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"Rhiannon" is a song written by Stevie Nicks and originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac on their eponymous album in 1975; it was subsequently issued as a single the following year.

Single by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Fleetwood Mac
B-side "Sugar Daddy"
Released February 4, 1976 (US)
Format 7-inch 45 RPM
Recorded February 1975
Length 3:46 (single version)
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Stevie Nicks
Fleetwood Mac singles chronology
"Over My Head"
"Say You Love Me"
"Over My Head"
"Say You Love Me"

"Rhiannon" was voted #488 in The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. Its US chart peak was in June 1976, when it hit #11.[3] It peaked at #46 in the UK singles chart for three weeks after re-release in February 1978.[4]

The song is always referred to as simply "Rhiannon" on Fleetwood Mac albums. The title "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)" was used only on single versions in some countries.

Live performances of the song were sometimes prefaced with Nicks saying, "This is a story about a Welsh witch." During 1975–1980, Fleetwood Mac's live performances of "Rhiannon" took on a theatrical intensity not present on the FM-radio single. The song built to a climax in which Nicks' vocals were so impassioned that, as drummer and band co-founder Mick Fleetwood said, "her Rhiannon in those days was like an exorcism."[5]



Nicks discovered Rhiannon in the early '70s through a novel called Triad, by Mary Bartlet Leader. The novel is about a woman named Branwen, who is possessed by another woman named Rhiannon. There is mention of the Welsh legend of Rhiannon in the novel, but the characters in the novel bear little resemblance to their original Welsh namesakes (both Rhiannon and Branwen are major female characters in the medieval Welsh prose tales of the Mabinogion).[6]

Nicks bought the novel in an airport just before a long flight and thought the name was so pretty that she wanted to write something about a girl named Rhiannon. She wrote "Rhiannon" in 1974, three months before joining Fleetwood Mac, while living with Richard Dashut and Lindsey Buckingham in Malibu, and has claimed that it took 10 minutes to write.

After writing the song, Nicks learned that Rhiannon originated from a Welsh goddess, and was amazed that the haunting song lyrics applied to the Welsh Rhiannon as well. Nicks researched the Mabinogion story and began work on a Rhiannon project, unsure of whether it would become a movie, a musical, a cartoon, or a ballet. There are several "Rhiannon Songs" from this unfinished project including "Stay Away" and "Maker of Birds." Nicks wrote the Fleetwood Mac song "Angel" based on the Rhiannon story.[6]


Chart historyEdit


  • Redd Kross recorded a lo-fi version of "Rhiannon" in 1988, which was released as a 7" 45-rpm single bundled with the magazine "Away From The Pulsebeat".
  • Waylon Jennings covered the song in his 1985 album, Turn the Page.
  • Hardcore Punk band Zeke also covered the song in their 2000 Dirty Sanchez album.
  • The song was recorded in 1976 by Lochiel, Glenwood, and South Carvolth Schools for The Langley Schools Music Project.
  • Hole also sampled "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)" on the song "Starbelly" from their album Pretty on the Inside from 1991.
  • Japanese artist Superfly covered the song as a B-side of the single "Ai o Komete Hanataba o", released on February 28, 2008.
  • Taylor Swift performed with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 Grammy Awards.
  • Best Coast covered the song in a live session for Sirius XMU in May 2012.
  • Vaughan Penn and the Boomers cover this song during their club days in the 1980s
  • Lady Antebellum performed a duet with Stevie Nicks on the song "Rhiannon" at the 2014 ACM Awards.
  • Singer RES covered the song on her 2013 EP Refried Mac.
  • Sticky Fingers covered the song on Like a Version.

Appearances in other mediaEdit


  1. ^ "ACM Awards: Lady Antebellum, Stevie Nicks Rock 'Golden' Performance". Billboard. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Fontenot, Robert. "Oldies Music Encyclopedia: "Soft Rock"". Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Rock Movers & Shakers by Dafydd Rees & Luke Crampton, 1991 Billboard Books.
  4. ^ The Great Rock Discography. Martin C. Strong. Page 378. ISBN 1-84195-312-1
  5. ^ "Stevie Nicks - Behind the Music". 
  6. ^ a b "Stevie Nicks on Rhiannon". inherownwords. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4128a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  8. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 5/29/76". 
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  11. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976". 
  13. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1976". 
  14. ^ "Glen Cook aux Utopiales 2011 : l'interview -". 

External linksEdit