Heroes Are Hard To Find was released September 13, 1974, and would find Fleetwood Mac recording almost exclusively as a four person unit for the first time in its career. Bassist John McVie, keyboardist Christine McVie, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and guitarist Bob Welch were still on hand to carry on.
It was Welch who carried the writing burden for the second album in a row as he wrote seven of the eleven tracks. Christine McVie wrote the remaining four. In some ways the Welch compositions, while very good in places, looked to the band’s past while McVie’s focused on the future. In The United States music buyers embraced this contradiction of styles by making it their most successful release to date reaching number 34 on the album charts.
The album begins with Christine McVie’s brassy title song and her strong vocal performance enhances the sound. “Come A Little Bit Closer” is a pop masterpiece with her piano sound surrounded by strings. They imported pedal steel guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinow to play on the track, which gives it a dash of country.
“Prove Your Love” is the album’s best track. It has a beauty reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s best pop work and contains the feeling of sunset as her soulful vocal washes over you. Even the average “Bad Loser” has a pop sheen to it.
Christine McVie could always sing. She had been honored twice as British Female Vocalist Of The Year for her work with the blues/rock band Chicken Shack. Now she had not only evolved into a very good songwriter but was able to create pop excellence which would have great commercial appeal. She was ready for the next phase of Fleetwood Mac’s career.
Welch’s contributions include a number of styles and sounds. “Coming Home” is a spacey semi-instrumental that is mesmerizing in an odd way. “Angel” may be the hardest rocking song in the Mac catalogue. “Silver Heels” shows what a good lead guitarist he could be at times. While he would never be in the Peter Green or Danny Kirwan category, he was more than competent. The album’s last song, “Safe Harbour,” is a Welch instrumental.
He would leave the group following this release. He had carried the band through their mid-career period and in many ways was responsible for the band’s survival. He had produced music that filled the transition from blues to pop band. He and Christine McVie had complimented each other well and their time together had increased the band’s popularity.
Bob Welch’s time with Fleetwood Mac served the band well and his parting would leave them better off in the long run as his replacements would be guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Heroes Are Hard To Find may not be a classic, but it is more than acceptable and does shine in places. It closed a period in the career of Fleetwood Mac and left them poised to become one of the most popular bands in the world.Powered by Sidelines