Fleetwood Mac: Landslide Meaning
Song Released: 1975
Covered By: Glee Cast (2011), Dixie Chicks (2002), Stevie Nicks (2007), Chloe Kohanski (2017), Smashing Pumpkins (1994), Bush (2011)
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
’till the landslide brought me down
Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
My wife was always Stevie's biggest fan, but I never was, and our tastes in music differed widely. Then, one day, in her early thirties, she died of a massive heart attack in my arms, and now I find myself waking up with this song running through my head. And every word in it resonates with me, making me think Stevie wrote it about loss.
Loss of Lindsey, loss of childhood, potential loss of her relationship with her father.
Left with two small children to raise alone, I realize my wife was right to love this song; and I can't help understanding intimately what it's like to "build my life around you", and then to lose that person. Pretty hard to handle the seasons of your life alone - whether for Stevie or me. Losing someone who you love, who is the center of your soul, is indeed a landslide, and I think Stevie understood this very well. Your heart either breaks, or freezes. Freezing hurts less, so you take your love down. Or you learn to take the pain, and sail through the changing ocean tides. And try to survive. Stevie has.
anonymous Feb 26th, 2007 2:02pm report
i like this song
the first part of the song relates to compromising love for self gain. Taking down her love is alluding to tying desire to material dreams and ambition and enslaving it as fuel for the climb up the rocky steep slope to "success". Having achieved this, in a moment of what is meant to be triumph she turns to see the view, and is confronted with the icy cold exterior that is symbolic of a frozen heart reflected back at her from snow covered hills which represent the ambition and drive of others who have achieved materially. In this moment of self realisation at what she has become, the disturbance is so great a landslide brings this mask tumbling down. The need for true love and acceptance on a personal level seemingly overpowering the escapist need for fame and fortune which proves to be cold and lonely.
This brings her to place of now asking the mirror in the sky what is love as opposed to the cold lifeless reflections of attainment in the world. Feeling newly born she recognises this inner child has led her to hide her fears in a drive for success and wonders if she can rise above this . She then questions whether she can move to a place of maturity in the world where presumably what she desires truly is.
Then comes the chorus, the fear of changing which has been precipitated by an internal collapse of the world as she knew it and the persona she had adopted "built my life around you" . But there comes the hope, almost childlike, of children getting bolder and older with the resulting strength to effect change and the reference to herself in her childlike state, getting older too. So you see, this is a very hopeful and powerful song. It references underworld awakenings and deep tribal imagery and , best of all, it is like a small boat on a deep ocean that floats beautifully on the surface, but is held aloft by the immensity of the deep:)
anonymous May 13th, 2016 5:49pm report
You can go to you tube and hear Stevie Nicks tell you what Landslide means in her own words, but to sum up, it was 1974, and she was a waitress and absolutely sick of doing it, and she had no money, "only enough to eat and put gas in the car," and the anxiety of constantly being on the brink like that was destroying her relationship. "The fear was destroying it" And what she really feared was that if her relationship failed, it would bring down all that they had worked for, all the music and what they were trying to achieve that way. So the landslide, is her way of describing the life altering effect of a relationship ending, especially when you've built so much together. It really makes sense now that I've heard her explain it. She also said that she was thinking about going back to school to get a better job if the album they were doing didn't pan out. So that might be where she's talking about getting bolder and children growing older. That might be self-reflective, the child might be herself. The rest of it, the landslide, is obviously the wreckage that occurs when a relationship ends.
anonymous Aug 24th, 2019 8:29am report
I feel like this song is her love affair with cocaine. The reflection in the snow covered hills is her probably doing lines off of a mirror. The landslide is the comedown and depression from not having coke. She’s afraid to change because she built her world around her addiction and is scared that being sober may put her in a state of depression. I feel like though she wants to quit and go a new path because she speaks of how all of us are getting older especially herself. And when she speaks of us seeing her reflection in the snow covered hills it’s almost like a warning to not do coke because the landslide will bring you down just like it did to her. Anyways that’s my interpretation because most songs during that decade were about drugs but they had to be cryptic about it in their lyrics.
anonymous May 19th, 2019 5:40pm report
My mom, who is now deceased, played this sing for me on her guitar when I was a little girl. She told me the song was about lifes journeys and that along the way of climbing lifes mountains I might make a mistake that would cause me to fall to the bottom..but no matter how old I became I needed to know she would always be there to help me when needed.
Now that I have 3 children of my own I have added a little to the way my Mom told the story..I think as a parent it is also about letting your child go to spread their wings and make their own mistakes. Its about having to accept change, and that your children cannot be sheltered by you forever. Its about unconditional love being reflected in both the face of the parent and child. Its about letting them have their success by always being supportive and behind them..and if their success falters, they have a comfort knowing you, as their parent, are there to support and push them to get back on their feet.
This is the song my son and I will be dancing to at his wedding in 3 weeks. Its been hard letting him grow up to have a new love in his life, when my entire life has been being a mom and raising our children. This song in this moment in time reminds me that even though he will be married, I will always be a constant supporter, and the first person who loved him.
The first time I heard Landslide I interpreted it very differently to what I've been told the song means. With the "snow covered hills" and the Landslide bringing it down, I always thought the song was about the loss of virginity. Children getting older. That the "cause I built my life around you" was about her parents. To me this was a coming of age song. In any interpretation it's delicate and flawless.
anonymous Jun 9th, 2017 6:50pm report
I listened to this song and cried as I was getting my son ready to go off to college . I was getting older and so was he, both our lives were changing. That was my landslide letting him go.
anonymous May 5th, 2017 5:16pm report
Snow covered hills? Come on people it's about cocaine addiction.
singerstargirl Sep 18th, 2016 9:50am report
I think it's easy to understand that this song is about growing older and bring worried about change. She notices that children grow up and she knows she is growing older too. This makes her miss her youth. It is a beautiful song. My sister recently left for University and I think our whole family was thinking that there was not much time left until I graduate and follow in her footsteps. This made it difficult to watch her leave.
anonymous Jun 11th, 2015 6:04pm report
Stevie Nicks Confesses the Real Meaning...In 1974, before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood...
youtube.com2:052 years ago
Stevie Nicks - Landslide
In 1974, before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac, the now-legendary singer says, she was at the end of her rope. Money was tight, doubts about making a successful record lingered, and, as a result, the couple's relationship was strained. In this clip, Stevie reveals how these fears and relationship struggles influenced her hit song "Landslide" and how everything came down to one simple question: Is it worth staying in the relationship to keep the music together?
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/own-master-class/Stevie-Nicks-Landside-The-Story-Behind-The-Song-Video#ixzz3cnVdgSOS
anonymous Oct 14th, 2014 10:58pm report
That a person was ready for a change but was afraid to get out of a routine. A routine of being with a certain someone who wasn't ready for a change. The person wanted to grow up and explore.
The reason no one has sent in an interpretation is probably because it's so obvious. It is a self-reflective look at her life, of getting older. The landslide is her youth, her ego, her love affair, anything that goes away as she gets older and realizes it's all part of life. She wonders if she will be able to handle future challenges to come, and specifically references her dependence on a significant figure, whom I would guess was either Buckingham and /or her father. A recent live version released here in Phoenix (her hometown) has her introduce and dedicate the song thus, "This is for you, Daddy." I didn't do research for this, so anyone is welcome to correct me if she is quoted somewhere describing it differently.
anonymous Mar 20th, 2014 3:21pm report
I think the author of the comment is confused. Stevie Nicks did have a cocaine addiction problem for which she was treated, professionally, in a treatment center. The interviews with her that can be found on You-Tube explain much on this subject. "Gold Dust Woman" is a song that the response would have been wholly appropriate for. This is my reasoning behind deciding that the author of the comment did not take the time to read the lyrics provided, made an assumption, and simply went with her opinion about another song. It would make sense to call this one poor for "Landslide," but oddly, perfect for a different Stevie Nicks song. Thank you for the forum, this is my first visit.
anonymous Jun 10th, 2013 6:08am report
the song was really about the almost break up of the band stevie kicks was in
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Feb 21st, 2013 2:30am report
This song is about being in a relationship with someone and realizing that maybe it's time to move on but afraid to cuz your already comfortable with that person
anonymous Feb 4th, 2013 2:38pm report
I'm not sure what this song is about but I have been a single mom to my son who is about to graduate and leave for college. He is my best friend. I will be moving to another town-"I've been afraid of changes cuz I've built my life around you-but time makes you bolder, children get older, and I'm getting older, too" about kills me every time I hear it. And lately it seems like I hear it all the time. During the Super Bowl last night I'm sure many people were wondering why I was so upset about a horse commercial...
anonymous Dec 12th, 2012 12:29pm report
I think this song is about how we grow up being sheltered so much by our parents, that when we finally go out into the real world, we are not equipped and ready for what challenges are thrown at us, so we come crashing down (landslide). We go out there thinking we are perfect in every way (living according to our parents' guidance) and we climb a mountain ( our own arrogance) when actually our parents could be unsophisticated, make bad decisions, or be ineffective or unknowledgable in certain areas since they themselves were sheltered and didn't learn much through life's challenges. Time makes you bolder - you have to change with the ages, can't do things the way your grandparents did and be successful at life.
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