There are times when we all feel that we are just one of many, that we are expendable, not valued very highly, because there is another one just like us waiting around the corner. The truth, of course, is that we are each individuals and we each have something special and unique to offer the world. We feel like by our existence we our adding nothing. It is entirely human to feel this way at times. The stress of trying to live up to expectations can wear us down at times.
Most of us don't have the opportunity to offer the entire world our gifts, just the people we know. Famous people on the other hand, do have that opportunity. But again, they too are plagued by that feeling of being part of a crowd. Stevie Nicks is no exception. Her period of low self-esteem came in the mid-80s, while she was still on cocaine, which was probably a factor. She had strived for years to become a "big time rock and roll star;" but she was learning that fame had a price, and that paying it could be painful.
I told you last night or did you tell me
I think that it was me and I know that you heard it
I was crazy about you, that's how it always was
Do you think about me now as I sing about this love
It is the "morning after;" presumably after the break-up. Stevie starts off by questioning exactly who it was that initiated the break-up. She recalls that it was her who did it, and she knows it got through to him. They are clear on where they stand with each other this morning. She tells him that she was crazy about him; she always loved him-love was therefore never the problem. And now she is singing about that love-she wonders if he remembers her. This wondering gives the implication that we have jumped forward in time-the first two lines are from the morning after the break-up, the second two lines are from a period some time after. Enough time has passed that she is wondering if he ever still thinks about her.
When it rains it pours
When there's no one at the door
Yes he did send me flowers
Well that was a long time ago
Sounded good on a
Delicate white-ribbon card
"One more big time rock and roll star"
Just what I need
In the refrain, Stevie explains, in a way, what went wrong. The line "when it rains in pours" could be simply another reference to Stevie's favorite weather- rain. She could be talking about a painful time in her life, when the rain helped to cleanse her and free her of the pain and the doubt. This song was written about the same time as "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You," which has the line "And the rain comes down / And there's no pain and there's no doubt." By this point in time, it is possible that Stevie had come to view the rain as something positive. However, that same line in this song could also be a reference to the popular saying, "when it rains it pours"- meaning that nothing ever happens without a lot of that same thing happening. When Stevie is popular and loved, there is no end to the people waiting at her door. When she is not that popular, there is no one there. But this man...he sent her flowers. He was thinking of her enough to do that, but he wasn't thinking of her enough to show up himself at her door. It's a bit of a slap in the face. Did she break up with him before or after she became famous? If it was before, then the earlier line "do you think about me now" makes more sense-she wants to know if he thinks about the famous Stevie and remembers the one that he knew. And that would explain the sending of the flowers-he sent them to the girl he had once loved, a sort of congratulations for making it in the music world.
But the next line seems to negate this theory-"that was a long time ago." Does she mean he sent the flowers a long time ago, or that their relationship was a long time ago? Maybe when they were still together, they talked about her becoming a "big time rock and roll star." Could this man be Lindsey Buckingham? He might have sent her the flowers after they became famous, as almost a joke of sorts, and before they broke up. While that makes sense, it is by no means conclusive. The bottom line is, included with the flowers was a simple statement on a plain white card-"one more big time rock and roll star." It is both a congratulations and a bit of a joke-almost like the man is saying, "well you made it but so what, so have lots of others" when in reality both he and Stevie know that he is proud of her and this is his way of offering his heart-felt congratulations to her. However, in an interview Stevie once said that men like that (who can't bother to show up in person) "are a pain." So maybe the flowers didn't altogether please her. And then she throws something into it to shake up the situation a little-"Just what I need." This is the first indication that Stevie is not altogether happy with her position as the queen of rock. There is a good deal of stress and a lot of expectations placed on her with the more records that she sells. Sometimes, wishes that she could just be that girl playing in clubs in LA, but at the same time, she does love where she is and what she is doing.
As you walk away you know that I will call
If it's just to say goodnight and that is all
Well alright that's a lie she says she wanted you to stay
But you know much better than she
She's better off this way
It seems almost as if Stevie is talking about a different relationship here. In this one, he breaks up with her. As he leaves her, she reminds him that she is still going to call to say goodnight-but nothing more. Just that, because she has been calling to say that for so long that she feels she has to keep on doing it. But then she admits that she doesn't want him to go-she is almost begging him to stay. But it's the classic breakup line-you'll be better off without me, even if you don't believe it now. It's also a little sarcastic-how is this man supposed to know what is best for Stevie; how can he possibly know better than she does what is best for her?
Undercover music lover
Oh undercover music lover and an art lover like me
There were candles, crystals, I was anyone's fantasy
Say I'm not 'cause the work just gets harder
The work gets...
Oh, one more big time rock and roll star
The man loves music-not necessarily Stevie's music, but he is indeed a music lover. But for some reason he keeps that aspect of his personality hidden from others. He is an art lover as well-and Stevie implies that they are more alike than he had realized. But he still walked away. She can't quite comprehend why. Her trademark image of candles burning and the crystals and the flowing chiffon scarves and the platform boots made her a woman that any man would want to be with. But not this man. And while Stevie admits that she may be "anyone's fantasy," she expresses the same sentiment here as in the refrain-"say I'm not 'cause the work just gets harder." The more famous she gets, the more people know her, and therefore the more people are aware of everything she does, every song she puts out, every man she dates and so on and so forth. And she's not sure that she can handle that. She enjoys the status of being "one more big time rock and roll star," but she would rather do without the added stress and pressure.
This song was released in 1985 as the b-side to her hit single, "Talk to Me." That song is a high-powered, high-energy song that Stevie did not write. The contrast between that song and "One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star" is startling. This song is a deeply personal song that resonants with the listener. It makes us aware that while there are many benefits to being famous, there are many hardships as well. In Stevie's Behind the Music, the narrator says at the end, "Health, happiness and love. Stevie Nicks sacrificed them all for her music, but says she has no regrets." This is interesting. Stevie might not have enjoyed what she had to go through all the time, but looking back, she is thankful for it, because it landed her in a very good position in the present. And she has now graduated from being a "big time rock and roll star" to being, quite simply, a legend.
(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.)