetwood Mac was like being in the army. It was like you have to be there. You have to be there and you have to be there as on time as you can be there. And even if there nothing you have to do, you have to be there. So Gold Dust Woman was really my kind of symbolic look at somebody going through a bad relationship, and doing alot of drugs, and trying to just make it ~ trying to live ~ you know trying to get through it to the next thing.

Cris Morris recording assistant on the album: “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.”

From Songfacts

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.”

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.”

 

Gold Dust Woman

Rock on gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon
Dig your grave

Heartless challenge
Pick your path and I’ll pray

Wake up in the morning
See your sunrise loves to go down
Lousy lovers pick their prey
But they never cry out loud
Cry out

Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home.

Rock on ancient queen
Follow those who pale
In your shadow

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale
Up for sale

Well did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now, do you know how
Pickup the pieces and go home.

Well did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And now tell me
Is it over now, do you know how
Pickup the pieces and go home
Go home
Go home

Pale
Shadow
Of a woman
Black widow
Pale
Shadow
Of a dragon
Dust woman

Pale
Shadow
Of a woman
Black widow
Pale
Shadow
She’s a dragon
Gold dust woman
Woman, woman