Gypsy – Fleetwood Mac

“Gypsy” is Track 5 on Mirage (1982), Fleetwood Mac’s 13th studio album. It was the album’s second single, reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy (Official Music Video)

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Lyrics

So I’m back to The Velvet Underground
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was
To the gypsy that I was

And it all comes down to you
Well, you know that it does
Well, lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice
Oh, and it lights up the night
And you see your gypsy
You see your gypsy

To the gypsy that remains
Faces freedom with a little fear
I have no fear, I have only love
And if I was a child
And the child was enough
Enough for me to love
Enough to love

She is dancing away from me now
She was just a wish
She was just a wish

And a memory is all that is left for you now
You see your gypsy
You see your gypsy

(Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice)
And it all comes down to you

And it all comes down to you
(Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice)
(And it all comes down to you)

I still see your bright eyes, bright eyes
(And it all comes down to you)

(Stevie Nicks) © 1982 ℗ Fleetwood Mac Music (BMI)/Welsh Witch Music (BMI). All rights reserved.

About the Song

Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks screen cap“Gypsy” reflects on Stevie’s memories of her life as a young adult growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area during late 1960s and early 1970s.

In the song, Stevie mentions visiting The Velvet Underground, the so-called clothing store of rock stars in the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene. Stevie has also attributed parts of the song to her late childhood friend Robin Snyder Anderson, whom she met at Arcadia High School in Southern California.

She was just a wish ~

Stevie has described the song as a wish, or a search for the life that she had known before joining Fleetwood Mac. (EW, 2009)

So I’m back to the Velvet Underground ~

The first verse of the song includes the lyric “So I’m back to the Velvet Underground,” which refers to visiting a San Francisco clothing store called The Velvet Underground, where all the female rock stars of the time allegedly shopped. The store, located in the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco, no longer exists.

“That’s the words: ‘So I’m back to the velvet underground’ — which is a clothing store in downtown San Francisco, where Janis Joplin got her clothes, and Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane, it was this little hole in the wall, amazing, beautiful stuff — ‘back to the floor that I love, to a room with some lace and paper flowers, back to the gypsy that I was.’ So that’s what “Gypsy” means: it’s just a search for before this all happened.” (EW, 2009)

“In the old days, before Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey (Buckingham) and I had no money, so we had a king-size mattress, but we just had it on the floor. I had old vintage coverlets on it, and even though we had no money it was still really pretty… Just that and a lamp on the floor, and that was it—there was a certain calmness about it. To this day, when I’m feeling cluttered, I will take my mattress off of my beautiful bed, wherever that may be, and put it outside my bedroom, with a table and a little lamp.”

In 2014, Stevie elaborated on her visit to The Velvet Underground on Fleetwood Mac’s On with the Show Tour by sharing a lengthy story about her experience of being inspired by her surroundings and the thought of other rock stars passing through the store. She envisioned herself one day returning to the store as one of those rock stars.

Lightning strikes maybe once maybe twice ~

The lyrics “Lightning strikes maybe once maybe twice” and  “I still see your bright eyes” are associated with Stevie’s childhood friend Robin Snyder Anderson, whom Stevie met at Arcadia High School in the mid-1960s. Sadly, Robin passed away after battling leukemia in 1982. “Lightning strikes means one time in your life you find a very good friend, and maybe if you’re incredibly lucky, you might find a second. ‘It all comes down to you’ means but you have to look very hard.”

I still see your bright eyes ~

“I tacked on a line for my friend Robin, my best friend, who died of leukemia: ‘I still see your bright eyes.’ But then, Robin wasn’t sick yet. She got cancer, and died within a year” (EW, 2009).

Different versions

  • 1982-gypsy-screen-cap2-0=605x450The Mirage version of “Gypsy” has a running time of 4:24.
  • “Gypsy” was the second single from Mirage, released as an edit version with a running time of 3:53.
  • The promotional music video for “Gypsy” has a running time of 4:50. 
  • The 1992 Fleetwood Mac box set 25 Years: The Chain includes the longest commercially-available version of “Gypsy” (Alternate Unedited Version), with a running time of 5:26. The lyrics for the Alternate Unedited Version are actually printed in the 1982 Mirage album lyric sheet/booklet instead of the 4:24 version.

About the Music Video

The music video was directed by Russell Mulcahy and produced by Eric Fellner. On November 20, 2015, Fellner talked to Variety about his contributions to the video.

The Making of Gypsy - Behind the Scenes

YouTube

How did you land the “Gypsy” gig?

I started producing music videos in early ’80s as a very excited 21-year-old. It was a new industry. In England, you couldn’t get into a film union without experience, and you couldn’t get a job without the union. I was very lucky this new cottage industry was starting. I got to be producer.

Do you remember the project?

“Gypsy” I remember very well. Russell Mulcahy was a leading music video director. We shut down Hollywood Boulevard at night, and brought a giant crane (for the camera). It was like a movie production, with Stevie Nicks dancing down the street.

Official Video

Chart Performance

“Gypsy” was the second single from Mirage. An edited version of the song (3:53) was released, reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. On the b-side was “Cool Water,” an non-album track featuring vocals from Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie. In France, the b-side was “Oh Diane,” Track 10 from Mirage.

In Latin and South American countries, the title was translated into Spanish as “Gitana”. Some countries printed the title as “Gipsy,” an alternate spelling.

Gypsy (Early Mix – no vocal overdubs)

Gypsy (Early Version)

from the 2016 Mirage reissue

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
September 30, 2022
Dana Point, CA

Edge of Midnight (2020)

Beautiful People Beautiful Problems (2018)

New Release

Stevie Nicks, Stand Back 1981-2017, compilation

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