As JVN would say, I’m having a fangirl moment about Fleetwood Mac .
I am always here for any of the many women of rock and roll. Right now, I am here to obsess over Stevie Nicks. I discounted Fleetwood Mac because for some reason, (@ the Dixie Chicks version of “Landslide”) I thought they were a country band. Yes, I have been living under a rock. You have to admit they are very rock-folk which can sometimes be very country- adjacent.
For some reason, (@ the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2″ soundtrack) I discovered “The Chain” is actually one of the best songs of all time. Since then, I have been taking in 17 albums and 40 years of Fleetwood Mac. I bought a copy of “Shrine ‘69″ at Instant Karma Records (an amazing little Record shop on Cape Cod) and was disappointed to find it was pre- Stevie Nicks. I didn’t know the band was ever without Stevie Nicks- -my first clue that I knew nothing. Both the album and the Wikipedia page did not disappoint.
In the 5-plus hours I have spent reading and listening to all their albums, hearing all their transitions and reading the stories behind them, I have become convinced that Fleetwood Mac is not a group of people. It is a monstrous mix of genres and times. It is more like a house, book, or classic grungy New York City music venue. People come and go, but Fleetwood Mac exists outside if it all. Years and years later it’s still here. Fleetwood Mac has become a phenomenon.
“Shrine ‘69” was released in 2000 but is a live recording of a show they played in 1969. It showcases some of the bands original members. I fell in love with this album driving through the Appalachian mountains of Virginia at sunset, which I recommend. This album is perfect driving at night music. Its scrolling blues and beautiful guitar is very vibe-y. The sound at this time was mainly credited to Danny Kirwin who was only 18 at the time and is listed as a self- taught prodigy. Very true. The album made me add this show to my list of places I would go if I ever invent a time machine.
This prompted me to find an album that was during the Stevie Nicks era. I found “Tusk” at another little record shop which was the size of your childhood bedroom and the guy told me “I knew this would sell, Fleetwood Mac never stays long.”
Track 10, “Sisters of the Moon” is a standout, but the album as a whole had me googling “Fleetwood Mac Albums Ranked.” I wanted to get serious about my Fleetwood Mac education, and this fumbling around was taking too long. This is when I discovered “Rumors“ or I should say, I discovered that all these songs I have loved for years are by Fleetwood Mac. They all came from one album. That is unheard of. Hence the new obsession.
One of the things I love about Rolling Stone Magazine is you can read almost every article they have ever published in their archives. Finding an old album review is like finding your grandmother’s family in the 1940s census. You already know what it is going to say, but it is still cool to see.
The 1977 review of “Rumors” by John Swanson praises Christine McVie overall. Essentially saying that without her, the vocals would lack character. Which is interesting considering now, we hear more about Nicks and Buckingham than any other member of the band. Swanson claims the addition of Buckingham and Nicks made the band more accessible and credited Buckingham with a few stand outs, but felt Nicks’ performance fell flat.
We often see the duo credited as the change that sparked Fleetwood Mac’s success, but Swanson predicts it is Mick Fleetwood who would take the album from successful to classic. He applauds using bass and guitar to keep rhythm and Fleetwood’s percussion as “punctuation,” saying “a touch like that can turn a good song into a classic” and that it did.