Beautiful Child
 

Written by S. Nicks

Beautiful child Beautiful child You are a beautiful child And I am a fool once more You fell in love when I was only ten The years disappeared Much has gone by since then I bite my lip, can you send me away You touch I have no choice I have to stay Ooh, I had to stay Ooh, I had to stay Sleepless child There is so little time Your eyes say yes But you don't say yes I wish that you were mine I wish that you were mine You say it will be harder in the morning I wait for you to say, "Just go" Your hands held mine so few hours And I'm not a child anymore I'm not a child anymore I'm tall enough to reach for the stars I'm old enough to love you from afar Too trusting...yes? But then women usually are I'm not a child anymore (No, I'm not a child, oh, no) I'm tall enough to reach for the stars (I will do as I'm told) I'm old enough to love you from afar (Even if I never hold you again) Too trusting...yes? But then women usually are (I never hold you again) Hold you again Hold you again Sleepless child There is so little time (I will do as I'm told) Your eyes say yes But you don't say yes (Even if I never hold you again) I wish that you were mine (Hold you again) I wish that you were mine (Even if I never hold you again) Well, I wish that you were mine (Hold you again) Well, I wish that you were mine (I'm not a child anymore...)

Rough outtake version appears on the Tusk Reissue (2004)


WEBMISTRESS speculates:

This one is a little hard to figure out because it seems like Stevie is almost inventing a story - one that's not autobiographical, can you believe it? And then it seems to contradict itself....Anyway, she's speaking about someone who has loved a man since childhood but now she has to "love [him] from afar" and can only "wish" that she was with him. He won't be with her, even though his "eyes say yes." But who is the child here? All of the sudden it's "I'M not a child anymore"....but I thought HE was the "beautiful child"....who knows. Editorial note: This song used to really annoy me! I thought it dragged terribly, and the only part I liked was where Stevie and Lindsey harmonize "Your hands held mine so few hours." Then, I saw it live during the Say You Will tour, and the emotion behind it was INCREDIBLE. Now, I love the song.

 

BIRD IN FLIGHT speculates:

I think Stevie wrote this song about Mick Fleetwood. I think she is calling him a beautiful child because of his child-like, playful ways. She is calling herself a fool, once more, because she knows better than to want to be with him and expect him to feel the same but she can't help the way she feels. I think this scenerio probably takes place after they already had their fling and maybe she is wanting to start something up again??

He is older than she is so the first time he fell in love, maybe she was only ten years old. And of course lots of years had disappeared and much had gone by since that time. She bites her lip (again knowing better than to expect more and she almost seems to be saying, "hey, it's better if I don't stay with you tonight") but he touches her hand and she stays with him. At this point he is still the child.

Now they seem to switch roles, and she becomes the child. Or he thinks she isn't mature enough to handle it. They have little time together and she wants something more from him at the time, he appears to want the same (his eyes say yes) but his older wisdom knows better therefore his lips say "no" to her. (ties into the "it would be harder in the morning part") She then becomes the child, waiting for his direction to tell her when to go, because she won't do it until he tells her to (because she is younger and more willing to take a foolish chance) and so she is sleepless. She also says she is old enough to live with the consequences of a one-night fling with him (I'm tall enough to reach for the stars, I'm mature enough to love you from afar, yes, I trust you too much but don't most women??) She wishes he'd give into her. She still wants to be with him. She still thinks of him as a beautiful child.

 

NICHOLE speculates:

I kind of feel that parts of this song refer to Sara, such as the lines "Even if I never hold you," but I think the parts where she's addressing someone who seems more adult such as, "I bite my lip...send me away" are directed more towards a combination of Lindsey, Don and Mick.

 

RACHEL speculates:

I have been reading the speculations of various songs and found "Beautiful Child" which btw is one of my favorites :) And whenever I hear it yes at some point I think of Stevie's affair with Mick but on a different level than most. I find that when she is referring to a beautiful child she may mean the innocence and naiveness of a child rather than being a child. I think that maybe her "affair" with Mick was the first time she was the "other" woman and fell "in love" as an adult. Although she was in her late 20's and early 30s when she had the affair with Mick, we have to remember that for 7-8 years she dated and lived with Lindsey. Thus making Mick or anyone else she dated the 1st time she had an "adult" relationship. And once you have disappointment in a relationship it takes away the rawness and innocence of the relationship. "I'm not a child anymore" could mean that she has already experience heartbreak as an adult so she can take on whatever it is that Mick or anyone else can throw her way. Didn't the band always refer to Stevie as the baby and always stated that Lindsey pretty much spoke for her and she didn't really come out of her shell until they broke up? Another thought came to me that maybe she wrote the song thru Lindseys eyes such as him singing this song to her. When they first went in to record Rumours they were not really together but would engage in relations occasionally and sometimes when I hear this song it reminds me of Stevie telling Lindsey hey I am no longer that "little girl" you knew back home. And when she began to date other men she would continue to love him but from a far but she can no longer have relations with him.

 

GREEN OWL speculates:

In an interview she gave with an Atlanta disc jockey, Stevie Nicks said that “Beautiful Child” was a song about “a relationship that could never be.”

I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe it and all four of her other songs from the Tusk album/era are references to her unborn daughter, Sara.

Now before y’all go bitchcakes on me, hear me out.

When Nicks writes, she writes collections of songs with a “theme” running through them. The White Album centered on the emergence of self in “Rhiannon”, “Landslide”, and a re-recording of “Crystal” from the Buckingham Nicks album – Nicks’ first shot at the big time coupled with the knowledge that she and Lindsey were great partners in music but not working as a couple (“Kind of Woman” from her debut solo album, Bella Donna, was written then, too). Rumours was very much about the end of her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham (“Dreams”, “I Don’t Wanna Know” and, yes, I am counting “Silver Springs”) and her experience with cocaine, wealth and fame (“Gold Dust Woman”).

And now we have come to Tusk. Lindsey is in his favorite place in the whole wide world – the recording studio (or as you may remember, his bathroom floor). Christine is enjoying her newfound freedom since her divorce from John. John is falling in love with women and the bottle. The money keeps on rolling in and the band’s manager, Mick, is ecstatic. That extra appendage in the Buckingham package deal has proven to be the golden goose for Fleetwood Mac.

And then something squishy hits the fan.

I think Fleetwood was the first to find out about Nicks’ pregnancy. It just makes sense, considering the lyrics and how I believe Fleetwood would approach the situation. He would have probably taken Stevie aside, apologized for the whole “Silver Springs” thing with the previous album and then told her that she had to stay with the band because they need her so desperately. She’ll have her day in the spotlight, but she’ll have to take a backseat for another album because they’re indulging their wunderkind (Lindsey) right now. Maybe it’ll be their secret? He brings up the delicate situation with regards to the baby and mentions that touring could make things hard on her. And is she willing to give up her adoring public just yet?

Nicks knows that she cannot tour with a belly or a baby, and she loves performing, but she might be willing to give it up if something bigger came along. Perhaps if Henley were to marry her? But that dream is crushed when she tells him she’s considering an abortion and he quickly agrees to it. She thought he was a nice Southern gentleman who would do the right thing, but now she knows she was a “fool once more”.

Devastated, Nicks goes to Fleetwood. He comforts her and helps her plan the procedure. Afterwards, she turns to him for comfort and thus begins their short-lived love affair.

Nicks never gave a reason for why she started seeing Fleetwood, but looking back on the men in her life, a pattern emerges of her falling for men she perceives as brilliant musicians (Buckingham, Henley, Jimmy Iovine, Waddy Wachtel, Rupert Hine) or men who were able to relate to her on a deep emotional level (her best friend Robin's widower Kim Anderson; the man who guided her through her first album, Paul Fishkin; Joe Walsh, who took her to see the water fountain he'd had put up for his then-deceased daughter who never complained of anything but being too tiny to get a drink).

“You fell in love when I was only ten/The years disappeared/Much has gone by since then” could refer her always loving the name “Sara” and how she fought for that song to be on the Tusk album, even in its heavily edited (read: grossly butchered) form.

“You say it will be harder in the morning/I wait for you to say, ‘Just go’” could be about her choice to have an abortion. Could it be an allusion to her conversation with Henley, who so readily agreed to the procedure and his withdrawl from her afterwords? Henley was teased by his band, The Eagles, for his inability to remain faithful for very long – they said he’d “love ‘em and Lear ‘em” (referring to his habit of flying his ladies to other cities for dinners, etc.).

“Your hands, held mine so few hours/And I'm not a child anymore” reminded me of the briefness of Nicks and Henley as a couple as well as her growing up and shedding her childhood dreams.

And the lines that hit the hardest: “I'm not a child anymore/I'm tall enough/To reach for the stars/I'm old enough/To love you from afar/Too trusting... yes?/But then women usually are”. They suggest to me that she realizes that all of her illusions of Henley’s honor are dust.

The line about reaching “for the stars” could mean that she knows she can achieve all of her dreams (fame, fortune, touring for her public), but she trusted too much and gave up something precious in the process. It is a testimony to Nicks’ courage that she asked Henley to sing with her on “Leather and Lace” on the Bella Donna album. It is to his credit that he was gentleman enough to do so.

When interviewed in Circus Magazine, Nicks said that the song “was written two years ago on a Sunday night sometime after midnight, and finished before dawn. It is my most special song…from Fleetwood Mac to the children, with love.” Nicks once said that she had a total of four terminated pregnancies for the good of Fleetwood Mac - spooky and telling at the same time.

As for the other songs from the Tusk album: [see Green Owl's speculations on Sara, Angel, Sisters of the Moon, and Storms].

Say what you will, the to me, the five songs from the Tusk era as well as “Goodbye Baby/The Tower” represent Stevie’s love for her unborn child with Don Henley.

 

ANGIE speculates:

I think this song is about Stevie trying to convince herself, albeit unsuccessfully, that she no longer loves or needs Lindsey. I think it's pretty generally assumed that even after SnL were no longer a couple, they were still "together", how often, who knows? They have stated that they were great lovers and I believe they both, Lindsey especially, tried often to fix things between them with sex. So this is what I see. Stevie and Lindsey hook up for a night because she can't say no to his touch. He tries to convince her to come back to him. Stevie says no. He says basically, "I can see in your eyes that you want to, but you just won't say it." She thinks that if she gives in, she will lose herself and she's scared to death. She has to convince herself and him that she is no longer a child and she doesn't need him to take care of her. Yes, they may have been teenagers when they met, not technically children, but when you're in your late twenties/early thirties, 18 years old seems very, very young, hence the reference to being a child. So anyway, he says 'stay', she says 'no', Lindsey is upset and says 'you know, it's just going to be harder on me/us in the morning if you stay the night, please just go.' Throughout the song, Stevie goes back and forth between wanting Lindsey and wanting to stay away. Stevie adding the lines 'I still love you, I still need you, I do wish that you were mine' to this on the SYW tour convinces me even more that this is about Lindsey. Why would she be saying she still loves and needs Mick or Don? Just my take on things.


Want to speculate on "Beautiful Child"? E-mail me and I'll post your comments.

Tusk | BN Albums