Stevie Nicks Confirms True Abortion Story Behind Song 'Sara'


I’ve written before about that phenomenon — does it have a name? — whereby a particular song takes on an added layer of poignancy after a performer dies.

For me, those songs include Boston’s “More than a Feeling” (after vocalist Brad Delp committed suicide in 2007) and any number of Joe Strummer’s solo tunes, particularly his version of “Redemption Song.”

I hope you know what I mean.

(And will add your own lists of such songs in the comments.)

While I’ve never been a big Fleetwood Mac fan, if I ever do hear their tune “Sara” again, I suspect it will have a similar effect on me:

Stevie Nicks is no stranger to rumors. She finally confirmed longstanding conjecture that she wrote one of her best-known songs partly about the child she conceived with Eagles frontman Don Henley, then aborted.

Henley said more than 20 years ago that the Fleetwood Mac song “Sara,” which hit number 7 on the Billboard charts in 1979, was about the baby they never saw. (…)

In a special interview with Billboard magazine on Friday, Nicks said their baby inspired many of the song’s lyrics.

“Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara,” she said.


Gloria Steinem Wearing “I Had an Abortion” Shirt Designed by Jennifer Baumgardner (Photo: WFAE)

Nicks, now 66 and with a new album out, has never had children.

At least from the sound of it, she has long been haunted by her decision to abort.

The wistful song’s cryptic lyrics certainly evoke sorrow and regret.

I don’t pretend to know anything about Stevie Nicks’ politics based on a song and an interview, though.

The last thing anyone should do right now is hold her up as some kind of simplistic pro-life object lesson.

Her story and her sadness speaks for itself, whatever she may think about “choice”:

That Nicks still seems troubled by her abortion puts the lie to the oft-heard feminist insistence that the procedure isn’t any more morally freighted than having a rotten tooth pulled, or even that abortion is something to be celebrated.

Maybe “Sara” and the story behind it will make people think about the choices they make, every time they hear it on the radio.

Other than that, we shouldn’t try to pin it, or Nicks, down, or make them into something they aren’t.

Art works in mysterious ways if we let it.