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"Gold Dust Woman"
Song by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Rumours
A-side" You Make Loving Fun" (US), " Don't Stop" (UK)
Genre Rock
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Stevie Nicks
Producer(s)Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut, Ken Caillat
"Gold Dust Woman" on YouTube

"Gold Dust Woman" is a song from British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac's 11th studio album, Rumours (1977). The song was written and sung by Stevie Nicks and released as a B-side to the " Don't Stop" single (in the UK) and the " You Make Loving Fun" single (in the US). The song's title, "Gold Dust Woman", comes from Gold Dust Lane, a street in Wickenburg, Arizona where Nicks spent time as a child. [1]

The 2004 two-disc special edition release of Rumours includes two demos of "Gold Dust Woman". One demo features vocal melody and lyrics in the coda which would later be developed into the stand-alone single "If You Ever Did Believe" in 1997, which Nicks recorded with Sheryl Crow as part of the early sessions for her 2001 Trouble in Shangri-La album. However, the track, "If You Ever Did Believe" was instead chosen as the theme song for the 1998 Warner Bros. film Practical Magic, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, and is only available on the film's soundtrack album.


"Gold Dust Woman" originally started as a folk song, but Nicks sought a darker arrangement as production on the song progressed. Producer Ken Caillat remarked that "It evolved slowly. The basic track was very simple, kind of like a folk song. Stevie wanted it to grow. It just kind of snuck up on you. The next thing I knew it was getting kind of creepy." [2] In its original demo form, the song was nearly eight minutes long and consisted of a few alternating piano chords and vocals. It was the third song the band worked on for the Rumours album. [3]

For basic tracking, Mick Fleetwood was on drums, John McVie played his recently acquired Alembic bass guitar, Lindsey Buckingham used a Stratocaster, Christine McVie played a Fender Rhodes electric piano, and Stevie Nicks laid down a rough vocal. For a couple of early takes, Nicks played the piano, although she moved exclusively to vocals once Christine McVie was more familiar with the song's structure. Eight takes were recorded, but none were satisfactory. On February 14, the band resumed work on "Gold Dust Woman" and recorded another seven takes, with the fourth being deemed the best. During this batch of takes, Fleetwood mounted a cowbell on his drum kit, replacing the hi-hat. Several months later, while the rest of the band was away on vacation, Buckingham overdubbed some parts on a dobro, a type of resonator guitar. Caillat placed masking tape near the guitar's sound hole and used ECM-50 and AKG C-451 microphones to record the instrument. He then boosted the upper-mid frequencies and attenuated the lower frequencies so that the instrument would cut through the mix. [3]

The take chosen for release on the 1977 Rumours album was reportedly recorded at 4 a.m., after a long night of attempts in the studio. Just before and during the final take, Stevie Nicks had wrapped her head (though not mouth) with a black scarf, veiling her senses to tap memories and emotions. [4] Many unusual instruments were used in the recording, including an electric harpsichord with a jet phaser. The keys of the harpsichord were marked with tape so Mick Fleetwood could play the right notes. [5] To accentuate Nicks's vocals, Fleetwood broke sheets of glass. [5] According to Caillat, "He [Fleetwood] was wearing goggles and coveralls — it was pretty funny. He just went mad, bashing glass with this big hammer. He tried to do it on cue, but it was difficult. Eventually, we said, 'Just break the glass,' and we fit it all in." [5]

Slant Magazine critic Barry Walsh described the song as finding Nicks "at her folky (not flaky) best with one of her most poignant character studies". [6]


When asked about the song in an interview with Courtney Love for Spin in October 1997, Nicks confirmed that "gold dust" was in fact a metaphor for cocaine.

Everybody was doing a little bit--you know, we never bought it or anything, it was just around--and I think I had a real serious flash of what this stuff could be, of what it could do to you...And I really imagined that it could overtake everything, never thinking a million years that it would overtake me. I must have met a couple of people that I thought did too much coke and I must have been impressed by that. Because I made it into a whole story. [7]

In an interview for VH1's Classic Album series, Nicks offered further insight into the song's meaning:

"Gold Dust Woman" was my kind of symbolic look at somebody going through a bad relationship, doing a lot of drugs, and trying to make it. Trying to live. Trying to get through it. [8]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom ( BPI) [9] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Hole version

A cover version by the American alternative rock band Hole was released on Geffen Records on 11 June 1996 [10] as their ninth CD single. It was also featured on the soundtrack to The Crow: City of Angels and was produced by Ric Ocasek of the Cars.


Chart (1996) Peak
Australia ( ARIA) [11] 87
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 31


  1. ^ "Gold Dust Woman". STEVIE NICKS INFO. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  2. ^ McPhate, Tim (3 December 2014). "Ken Caillat Revisits Rumours". Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  3. ^ a b Caillat, Ken & Stiefel, Steve (2012). Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album. Wiley & Sons. pp.  69-70, 133–134, 221. ISBN  9781118218082.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  4. ^ Cath Carroll (1 October 2004). Never Break the Chain: Fleetwood Mac and the Making of Rumours (The Vinyl Frontier series): Cath Carroll: 9781556525452: Books. Chicago Review Press. ISBN  1556525451.
  5. ^ a b c Bosso, Joe (13 December 2022). "Fleetwood Mac's Classic Album Rumours Track-by-Track". MusicRadar. Future plc. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  6. ^ Walsh, Barry. "Fleetwood Mac Rumours". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Stevie Nicks: Blonde on Blonde". Spin Magazine. October 1997. Retrieved 8 May 2017 – via
  8. ^ "Gold Dust Woman". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  9. ^ "British single certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Woman". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  10. ^ Ross, Sean, ed. (7 June 1996). "Advertisement" (PDF). Rock Airplay Monitor. 3 (24): 2.
  11. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.

External links