Fleetwood Mac

Reprise Records, 1977

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Intense, internal drama always adds a kick to a final piece of work. Francis Ford Coppola suffered through loads of it and came out with a great flick: "Apocalypse Now." In fact, the drama behind that flick was so great, they had to make a film about filming the movie with "Heart Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse".

Fast foreward to the music world. For internal drama, few bands can equal Fleetwood Mac in the late '70s. Though I can only imagine how difficult it was to record an album and be in front of someone that has torn your heart out, I have to snicker at the band. Workers and lovers rarely mix. On a good side, their angst for each other gave us an album that defined a decade and still holds the record for the most weeks at number one with 34 weeks. Rumours was packed with great pop smarts, and even more important :a soul. It's the ultimate hangover album for the lovestruck.

Expectations were high when the album came out. Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood had themselves tangled up with one another in some form. All of the anger and frustration of being locked up in the studio came out with "I Don't Want To Know". A nice, poppy little ditty, with stark, frank lyrics. "Now you tell me that I'm crazy, it's nothing that I didn't know.." a chipper clap shimmers after that vinegar tinged line. Though they wanted to kill each other, they still wanted to sound damn good while they were doing it.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The guys in the band got a chance to lash out with harder driving songs like "Go Your Own Way" and the great, galloping guitar sound of "Second Hand News". Though the self-depreciating lyrics have been carbon copied by thousands of imitators, all of the songs reveal a complex account of their despair. "Second Hand News", "Never Going Back Again" both go from anger, to humor to insecureness. It all works perfectly with "The Chain", a sort of tennis match between lovers.

Rumours is not all veiled in black velvet though. The optimistic tones of "You Make Loving Fun" prefectly show a renewed sense of love. It's one of Christine McVie's shining moments in the band. "Don't Stop" is a great tune that turned into a presidential anthem. After listening to Rumours again and again though, it makes me wonder, with all of President Bill's extra-marital affairs in question, why the hell did he choose a song from this album to define his campaign?!

With over 20 million albums sold, Rumours is going to be one of those albums that will be associated with a generation. You hear it on soft rock music stations today still..I heard it on laughing gas in my dentist's office. The feelings the band conveyed were real though, and it hasn't lost much age at all, despite all of the heavy airplay.

The final song on Rumours is the most chilling. Stevie Nicks casts a great spell on "Gold Dust Woman". A meatphor or two is used, but for the most part, it's all coming straight from the heart. As a sparse, cryptic guitar plays a simple chord, Nicks swoons "Did she make you cry/make you break down/ shatter your illusions of love?".

As some of you know, Fleetwood Mac have reunited to do a couple of dates to comemmorate the 20th aniversary of Rumours. Gossip says that Nicks and Buckingham were getting friendly during one of the rehearsals. I can only hope this was a...rumour. You'd think after a hellish recording session like the one 20 years ago, the band would learn. Still though, it's good to see this album be recognized again. Its foothold in the history of rock is already established. The only thing that would make this album fade is if every relationship, from now on ends on a happy note, which... just won't happen. Throw this tape and Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville in your car and you've got the definitive breakup albums in the last 20 years. Rock on "Gold Dust" women...and men.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-


This is the apex of the band, but its not my fav. This is, however, one of the albums I sometimes wish I could hear for the first time again. Y'know?

© 1997 Sean McCarthy 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.