FLEETWOOD MAC – ” Rumours ” Happy 40th Anniversary Released this day back in 1977

Posted: February 4, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Just lately I often look at albums and songs I adored growing up as a teenager and cannot believe how long ago that is . I remember listening to Rumours following it through all of my life. It is an album that was blighted by drama as we all know, Christine McVie defined the recording sessions as nothing but drama and arguments and it is a surprise it got finished at all. Given that the band’s two couples Christine McVie and her husband John; Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks ,were embroiled in fights and conflict would have been enough to derail the recording process. As it was, the album Was made and stands as one of history’s greatest classic albums. Before looking at the background and its songs; Steve Nicks wrote Dreams in Sly Stone’s bed whilst credits his dyslexia for Go Your Own Way’s unusual drumming rhythm – there are a lot of other little-known facts you might not know about Rumours. Lindsey Buckingham’s sonic perfectionism meant his guitar was restrung every twenty minutes during Never Going Back Again; The Chain  the legendary epic and only song credited to all five band members – has Christine McVie’s song “Keep Me There” is at the core and was the foundations before other members of the band piled in and added their ideas to the song. John McVie’s ten-note bass passage tees the song whilst Mick Fleetwood’s impassioned percussion gives it its drive and fervency. Aside from the music, the infamous extra-marital affairs threatened to split Fleetwood Mac for good. Not only did some of the songs blatantly put these affairs at their heart – Christine McVie’s “You Make Loving Fun” about the lighting technician she was in a relationship with; Lindsey Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way” a kiss-off and screw-you to Stevie Nicks. “Dreams” perhaps the centrepiece and most astonishing song on the album – struggled to get made and studio time was hard to come by as Buckingham’s iron first ruled the production.

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The drama in Fleetwood Mac heightened shortly after the release of “Rumours”, rehearsal time became even more sacred; they weren’t just running through songs they could play in their sleep, they were reinforcing a bond that only comes with watching songs come to life and remembering how to work together despite their turbulent relationships.

The fact it did get made (with doubts from the band and a lack of enthusiasm) gives Rumours pristine beauty and haunting etherealness – plenty of hopefulness and intricate beauty. Affairs and cocaine were as prevalent and in-demand as was musical impetus and dedication to the music. We all know about the splits, rifts and Mick – quite often the fifth wheel who had to ensure the coldness and immense friction; although his marriage was on the rocks and he had an affair with Nicks around this time. Even before the album started recording, there were problems and press intrusion.

In spite of this, with speculations the original band members would return to the fold, the band came into the studio with plenty of stigma in their blood. Keith Olsen was fired as producer ,who put percussion and rhythm low in the mix – and the McVies formed Seedy Management: a company that put the band’s interest first and ensured recording sessions would begin on a good footing (sound-wise at least). Soon enough Buckingham stepped in and took control of the recording sessions. He wanted to make a ‘Pop’ album which was at odds with other members of the band – who came from a Blues-Rock background and favoured a looser and less disciplined style of recording. Buckingham’s discipline, vision and ultra-precise methodology and studio set-up were unique and inspired. Buckingham and McVie crafted the guitar-and-piano combinations together whilst John McVie played his bass facing Mick Fleetwood’s drums. Buckingham’s configurations and dynamics meant the band members were focused: instruments arranged to create the best sound.

Recording at the Record Plant, there was not a lot of after-recording socialising. Cocaine binges and frosty relationships meant the individual members were isolated throughout much of Rumours and lead to sleepless nights. “Rumours”  music was astonishingly focused and inspiring in spite of all the problems. If you did not know about Fleetwood Mac’s backstory in 1977, you would assume Rumours was the product of a happy and together band in inspired form. Aside from “The Chain” all members coming together in an anthem for unity and holding on  the remaining tracks were written alone by songwriters Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

If Nicks’ Dreams seems like a message to keep focused and do not give in it has a breakup and heartbreak at its centre. The members of Fleetwood Mac were oblivious to the true nature of their (wracked and pain-stricken) songs until hindsight provided clarity. Try and make an album like Rumours today and it would simply not work. For a start, musicians are not as enigmatic and fascinating as the American-British alliance in this band . Despite Nicks’ hostility towards Buckingham – or his towards her more accurately – he still had a knack of making Nicks’ songs sumptuous and beautiful. Yes, there was enormous self-indulgence and excess during the recording that threatened to threaten productivity.

The open-ended budget meant late-night parties would last to the wee hours and sleep was an elusive construct. The band would finish drinking and snorting vast quantities of cocaine, being in a desperate, zombie-like state, and get straight down to recording. It became apparent the most productive results occurred under these conditions.

Talk all you like about legend, folklore and technical specifications: it is the music, pure and simple, the final product is what matters and damned to the petty squabbles around it. The music is near-perfect. You talk about albums that are beyond criticism and should be preserved forever: Rumours is on top of a very elite list.

The interplay between the three vocalists  Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – is stunning and the affection between them heartwarming. They were, and still are, brothers and sisters. Even at their most tense and uncertain, the respect they had for one another as musicians outranked any personal beefs. Buckingham’s crisp, clean and assured production makes songs like “Don’t Stop” infectious, luminous and endlessly catchy.

“Go Your Own Way” is, in my view, the best song on the album and benefits from a truly astonishing vocal turn. Dreams is that divine Nicks hymn; whilst McVie talked about Mick Fleetwood in “Oh Daddy” . ‘Big Daddy’ was the band’s nickname for the drummer – with Nicks providing the final line: “And I can’t walk away from you, baby/If I tried”. Perhaps a shot (from McVie) at the direction Fleetwood was taking the band, or a subtle illusion to their impending affair (Nicks’ line). “Gold Dust Woman” documents the struggles (Nicks) faced in L.A. Christine McVie came into her own as a writer and penned the hair-raising, transcendent “Songbird” – a little prayer from the keyboardist and a song about nobody and everyone. If the band’s two female writers were at their peak Lindsey Buckingham was stealing the limelight. Not only was his leadership and production a major factor in the Rumours’ success but his bittersweet songs were scene-stealing. Go Your Own Way and Never Going Back Again are obvious in their derivation but, mythology and cynicism aside, are incredible works of music. Second Hand News is the acoustic opener that starts things off wonderful; Buckingham’s hand in The Chain cannot be understated. The songwriting credits Buckingham had three solo credits from eleven; Nicks; McVie four makes the album a democracy and collaborative thing.

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In the footage you’re about to hear, there’s an actual Fleetwood Mac rehearsal taking place just before the band embarked on their critically acclaimed Rumours tour in early 1977.

Caught on tape, we can hear Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks delivering entertaining commentary on their roadies, but as soon as Lindsey Buckingham brings “Go Your Own Way” to life, it’s all work from there as the band joins in, treating this sacred rehearsal time as seriously as they would an actual live show.

This is a live version of Lindsey’s legendary song  “Go Your Own Way”(One of my favorite songs of all-time)!! This is from Fleetwood Mac’s GREAT (February 1977) Rumours Tour Rehearsals. Whay a great musician Lindsey is, but this song is his masterpiece. This song is what started it all for me over those years ago.

Check out his breathtaking guitar solo towards the end.

Lindsey wrote Go Your Own Way (about Stevie) while on the road Fleeywood Mac’s 1975 concert tour. Although the second verse ~ Tell me why everything turned around, Packing up, shacking up is all you wanna do ~ wasn’t added to it until later ~1976. Stevie had asked him to remove the ~ Packing up, shacking up part, but he refused to do so. (I’m glad he kept it in.)

The Rumours world tour saw Fleetwood Mac on the road from February 24th, 1977 through to December 10th of that year, hitting North America, Europe, Japan and Oceania.

What makes this clip so great is hearing the teamwork that goes into making a song like “Go Your Own Way” happen – you never realize how intricate the guitar work actually is, and this rehearsal audio is sure to make you appreciate Fleetwood Mac’s attention to detail and out of this world live performances even more!.

Rare Rehearsal Tape Reveals How Fleetwood Mac Brought “Go Your Own Way” To Life | Society Of Rock Videos

There are few albums as enduring and as mysterious as Rumours. It is a fascinating album in terms of its production and behind-the-scenes revelations but even more so from a musical perspective. The rumours and explosions might have salivated the mouths of the press but the band were keen to bridge the divided and come together to create a truly wonderful album. That is exactly what they did in 1976. When the album was released a year later, contemporary critics were raving. They noted how the music was directly propelled by inner-turmoils and romantic entanglements. As I said, most bands would be unable to separate life from art whereas Fleetwood Mac were all too aware of the reality of their situations but used it to create some of the finest music of the 1970s. It is radio-friendly and shiny; it has gloss and immaculate production but plenty of emotions and contradictions. The vocals, especially from Stevie Nicks, range from wailing and harrowed to sensual and alluring, whereas the compositions and song structures are immaculate. There is not a song immune from high praise and the album is an extraordinary testament to a group of musicians who found love and common ground in the middle of divorced relations and drug-filled chaos. I don’t understand why as yet why has nobody made a film/drama about Fleetwood Mac’s astonishing story?! Magazines, websites and music fans constantly place Rumours near the (or at) the top of their greatest albums polls. Musicians around the world have been inspired by the music and continue to source it forty years down the line. There are few albums as long-lasting as Fleetwood Mac’s masterpiece. It is a wonderful record .

thanks musicmusingsandsuch for the words

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