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Music Review: Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

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Mick Fleetwood and John McVie started a nice little blues band back in the 1960s. Despite personnel changes, both professional and personal, the band endured and increased in popularity while transitioning from a traditional blues band to a pop/rock group. Their tenth self-titled album brought the band acclaim and unprecedented commercial success as it topped the American charts and ultimately sold in the neighborhood of five million copies. Fleetwood and McVie must have been feeling pretty good when they entered the studio during 1976 to record their next album.

Rumours was released February 4, 1977, and remains one of the most successful albums in music history. It topped the United States album charts for 31 weeks and sold 19 millions copies while producing four top ten singles. It also topped the British charts and sold 10 million copies in that country as well. When all was said and done, it became one of only ten albums to sell in excess of 40 million copies worldwide.

Rumours is rightly recognized as being pop perfection. The songwriting, harmonies, melodies, and slick production all added up to a perfect mix.

Christine McVie had been developing as a writer of pop songs, and here she created several of her masterpieces. “Don’t Stop” was a personal song about the end of her relationship with husband John McVie but from an optimistic viewpoint. It is catchy pop/rock at its best and reached number three as a single release. “You Make Lovin’ Fun” was another hit single in the same vein. This time it dealt with her affair with a member of their road crew that put the fun back in her love life. “Songbird” is a gentle song with an innate beauty. “Oh Daddy” may be a bit melancholy, but it is another song encased in pop melodies.

The three Stevie Nicks tunes are highlighted by the number one hit single “Dreams.” It would further cement her growing reputation as the pop witch queen. “Gold Dust Woman” is delicate pop that she was so good at creating.

Lindsey Buckingham’s major contribution was “Go Your Own Way.” His song was about his break-up with Nicks, coached in harmonies and melody. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the 119th best song of all time, and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame honored it as one of The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll.

“The Chain” is a rare Fleetwood Mac song that gives writing credit to all five members. Their 1992 4 CD, compilation box set, 25 Years: The Chain took its title from the song. It was a group effort and makes one wish they could have joined together more often.

Rumours remains one of the key releases in pop/rock history. It has been honored for decades and has kept Fleetwood Mac among the elite artists of the music world since its release.


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About David Bowling

  • With all due respect for the commercial success talent and musicianship of Fleetwood Mac of the mid 70s on, the early incarnations of this group were hardly John and Mick’s “little blues band.” In fact, the band was founded by one of the greatest electric guitarists of his generation, and was originally called ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. They had radio hits with their original ‘Black Magic Woman,’ ‘Albatross,’ and other songs. The band was highly respected and I influential. After many albums and numerous personnel changes only Fleetwood and McVie remained, the bassist and drummer. They evolved into a commercially successful pop band that bore no resemblence to the original group, which did begin as a blues based enterprise. But to dismiss that original group as was done in this blog is either a result of poor research, ignorance or tin ears. You should pull out some of those early Fleetwood Mac records out of your collection of 50,000 and actually listen to them and experience the power of the three lead guitar line up of Green, Spencer, and Kirwin. Not to take anything against the more well known group – they knew how to make excellent sounding records that sold amazingly, and I personally saw them live during this era, they were good. But, I’ll take that ‘little blues band’ any day over the coked up over produced pap of the better known version of this band.

  • Sure, it’s a classic, I’ll agree, but at he time, I was really into The Stooges, MC5, etc., and this seemed so lightweight – not rock ‘n’ roll enough. Ah well, I guess you have to grow into some things – I didn’t like the Beatles much either ’til I was almost 30.

  • I remember seeing them that summer in Madison Square Garden. Stevie had that witch outfit on, and the place was just rocking. This is without a doubt their greatest album and one of the all time great rock albums.