Sara (Fleetwood Mac song)

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Single by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Tusk
B-side "That's Enough for Me"
Released December 5, 1979
Format 7" single
Recorded 1978–79
Genre Pop, Rock
Length 6:22
4:41 (Edit)
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Stevie Nicks
Producer(s) Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat
Fleetwood Mac singles chronology
"Not That Funny"

"Sara" is a song written by singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks by British-American pop/rock band Fleetwood Mac as a single from the 1979 Tusk double LP. The album version is 6:22 minutes and the edited version is 4:41 minutes. The song peaked at #7 on the U.S. charts for three weeks, #37 in the UK for two weeks, #11 in Australia and #2 in Canada. Its success has led to it being included in various later best-of albums such as 2002's The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac.


There were persistent rumors that the song is about an abortion Nicks had after getting pregnant from then boyfriend Don Henley.[1] Henley himself has suggested this to be the meaning of the song.[2] In a 1979 interview Nicks said “If I ever have a little girl, I will name her Sara. It's a very special name to me.” Now 35 years later, Nicks confirmed the rumor to be true in a September 2014 interview with Billboard magazine. "Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara...It's accurate, but not the entirety of it" [3] [4]

In his 2014 autobiography, Mick Fleetwood suggested that the song referred to an affair which ended his own relationship with Nicks. Fleetwood and Nicks had been involved in a romantic relationship for some time. Although the relationship was not exclusive on either side, Fleetwood states that Nicks became upset when Fleetwood began a relationship with her best friend, Sara. This relationship effectively ended the romance between Nicks and Fleetwood.[5]

Stevie Nicks wrote the track on a piano, but it was hard for Mick Fleetwood to put a drum track together for it and as a result, he used brushes to make it work.[6]

Plagiarism suit[edit]

In 1980, the year after the song was released, Stevie Nicks was sued for plagiarism by Carol Hinton of Rockford, Michigan. In latter months of 1978, Hinton had written a song called "Sara", which she had sent to Warner Brothers, Fleetwood Mac's recording label. The lyrics in Hinton's song and Stevie Nicks' song were similar. Both shared the lines, "Drowning in the sea of love" and "When you build your house, call me." Stevie Nicks defended the lawsuit by proving that she had written and recorded a demo version of the song in July 1978, months before Hinton sent her lyrics to Warner. Eventually, Hinton gave up, admitting that Nicks had not stolen her song.[7]


The version of the song featured on the original vinyl release of Tusk was the unedited 6:22 version, but when Tusk was originally released as a single compact disc in 1987 it featured the edited version which leaves out the middle verse and musical bridge. It was not until the 1988 Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits compilation was released that the 6:22 version of the song became available on compact disc.

There is also a version known as "the cleaning lady" edit, so-called as Nicks is clearly heard to say at the beginning of the demo recording, "I don't want to be a cleaning lady!" This version lasts almost nine minutes and was released on the 2-disc remastered version Tusk in March 2004. It contains an extended vamp, which includes excised lines previously only heard in live performances, such as, "and the wind became crazy," "no sorrow for sorrow, you can have no more," and "swallow all your pride, don't you ever change—never change."

On November 5, 2015, a live version that will be released on the 2015 remaster of "Tusk" was released. This recording features a heavier hitting drum beat from Fleetwood, and an electric guitar that prefigures the style of The Edge.[8]


Chart positions[edit]

Charts (1979/1980) Position
Australian Kent Music Report 11
Canadian Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 44
French Singles Chart 31
Dutch Singles Chart 10
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 17
South African Singles Chart 18
UK Singles Chart 37
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 7

Appearances in other media[edit]


  1. ^ "CANOE - JAM! Henley, Don: Inside Don Henley". 2004-11-30. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Fleetwood Mac". Retrieved 2014-05-24. Years later, Henley had this to say about his affair with Nicks: "[Stevie had] named the unborn kid Sara, and she had an abortion." She then wrote the song of the same name (which became a huge hit for her) and, according to Henley, dedicated it "to the spirit of the aborted baby" 
  3. ^ "Stevie Nicks on Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, and Don Henley - Billboard". Billboard. 
  4. ^ "Stevie Nicks confirms she wrote hit song about baby she aborted with Don Henley". LifeSiteNews. 
  5. ^ Fleetwood, Mick; Bozza, Anthony (2014). Play On : Now, Then & Fleetwood Mac : The Autobiography. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1-444-75325-7. 

External links[edit]