Fleetwood Mac

Reprise Records, 1977

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Conflict never sounded so good than it does on Fleetwood Mac’s twelfth studio effort, Rumours. If their previous self-titled album brought the band attention here in the United States, then Rumours was the album that put them way over the top. To say it was a smashing success would be an understatement. Recorded during a particularly trying time for the five Mac members, this disc was the sonic equivalent to all the drama that was swirling around them. Despite negative interfering elements such as drugs and divorce, Fleetwood Mac was able to rise above the fray and put out an album that continues to outsell all others to this very day.

As the Album Of The Year winner for 1977, Rumours was produced by Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat. It yielded four hit singles, most notably their first and only number one, “Dreams,” a low-key, graceful ballad written and performed by Stevie Nicks. There’s also Bill Clinton’s campaign theme song “Don’t Stop,” which not only helped Clinton get elected in 1992, but brought all five members of Fleetwood Mac together for the first time in five years. It would be the first of many reunions for the group, with the one in 1997 being the most relevant since it was the 20th anniversary of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Rumours. Celebrating this momentous event, Fleetwood Mac took the stage for an MTV special called The Dance. Later, they would kick off a World Tour that was an immediate sellout. But this was the tour that nearly did Christine McVie in, making her decision to drop out of the band even easier.

It wasn’t the first time that Fleetwood Mac would lose a member or two. Back in the late ‘60s, Fleetwood Mac started out as an all-male blues outfit. In 1974, after several personnel changes, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and his bride (and newest band mate) Christine McVie went on a search for some new blood, as well as a new sound. Upon recruiting Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac would never be the same again. The Rumours song “Never Going Back Again” capitalized on this notion of leaving one’s past behind and “Go Your Own Way” is a motivating anthem for seizing an opportunity that is right there in front of you. The magic that happened when the newly- christened Fleetwood Mac convened in the same room together for the first time was palpable. With so many creative sparks flying in all directions, the band became a monster that only the most focused and levelheaded producers could tame.

Through all the melodrama, the five members forged a strong, unbreakable bond that would carry them far. Together, they penned the ultimate Fleetwood Mac track, “The Chain,” which would open every successive Fleetwood Mac live show. Christine’s signature tear-jerker “Songbird” would, in turn, be the swan song that would send audience members peacefully and blissfully on their way home. Another poignant concert highlight has recently become the one song that had been initially left on the cutting room floor, “Silver Springs,” though thankfully it has been restored in the track listing of the new and improved re-mastered version of the album.

Rootsy, acoustic classic rock, a staple of radio stations in 1977, can be found all over Rumours, from the rockabilly shuffle of “Second Hand News” to the melodic harmonies of “I Don’t Want To Know.” As solid as Christine McVie’s songs are, they are simply no match for the ones penned by Stevie Nicks. While “Oh Daddy” seems to fade into the scenery, “Gold Dust Woman” sounds as if it comes from another world or dimension entirely. With such a beguiling statement, Nicks instantly became known as the high priestess of rock. Not so much a witch as a gypsy, Nicks was soon destined to become a solo star in her own right -- though her friends in Fleetwood Mac would always be waiting to welcome her back into the fold. Business may be business, but friendship (and a classic album like Rumours) is forever.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-



© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.