I was sitting around with a bunch of friends the other night, all of whom emphatically expressed their admiration of Fleetwood Mac, but what songs did they mention? Nothing released post-Rumours.
Here’s how I see it, and I may suffer from false information or perception, so those with true knowledge can correct me if I’m wrong. In the late-60s/early-70s, Fleetwood Mac was a “muscian’s band,” in the sense that other musicians appreciated their music, but they had limited, if any, commercial success. When Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined, they were considered more like add-ons versus future stars of the group. But their talent was fueled by their faltering romance, and Fleetwood Mac completed a HUGE masterpiece that they were never able to come close to replicating again, despite the competency of all involved. Certainly, the other members of the band — Mick Fleetwood and Christie and John McVie added their own “spice of life” into the mix.
This story never fails to absorb my mind when I consider it. Think about Tusk, think about the solo careers, think about “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies…”. This stuff is nothing compared to the solid rock hits they nailed on Rumours. Not only are the songs tight and terrific, you can actually hear the angst that fuels the power in tracks like “You Can Go Your Own Way” or “The Chain”. Talk about what the anguish of failed relationships and hedonistic behavior can do for a band’s ability to create universally adored music!
Rumours was Fleetwood Mac’s 11th album. Fleetwood Mac before it also featured the Buckingham/Nicks line-up, but neither in the years before nor the years after did they do anything even close to this. This album reportedly sold over 40 million copies. This album is probably in your big brothers’ (or your own) record collection. You might even have it on vinyl. The intern at your office might even have it on iTunes. This is a piece of work that truly stands on its merits, because it wouldn’t have this kind of staying power if it didn’t.
The case I am trying to make is that you can be a great songwriter, musician and performer and never reach this level of accomplishment. That’s a total understatement… of course that happens. But, if it hadn’t been for all that the band had been going through, would they have pulled off something like Rumours at all?