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Goodbye Angel


Written by Lindsey Buckingham.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Leigh, Hayley, BN, Stephanie M, Miss. Scarlett, and Justine.

"Goodbye Angel" was written by Lindsey Buckingham while Fleetwood Mac was recording the album, Mirage, in 1982. By that time, Lindsey Buckingham had been out of a relationship with Stevie Nicks for five years-- almost as long as their relationship had gone on. In 1979, Stevie wrote the song "Angel" for the Fleetwood Mac album Tusk. With original lines like, "And we both pretend, There was an end but there was no ending, " many people believe that Stevie was writing to Lindsey and talking about her possible regret about leaving him. Stevie has often said that the two of them can say more on a stage or singing a song than they ever can talking to one another. Perhaps, Lindsey was realizing this as he wrote "Goodbye Angel." In a short and somewhat simplistic song, Lindsey is finally answering Stevie as well as painfully parting for good.

Goodbye Angel
I'm going down but I'm not going 'round the bend
I'm giving up but I'm not giving in

Lindsey is talking to Stevie, attempting to show both her, as well as himself, that this is over, that it needs to be over. It's obvious, though, that Lindsey still isn't really sure that he wants to be over. He uses the word "but" to show that this final goodbye is something that he thinks is good for him but that he doesn't know. He is still, however, attempting to break it off. He doesn't want to cave in. He also may be telling Stevie that while he knows that they can never be together again, he still is going to care for her. While it may not be healthy to still love her, he possibly does. He is just giving up chasing after her-- but he's not giving in to her wishes for him not to care for her deep within his heart.

Love turned to hate
Touch turned to pull
What could I do
My cup was full
Goodbye Angel

These lines could be a reference to the way that Stevie and Lindsey's relationship had so quickly changed since they joined Fleetwood Mac. After the breakup, Stevie said that their relationship got to a point where they two of them could not even speak to one another. Their deep love for one another had soured so quickly. "Touch turned to pull" can be interpreted in two different ways. Stevie had once yearned for him to touch her, hold her and now she had pulled away, heart, body and soul. Some believe that this line may be a reference to aggressive and harmful touching that allegedly occurred between Lindsey and Stevie once their relationship was over and they were on the Tusk tour. "My cup was full" could refer either to the fact that he doesn't have room for her in his life anymore or also that there are too many hardships for him to deal with. At the time this song was written, Lindsey was also nearing the end of a long relationship with Carol Ann Harris. Like Stevie, Carol also was into cocaine and maybe by saying "My cup is full, " Lindsey is telling all the ladies in his life that he has too much to deal with.

Goodbye Angel
I'm giving out, but I'm not giving in
'Cause yesterday is not like today my friend

Lindsey is once again revealing how things have changed so much. Too quickly, bad times replaced the good times and everything is changed between them. Their platonic relationship is suffering as a result of both Lindsey's hurt feelings and Stevie's obvious confusion about the relationship's end. Also, Lindsey has seen Stevie change so much from the innocent girl he met in high school to a drug ravaged rock star. Maybe yesterday--all those years ago-- he could have helped her through her problems but he can't any longer. Lindsey's use of the term "friend" can either be heartfelt or sarcastic. Stevie made it clear that she didn't want to date him or marry him anymore when they broke up, but she still wanted to be friends. Lindsey has decided to let her be what she wants. Also, in "Storms," Stevie sings, "So I try to say goodbye my friend." This line could be Lindsey's reference to that song as well.

Love turned to hate
Touch turned to pull
What could I do
My cup was full
Goodbye Angel

Goodbye angel
(Just let it go)
(Keeping on pulling)
(Just let it go)
Goodbye Angel
(keeping on pulling)
(Just let it go)

Probably the most heartbreaking part of the song, Lindsey is trying to finally make it clear to Stevie that this needs to end and that she needs to stop holding on to whatever they used to have. He may love her still, but he knows that a romantic relationship is not possible for them. Stevie, however still may be reaching for him, hoping that he will stay in her life. Lindsey has been a source of joy for her in the past, he was always a rock of support, and he could always magically make her songs sound beautiful. Lindsey is trying his best to move on, especially as he continues his relationship with Carol, but Stevie is still holding on to him because perhaps she thinks he is the only one who she can turn to, the only one who really understands her. Stevie was dealing with her drug addiction on her own and perhaps she felt the need to pull Lindsey toward her for comfort even though she herself had pulled away from him during their breakup. These lines could also be Lindsey's plea to himself. He needs to reassure himself that this is the right thing to do so he quickly says goodbye to his Angel and tries to pull himself away. He believes that if he let's it (any last remainder of his feelings for her) go, then he can finally be happy and he can reach some state of sanity.

Lindsey wrote "Goodbye Angel" in 1982 and it was never released until 1992 in the 25 years- The Chain boxed set. Following the release of The Dance in 1997, Lindsey and Stevie did a joint interview in which Lindsey spoke of the end of their relationship.

"You break up in '77 and think, 'Hey, get on with it buddy,' but you see that person every day for the next 10 years, pretty much in your face. It wasn't until I left in 1987 that I could face all the issues with Stevie. Certain things are very difficult to resolve. Not of it was ever resolved, but I don't think we were focused enough to know what needed to be resolved."

Perhaps "Goodbye Angel" was Lindsey's attempt to resolve all the issues with Stevie but it is obvious that simple song could not have done that. The song, however, remains one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs of his career.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

Copyright 1995-2001, Martin and Lisa Adelson
All Rights Reserved.