Fleetwood Macâ€™s Rumours has sold over 15 million copies and spent 130 weeks on the U.S. Billboard album charts. You couldnâ€™t escape the album back in 1978 even if you tried.
It was a commercial juggernaut built upon lovers breaking up, exhaustive recording sessions at the Record Plant, and the standard rock and roll hedonism with emotional accompaniment; an archetype of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. This was something I hated with a passion.
For a very long time Fleetwood Mac, along with the dreaded Eagles, embodied that entire decadent cocaine California music world that punk opposed and if one of their songs came on the radio I would come near to tearing the dial off as I changed it. I bought into what I thought was the nihilistic vision of truth a group like the Sex Pistols offered, while missing the same impulse in the glossy sound of Fleetwood Mac.
After Bill Clinton used â€śDonâ€™t Stopâ€ť in his 1992 campaign I felt even more justified in dismissing Rumours as merely another massively popular piece of musical fluff to have come from the fantasy wonderland of L.A. with all of the individuality of a thistle weed â€“ a pretty flower easily blown apart by the wind so more of its less-appealing characteristic prickles could be spread. There is actually a lot of truth in that statement and itâ€™s a major reason for the albums classic appeal, hence this DVD release.
The sharp taste of heartbreak is all over the album and I could only get it after going through my own share. By the time the mid-90s rolled around I was ready to discover the greatness I had rebelled against.
I began to appreciate Lindsey Buckinghamâ€™s production style first. Then I read what Greil Marcus wrote about â€śGo Your Own Wayâ€ť included in Ranters & Crowd Pleasers:
â€śGo Your Own Wayâ€ť was rough, harsh, hard to follow. From its opening notes it was a maelstrom, excitement, and nothing else. It was an assault, a hammering, the singer moaning and threatening, pleading and damning; it didnâ€™t let up for a second.
Coming two thirds of the way through the performance, the requisite instrumental break should have provided a rest; instead it raised the stakes. When Lindsey Buckingham dropped his words for a guitar solo â€“ a shattered, severed solo almost drowning in a dozen more overdubbed guitar parts, the off-beat rhythm chasing his lead, then overtaking him, then seeming to wait for him to catch up, which he never quite did â€“ the song began all over again. Ten years later, I flinch every time it comes on the radio, knowing whatâ€™s coming, knowing that no matter how completely I can predict whatâ€™s going to happen, I wonâ€™t be able to catch up: the instrumental passage supersedes not only the singing that precedes it, but the ability of memory to enclose it.
This led me to actually take the time to really listen to â€śGo Your Own Wayâ€ť and when I took that step it was like getting my face punched.