It's hard to imagine when you see Stevie Nicks in action, but at 58, she's been writing, recording and performing for more than 30 years — both solo, and as a member of the legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac. She has more than 20 top-40 hits and more than 80 million records sold.
"To have been in rock and roll, to be a rock and roll woman, and to have lasted since 1973, that is really precious to me," she told Sunday Morning correspondent Rita Braver. "To quote myself, women, they will come and they will go, so the fact that I've been able to still be here after all this time, it blows my mind."
Once dubbed the "Queen of Rock and Roll" by Rolling Stone magazine, Nicks has a new retrospective CD called "Crystal Visions" which is being released this week.
Stephanie Lynn Nicks — she called herself Stevie as a child — grew up in Phoenix, Ariz., and taught herself to play the guitar. In high school she met another musician, Lindsey Buckingham, and two years later joined him in a band.
The two became a couple in life and work. In 1973 they released an album whose cover caused quite a stir.
"That was not a good thing, because I hated it," Nicks said. "I really was cajoled into doing it by Lindsey and by the photographer. It was like, you know, 'Come on, don't be a baby, this is art.'"
The cover has become a rock and roll icon, but the record didn't sell. Worried about their future in music, Nicks was working day jobs.
"I was a cleaning lady," she said. "I did kind of whatever it took to make enough money to pay our rent."
One phone call from Mick Fleetwood changed their lives. He had heard about the couple and asked them to join his band. In early 1975, Buckingham and Nicks joined drummer Mick Fleetwood, bass player John McVie and his wife, singer-songwriter Christine McVie in the new Fleetwood Mac.
"We recorded for three months, and that was the record 'Fleetwood Mac,'" Nicks said. "We were on the road at the end of May and by the end of the summer we were closing in on being millionaires."
The band's second album, "Rumours" sold more copies than any previous record. But inside the band, there was trouble. Nicks and Buckingham were having problems and the McVies were getting divorced. Fleetwood and his wife were also splitting up. But the stress produced some remarkable music.
Nicks wrote "Dreams" in response to her breakup with Buckingham, and he wrote "Go Your Own Way" as a message to her. After a while Nicks did go her own way. She was writing more songs than Fleetwood Mac could record so she launched a solo career in 1981. Her album "Bella Donna" went to number one. Despite her success, she stayed with the band because she said she never wanted to be a solo star.