Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Silver Springs” Maryland: Musically Unincorporated

I was recently reminded that Stevie Nicks wrote a song in 1976 that was intended for Fleetwood Mac‘s multi-platinum (i.e., 40+ million) Rumours album but, in the end, used only as a B-side.  This song, interestingly enough, is named for the place where my children were born and educated — Silver Spring, Maryland — a small “city” that, unfortunately, is unincorporated and thus impossible to define.

Silver Spring Maryland USA

It is unclear, for instance, whether Silver Spring includes the nearby communities of Lyttonsville, Forest Glen, Wheaton, Kemp Mill and White Oak — all unincorporated areas, like much of Montgomery County itself.

Silver Spring mapHilariously, Nicks misremembered the name in the plural – “Silver Springs” – not singular, a not uncommon occurrence and easy way to spot folks who are from “out of town.”

It’s not easy being Silver Spring:

Exhibit A

Silver Springs MD

However, the decision to exclude “Silver Springs” from the album’s final running order was no laughing matter and would serve – I now know – as a source of tension that would help drive a wedge between Nicks and the rest of the band.  Ironically, notes Joe Benton in his “September 6th” Stevie Nicks interview, “Silver Springs” would be the comeback single twenty years later for Fleetwood Mac’s live reunion album, The Dance:

“Besides ‘Sara,’ there’s another song that’s very special to Stevie Nicks.  It’s called ‘Silver Springs,’ and it was supposed to appear on the Rumours album, but without her knowledge, at the last minute it was pulled and relegated to a B-side, only to emerge twenty years later as the song that launched the band’s reunion.”

Silver Springs-aSilver Springs-bSilver Springs-cSilver Springs-e

As Nicks would explain “in her own words“:

“I wrote Silver Springs uh, about Lindsey [Buckingham].  And I ~ we were in Maryland somewhere driving under a freeway sign that said Silver Spring, Maryland.  And I loved the name. …Silver Springs sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me.  And uh, ‘You could be my silver springs…’ that’s just a whole symbolic thing of what you could have been to me.”
~Stevie Nicks, Classic AlbumsRumours  (video – 1998)

Silver Spring-495 sign“I wrote it for Rumours, and fourteen years ago I walked into the studio and the record was basically done.  It was at the Record Plant, and Mick said, ‘Stevie, I need you to come outside to the parking lot cause I need to talk to you for a minute.’  And I knew it was really serious ’cause Mick never asks you to go out to the parking lot for anything.

So we walked to the huge Record Plant parking lot and he said, ‘I’m taking “Silver Springs” off the record.’  And, of course, my first reaction was, ‘Why?’  And he said, ‘There’s a lot of reasons, but because basically it’s just too long.  And we think that there’s another of your songs that’s better, so that’s what we want to do.’  Before I started to get upset about ‘Silver Springs,’ I said, ‘What other song?’  And he said, ‘A song called ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’  And I said, ‘But I don’t want that song on this record.’  And he said, ‘Well, then don’t sing it.’

Silver Springs-zz

And then I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being, and walked back in the studio completely flipped out.  I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna sing ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’  I am one-fifth of this band.’  And they said. ‘Well, if you don’t like it, you can either (a) take a hike or (b) you better go out there and sing ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ or you’re only gonna have two songs on the record.’  And so, basically, with a gun to my head, I went out and sang ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’  And they put ‘Silver Springs’ on the back of ‘Go Your Own Way.'”
~Stevie Nicks, BBC radio interview, 1991

Silver Springs” (MD)

Fleetwood Mac (1976)

Mick Fleetwood, on the other hand, provided a different take on the matter when interviewed by Hit Parader for their May, 1977 special “Interviews” issue:

8th piece tagged as Musical Misspellings

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