When Stevie Nicks was 17 years old, she didn't have access to crystal balls nor did she read tarot cards. Stevie just had the ability to look inside herself and see something very amazing.
She could see her future and see how her life would map out. In the tragedy of a broken romance, she was able to look at life with a profound honesty and map out her future. On Storytellers, Stevie claims that she does have some psychic power to see the future, and it was never more evident than in this song, Rose Garden
You never promised me a rose garden
You never said it would be easy
You never promised me a leisure lifetime
You only said you'd never leave me
Stevie likes to take on roles in her songs. She is now taking on the role of the scorned lover. In truth, Stevie did lose the love of her 17 years, but she took it to another level, to a different degree of seriousness. The rose garden is a symbol of the ultimate lifestyle of peace and prosperity. Simply put, she loved him and he returned her love, promising to stay with her forever, but he broke that promise.
Well I never took the time to realize
How much I needed love in order to survive
I was so spoiled...a princess in my time
And your love was so deep
And mine so blind
When Stevie matured into an adult woman, she felt differently about love. She knew she didn't need it to survive. At this young age, its the most rattling thing that has ever happened to her. She was spoiled by the feeling. She had so much of it, but now it is gone and she is heartbroken. Blind love is the scariest, that is when you fall in love despite what your inner feelings say.
Regarding the "princess" line, in a MTV interview taped around 1983, Stevie mentions how in Fleetwood Mac she was a princess, but when she embarked on a solo career she became a "hard working princess." Another clue to the fact she saw her future.
You never promised me a ring made out of diamonds
A band of gold you said was all you could buy
You never said I'd be a rich mans lady
And, oh my darling, no you never lied.
When two young people are in love, its fun to think of what could be, talk of marriage and of life together. Stevie was touching upon this. He told her he would never be a rich man, and Stevie knew that she would. She would be a big star and he didn't want the same thing. Despite that, she went with him, again proving the blind love. All Stevie wanted was a simple gold band, as much as she knew she would have, diamonds didn't matter, and they would never matter.
And now you're gone and I'm alone, and I'm so lonely
Nothing seems to be the same
One day I turned around and you no longer loved me
In my life there's been a big change
These lyrics are heartbreaking. When you fall in love, it becomes your entire existence. After it is over, life seems to be over. You wake up and feel empty, and you continue the day in that same mode. Love can fill the heart, although its just one feeling, but it can fill the emptiest of hearts. She described how hard it was to lose him, and how suddenly it ended. Its very mature to look at mishaps and learn from them, and that is what she was doing. By saying that in her life there has been a change, I think she means that she has learned a lot. She learned that love cannot be blind and that you cannot lose all yourself in a man, because that's just more you have to retrieve again when a relationship ends.
Now I've got a big house
With pillars standing all around
Yeah, and I've got a garden
And it's got roses dangling down to the ground
Yes, and I've got money
Men to love me and acres of land
Well, I've got all these things
All these things but a small gold band
On my finger on my left hand
No no, you never promised
You never promised me a rose garden
This is when the song becomes prophetic. These are the lines that people read or heard in 1998, and when they discovered she wrote those words at 17, it was confirmed that she had something special. She describes a big house, money and men who love her (which could be actual lovers or her fans, both of which are true) and the money. The ultimate point of this song is that despite the money and her garden she doesn't have a wedding ring. No promise of eternal love. Stevie could see that she would have the world at her feet, but no husband.
Its quite sad, in 1998 Stevie said in various interviews that she didn't want a husband. I think that she has the same sentiment she had in 1965, that she does want a husband, but not one who will give her false promises. Just one who would give her that simple gold band.
Stevie knew about her career, she knew that she would have a series of affairs. Maybe she even knew about Lindsey, and the fact she would not marry him in the end. From one bad relationship at 17, she saw all of this happening to her. Her rose garden is a husband, someone to share life with. She would live her life to the fullest, but that was always in the back of her mind. Stevie put this song in her 1994 CD Street Angel. Street Angel is the first album Stevie made after becoming clean. I think when she looked back and saw that song, for the first time it hit her, because of her clear head.
When her revival tour came around, she decided to share this with all the fans. In 1994 she shared it, but it was full circle in 1998 because she was same person mentally as she was in 1965, the same strength and wisdom that she may have lost. So for those many reasons, this song might be her most amazing. It shows how "magical" Stevie Nicks really is, and it makes you wish that she will someday find her rose garden.
(The interpretations to these lyrics were compiled through discussions on the message boards of the Penguin, The Ledge. It is entirely possible that the artists had something completely different in mind.)