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Classics Corner

Classics Corner: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

Natalie Del Castillo

ndelcast@radford.edu

Digging through a room full of old possessions can lead to great discoveries. While iPods, smart phones and online music players have become our main music providers, nothing beats finding old copies of your favorite CDs.

Fleetwood Mac was originally formed in 1967 in London by Peter Green. During the late 60s, their music was considered more blues than anything else. The band underwent multiple changes in their lineup over the next ten years; even losing their original founder/guitarist, Green, at one point. Drummer Mick Fleetwood brought in two artists in 1974 that would changeup the whole game.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks started performing together in California in 1968, while also being romantically involved. While Fleetwood was in California in search of a studio to record their tenth, self-titled album, he remembered Buckingham from a track that producer Keith Olsen had played for him. Buckingham was invited by Fleetwood to join Fleetwood Mac but Buckingham informed Fleetwood that he couldn’t join without Nicks. This is when the greatness started.

In 1975, Fleetwood Mac was the album that helped the band reach fame. This new lineup worked phenomenally together. At this point, the band consisted of their most famous lineup which was guitarist/vocalist Buckingham, vocalist Nicks, drummer Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and his wife, keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie. The group toured for six months after the release of their tenth album and this is what led to one of their greatest accomplishments.

After almost eight years of marriage in 1976, the McVies divorced during the beginning stages of recording their next album. Around the same time, Nicks and Buckingham’s rocky relationship came to end when Nicks called it quits due to the effect their arguing had on their musical creativity. If that wasn’t fuel enough to start writing an album, Fleetwood was dealing with the fact that his wife had cheated on him with former Fleetwood Mac guitarist/his best friend, Bob Weston. Their eleventh album, Rumours, was ready to be worked on.

To this day, Rumours is one of the top ten highest selling albums with a sale of over 40 million copies. Besides being on the top with sales, this album was praised from left to right by critics for their captivating lyrics and new California pop/rock sound. The band never had the chance to recover from the relationship issues each person was enduring so the album was driven by raw emotion. The separated couples often stated that the only time they communicated was during the music making process.

Recording the album took about a year, longer than they had originally expected. Their recording sessions became known for being “extremely long and expensive.” After their success from Fleetwood Mac, the band had a large budget. During the production of the album, the use of cocaine was popular. Many people involved in the recording process said a lot of the recordings were done after late night party binges.

The diverse sound throughout the album is a blend of acoustic and electric instruments. Buckingham and Nicks’ harmonious voices were nothing new but with the addition of Christine McVie’s soft alto voice, the sound is flawless. The trio was also Fleetwood Mac’s main writers.

Listening to any song on this album, for even a minute, reveals the depth of the emotional rollercoaster these musicians experienced. The only track on the record that all five of the members are credited to is “The Chain.” The lyrics “and if you don’t love me now, you will never love me again,” give you a glimpse of their pain.

While each writer worked individually on songs, at times they would collaborate. Each song on that album tells a different story. “Gold Dust Woman” was written by Nicks about the hard times endured in Los Angeles and on her addiction to cocaine. Christine McVie wrote “You Make Loving Fun” was written for her new affair with the band’s lighting director.

On almost the 35th anniversary of this album’s release, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is nowhere near to being forgotten.

'Rumours' was Fleetwood Mac's most successful album, selling more than 40 million copies.

Photo credit: amazon.com

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