Fleetwood Mac is no longer a band, but a phenomenon

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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.

1977 via, Wikipedia

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.

 

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One response to “Fleetwood Mac is no longer a band, but a phenomenon”

  1. This is a pretty lame article. Stevie Nicks is one of the only artists, male or female, that has a huge solo career without leaving the huge band she was in, Fleetwood Mac. Her solo debut, “Bella Donna,” hit #1, went multi platinum and launched 4 top 40 singles. The follow-uo, “The wild heart” also went multi platinum and, launched 3 top 40 singles. She has released 8 studio albums, the most recent, “24 Karet gold,” hit #7 in 2014. In 2015, she toured solo for that album, and it was the most successful solo tour she ever had, ranking #10 for the year, selling out arenas, including a 20,000 sold out show in Madison Square Garden. Your article was hardly “obsessing” over Stevie Nicks. You barely covered anything about her almost 5 decade iconic career. You mentioned an old 1979 review in Rolling Stone (the magazine that out her on their cover in 1981 and 2016. And also called her the Queen of Rock and roll.) You also never mentioned the fact that Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album hit #1 for 31 weeks and is one of the top selling albums of all time. Or the the Album before it in 1975, their self titled album when Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined, also hit #1. Nor did you mention anything about the historic “Tusk” album except that “Sisters of the moon” stood out to you. The song “Sara” off that album BTW, hit #7 and us a classic. The band also had a few other huge album s and hits. Your article was very weak.

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