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October 22, 2023

Rarely Seen Outtakes From the “Buckingham Nicks” Album Cover Shoot

Long thought lost, these negatives were found in the archives of legendary art director Jimmy Wachtel. Neither Stevie Nicks nor Lindsey Buckingham have either the contact sheets made in 1973.

There are 12 shots in each, except for the last roll, which has 11 shots. It is possible that there was one more roll taken, and that might have been retained for use for the cover of the album Buckingham Nicks. These shots are a history of the session, showing the progression of the session, from fully clothed to topless. At the time of release in Sept. of 1973 this cover created a real sensation. It was the first time that a music duo appeared on the cover of their LP topless.

Stevie Nicks was appalled and shocked upon seeing the issued cover, as she apparently thought she was discreetly hidden in all shots behind Lindsey. She hid the album under her bed, afraid to show it to her rather strict and prudish father. The session started with Stevie and Lindsey with their finest shirts on, and soon the photographer convinced them to go topless, assuring them that the posing would be tasteful. For years Stevie was traumatized by this album cover.

Stevie Nicks spent $111 ($775 in 2023 dollars) on a white blouse for the cover shoot, but the photographer, Jimmy Wachtel, and Lindsey Buckingham coerced Nicks to take her top off when shooting the cover.

Nicks later recounted: “I was crying when we took that picture. And Lindsey was mad at me. He said, ‘You know, you're just being a child. This is art.’ And I’m going, ‘This is not art. This is me taking a nude photograph with you, and I don’t dig it.’ I thought, ‘Who are you? Don’t you know me?’ ... I couldn’t breathe. But I did it because I felt like a rat in a trap.”

Despite Nicks and Buckingham’s subsequent successes, the Buckingham Nicks album has yet to be commercially remastered or released digitally.

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