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When I See You Again

Lyrics Guitar Tabs

Written by Stevie Nicks.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Stewy, Jamie, Lauren, Slvr Sprgs, Lis, and Stephanie M..


"When I See You Again" by Stevie Nicks appeared on the 1987 Fleetwood Mac album Tango in the Night.† It was recorded during a time of incredible unrest and tension for the members of the band, and culminated in the abrupt departure of Lindsey Buckingham right before the Tango in the Night tour.

Recording of Tango began in the summer of 1986 with all the members of the band except Stevie Nicks.† At that time she was in the middle of† a long and grueling† tour to promote her†successful album Rock a Little and† was struggling with a life-threatening cocaine and alcohol addiction. To make matters worse, Stevie knew of Lindseyís reluctance at making another Fleetwood Mac album and expected having a very volatile association with him in the studio.

Stevie showed up for a 3 week stint in the recording studio in January of 1986, 6 months after the other members started the album,† surrounded in turmoil.† There was obvious dissatisfaction in Lindseyís part about the Stevieís emotional and physical state and her lack of contribution in the studio.† While talking about the Tango recording, Lindsey† has said "I saw Stevie about 3 weeks - they werenít a great 3 weeks.† I didnít recognize her at all.† She wasnít the person I had known and had moved to LA with."† Speaking about† the atmosphere in general, he said that "the creative atmosphere was next to nil...it was pretty nuts."†

To make matters even worse, Stevie entered the Betty Ford Center in the Spring of 1986 for a month long stay to battle her alcohol addiction.† It seems that her general state of mind at this time, as well as her fear of Lindsey Buckingham finally leaving the band for good, may have contributed to the hazy and haunting quality of "When I See You Again".

When I see you again
Will it be the same
When I see you again
Will it be over
When I see you again
Will your great eyes still say

In this verse, Stevie asks a very fearful question to someone she obvious cares for very deeply.† When she sees this person again, will it be over, will it be the same?† "Will your great eyes still say whatís the matter baby"?† Though this question could be toward any number of people, the general consensus is that it is toward Lindsey Buckingham, whom she has previously described as having "great eyes".† Though their relationship had ended long before Tango, there was always a degree of concern and an unspoken bond between them.† Even though they could hardly be considered good friends, there had always been this bond between them which would likely be even MORE strained due to Stevieís deteriorated emotional and physical state as well as Lindseyís reticent attitude toward the new album.† When she sees him again, will things be the same between them?† Will he still be there for her as he had been all the times before?† Would Lindsey leave the band, and if he did, what would she do without him in the band?† They had always been together in Fleetwood Mac, and now she fears that it could† all change.†

Whatís the matter, baby
Whatís the matter, baby
Whatís the matter, baby, baby, baby
Whatís the matter, baby
Whatís the matter, baby
Whatís the matter, baby, baby

"Will you great eyes still say whatís the matter, baby".† Stevie doesnít want to break the bond with Lindsey, though she knows things will be strained with him.† He had always been there for her in some capacity, even if it was just as a bandmate in Fleetwood Mac.† Stevie could always tell by looking into his eyes that he cared about her and wondered about her pain.† He had seen† her† through some terrible times in her life and† has always cared for her, but never came out and asked her about† her pain.† He† would still could show his concern for her in the way he would look at her - not with anger, but with loving concern.† Maybe, at some point when they were capable of talking, he would actually ask her what was the matter.† The repetitiveness of this chorus might symbolize the never-ending bond the two share , or the number of times Stevie has felt that he has said or felt this.

So she walks slowly down the hall
There are many doors in the hallway
And she stares at†the stairs
Ohh, there are many things to stare at these days

Is this a metaphor for her life in which she has many paths to choice in life - many doors in the hallway, or is there more to this verse?† Are the stairs she mentions the stairs to different levels of her life like her personal life and professional life?† What are her priorities?†† There are many choices in her life which may be the many things she has to stare at these days - days where she questions what she is doing and whether she is in a good place in her life.† Maybe she wonders what her priorities are in life and what would she do without the people that she relies on the most.

In a less philosophical vein, the doors in the hallway could be real.† Could they be the doors in Lindseyís house where they were recording Tango?† She sees the doors of the house and the stairs which will lead her to freedom away from the pressures associated with Fleetwood Mac and the constant coldness she receives from Lindsey.

Another possibility is that this is a representation of her days at the Betty Ford Center.† Forced to do little more than walk the halls, she sees the many doors of the people around her.† She can do little but stare at the stairs, for there is little in her life at this point except the things around her at the Center.† Perhaps she wonders what the doors will lead to once she leaves.† Will she be the same person, will she change for the better or worse, and what will happen between her and Lindsey when she returns.† Will she be able to survive if he really does leave the band?† All these things weight on her heavily and are very prominent in these lyrics.

The change from first to third person here is quite dramatic.† Itís as if she is seeing herself from the outside - looking at herself and† reevaluating her situation.† In a way, she is becoming disconnected from her feelings in order to keep from feeling her pain.

If she sees him again
Will your very best friend
Will your very best friend
Oh, have been replaced by some other

When they meet again, will the bond between them be gone?† Will once best friends be split by Lindseyís association with someone else - a new best friend?† These fears about Stevie and Lindseyís relationship are reiterated here.† She would like their relationship to continue for the better, but is obviously scared to find out if Lindseyís feelings toward have changed for the worst.

And the dream says I want you
And the dream is gone
So she stays up nights on end
Well at least there is a dream left

Stevie seems to refer to dreams a lot , especially when talking about Lindsey.† Her dream says she wants him, which may indicate her never-ending concern for him as her friend, but the dream is gone... the dream fades away.† Basically, he is always there is her dreams.† To keep herself from dreaming she stays up nights on end.† In the end, though, she is glad that he is still with her in her dreams even though his real feelings for her as a person may have changed.† At least she still has her memories of† their time together when they were still† friends who cared for each other.

If I see you again
Will it be over
If I see you again
Will it be the same
If I see you again
Will it be over
Again and again
Over and over

This last verse is very mysterious, since it is sung solely by Lindsey Buckingham.† The lyrics were written by Stevie, but did she ask Lindsey to sing this verse, or was it his idea?† Stevie has stated that she had wanted Lindsey to sing this verse alone, but he did not really want to do it, so she sang it with him. Later his vocal was isolated and when the rest of the band heard it they liked it so much that Lindsey was out-voted, and the end result is that he sings that line alone. This verse is different in that it switches from "when I see you again" which is very positive, to "if I see you again" which is much more uncertain.† Itís as if he may actually never see her again, or never again see her as the person he once knew and loved.† Heís absolutely leaving the band and isnít willing to have any type of associate with her anymore unless she gets her life in order.† He wants things to be better, but canít deal with the problems they have with each other, so he has to distance himself from her.††

Assuming that this was originally written for Stevie herself to sing, this verse shows even more uncertainty.† The song has progressed from "WHEN I see you again" to "IF SHE sees you again" to "IF I see you again".† This seems to show Stevieís gradual loss of hope concerning the status of her relationship with Lindsey.† Itís as if she has approached this with hope, but as she realizes the dream is fading away, her hope diminishing until she only has her dreams left.† Again and again, over and over, she questions her feelings and concerns and sees that there is little hope of the dream becoming a reality.† As the vocals fade hauntingly at the end, it is like the dream is fading away for good.†

This song once again epitomizes the great cryptic lyrics of† Stevie Nicks.† However, only Stevie herself can lend any insight into the real meaning behind these lyrics.† However cryptic the lyrics may be, they still have a great power over the listener.† Within this 3 1/2 minute song there is a whole gamut of emotion - fear, apprehension, hope, longing, and love, which are all amplified by the haunting and dreamful simplicity of† the music.† The song ends with what could be Lindseyís answer to Stevieís question - he wonders the same thing.

It has also been proposed that "Say Weíll Meet Again" from Lindseyís 1992 solo album Out of the Cradle is his answer to Stevieís "When I See You Again".† This theory may have some merit, especially when you look at the lyrics:

Just say weíll meet again
When the sunset spell is gone in the wind
Please say weíll meet again
Everyone sees the tear in the seam
But talks about the weather
Everyone pays a price for these dreams
So why not dream these dreams together...

There was a dream, that was a time
But nothing lasts forever
Sooner or later we all must go blind
But we can dream these dreams together...

Either way, "When I See You Again" lets us see through†a porthole into Stevieís mind and lets us see her for what she really is - not a rock goddess superstar with the world by the tail (though she is),† but a real person with fears, troubles, and a real uncertainty and apprehension about her future, just like the rest of the world.† Maybe that is a part of her that makes her so special to her fans - sheís human and not afraid to show it.†

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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