Two former members of the legendary band Fleetwood Mac have announced tour dates. Both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham will be traveling across the U.S. this autumn. In our anticipation for both of their treks, we're honoring their musical legacies with a Top 10 list of Fleetwood Mac songs. It's about time we covered the legendary band!
Fleetwood Mac is a group that needs no introduction - but we'll give them a brief one anyways. The British-American rock band was formed in London in 1967. It was founded by guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Jeremy Spencer, before bassist John McVie joined the line-up for their self-titled debut album. Danny Kirwan joined as a third guitarist in 1968, and keyboardist/vocalist Christine Perfect, who contributed as a session musician from the second album, married McVie and joined in 1970.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham eventually joined the fray in 1974, after the two were scouted following all three original guitarists leaving the band. Buckingham and Nicks gave the band a more pop rock sound, and their 1975 self-titled album, Fleetwood Mac, reached #1 in the U.S. Then came along Rumours (1977) which produced four U.S. Top 10 singles and remained at number one on the American albums chart for 31 weeks. It reached the top spot in countries around the world and won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1978. The album has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums in history.
Although each member of the band went through a breakup (John and Christine McVie, Buckingham and Nicks, and Fleetwood and his wife Jenny) while recording Rumours, they continued to write and record music together. The chain between the members didn't break until 1980, and after replacement guitarists kept the band afloat, Fleetwood Mac officially broke up in 1995. Although they've made appearances together after their split, the band's legacy has, for the most part, been laid out. Below are the ten tracks in our discography that we feel are their most timeless.
10. "You Make Loving Fun"
A pure toe-tapper, “You Make Loving Fun” is a love song with a more optimistic tone than most songs on Rumours. It depicts McVie moving on from past troubles into a life with a new lover. The song was inspired by McVie’s relationship with Curry Grant following the split with her husband, bassist John McVie.
“You Make Loving Fun” became the 4th top-ten hit for Fleetwood Mac, peaking at #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also became a concert staple for the entirety of McVie’s time with the band, only stopping between 1997-2014 when she left Fleetwood Mac for a while. We feel "You Make Loving Fun" is an underrated track on the band's hit record. With its beautiful accents and gorgeous vocals, it makes us believe in miracles.
9. "Little Lies"
This is Fleetwood Mac's last Top 10 hit. It was another banger written by the great Christine McVie and her (then) husband, Eddy Quintela. Part of the album Tango in the Night, "Little Lies" was recorded in 1987 after the band’s four year hiatus from working together. It's about a couple who's grown apart and decide it's better to tell each other lies than keep moving forward in an inauthentic relationship.
Most of the songs on Tango in the Night were actually written for a solo Lindsey Buckingham album, but eventually were used for the band’s last record in its most well known line-up (Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John and Christine McVie, and Mick Fleetwood). "Little Lies" remains one of the band's most popular songs from their later era. Hilary Duff even did a cover of it for Younger! We can't lie - this song is the bee's knees.
8. "Don't Stop"
Released as a single in April 1977, "Don't Stop" is another song written by - you guessed it - Christine McVie. She wrote the track in the aftermath of her divorce from band bassist John McVie. McVie wrote about getting to a place where the relationship of her past was mostly a thing of a different time and place. The song is a pep talk to move forward, as the refrain “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” and the lyrics "It'll be better than before / Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone" demonstrate.
"Don't Stop" became famous to another generation when Bill Clinton adopted it as the theme song for his 1992 U.S. presidential campaign. Clinton must have been a big fan of the band, because for his inauguration in 1993, the band’s Rumours-era lineup reunited on stage for the first time in more than a decade to play the song.
Romantic, dreamy, and full of awesome new age rock sounds, "Everywhere" is another Tango In the Night track full of heart. This is yet another credit for Chrisine McVie (seriously, the lady is one of the most talented songwriters of our time), and was released in the United Kingdom on February 24, 1988. It reached #4 on the charts there and also fared well on the U.S. and Australian charts.
The airy "Everywhere" was Fleetwood Mac’s final single to break the American Top 20. The song’s recording was fraught with tension thanks to an argument that took place after Nicks heard an early version without her harmonies. (She’d been largely absent from the Tango sessions due to her touring schedule and a stint in the Betty Ford Center.) Her vocals were eventually added, and she’s since warmed to the tune. Not only is Fleetwood Mac's performance of this song great, but covers of "Everywhere" are just as beautiful. Our personal favorite is Paramore's rendition.
One of the biggest hits by the band, “Gypsy” is both a nostalgic reflection of Stevie Nicks’s free-spirited life before joining Fleetwood Mac and a gorgeous tribute to her late friend, Robin Snyder Anderson. Written between 1978 and 1979, the ballad was going to be on Stevie Nicks’s solo album, Bella Donna. But when Nicks’s pregnant friend Anderson told her she’d been diagnosed with terminal leukemia, she decided to save the song for Fleetwood Mac’s next album.
In regards to the song’s ideas about going back to your roots, Stevie Nicks has stated, “In the old days, before Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey and I had no money, so we had a king-size mattress, but we just had it on the floor. I had old vintage coverlets on it, and even though we had no money it was still really pretty...Just that and a lamp on the floor, and that was it—there was a certain calmness about it. To this day, when I’m feeling cluttered, I will take my mattress off of my beautiful bed, wherever that may be, and put it outside my bedroom, with a table and a little lamp.”
Nicks has also spoken about the song's more somber inspiration. “Gypsy is a lot about returning to San Francisco. And Gypsy was written when my best friend died of Leukemia and uh...about the fact that she wasn’t going to see the rest of this: I still see your bright eyes, it was like she wasn’t...going to make it. And uh, I was like the lone gypsy - this was my best friend from when I was 15 and so I was a solo gypsy all of a sudden and it was very sad for me and that’s sometimes when I write my very best songs.”
One of the greatest witchy songs ever written! Okay, well...maybe Rhiannon isn't necessarily a witch. She's more of a Welsh witch goddess. But still, this song is heavily associated with modern witchcraft and sorcery - especially after its famous feature in American Horror Story Season 3. We're still waiting to come home to Stevie Nicks randomly playing this song for us.
"Rhiannon" is considered Fleetwood Mac’s singer Stevie Nicks' signature song. It really only works with Stevie's signature vibrato! The bop - which tells the story of Rhiannon and her lover - is one of the many classic hits produced by the group in the mid ‘70s, constantly voted as one of the top all time 500. "Rhiannon" debuted as part of the group’s self-titled album.
Emotional and raw, "Landslide" is one of those ballads best played late at night when you want to get in your feels. This is another Stevie Nicks signature song, written by the artist while she was in Aspen, Colorado. She was inspired to write "Landslide" while looking out at the mountains, realizing everything in her life she’d been building could come crashing down at any time. "Landslide" tells an epic tale of love and life artfully woven behind the metaphor of a snowy mountain avalanche.
"Landslide" was never originally released as a single (“Over My Head”, “Rhiannon” & “Say You Love Me” were the album’s three top 20 hits), but it is considered one of the most known and cherished songs of the band’s repertoire. In 1998, a live recording of the song managed to reach #51 in the United States. And yes - we've heard that recording played on radio stations in the wee hours of the night.
3. "The Chain"
Fleetwood Mac's most hardcore song, "The Chain" is a rockin' banger about the bond that keeps a relationship going and never-ending. It can also be seen as the tight chain that keeps the band together; linking the members together in ways that don’t allow them to truly part ways. Of all the songs on Rumours, perhaps "The Chain" is the best representation of the group's strife at the time. After all, it was the first song written for the album.
Created when the band members were not on talking terms due to breakups and rifts in the relationships they had, the lyrics are often said to have been attacks at each other, but the band also suggests there is some underlying love that doesn’t let them completely part ways. "The Chain" is the only song on Rumours written by all of the members of Fleetwood Mac. It started off as another Chrisine McVie song, but then Stevie Nicks wrote some lyrics, John McVie contributed the bass line, Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut worked on drums, and Lindsey Buckingham added in some more sounds. When "The Chain" was finally finished, only the ending of Christine's original song remained. Truly, this was the piece of work that kept the band from falling apart.
2. "Go Your Own Way"
A song that works for breakups, road trips, or running to the other side of the country. “Go Your Own Way” was the first single from Rumours. And it's remained one of the most enduring songs from Fleetwood Mac.
Written by Lindsey Buckingham about Stevie Nicks, "Go Your Own Way" is about the speaker accepting their relationship has fallen apart and deciding to move forward into the unknown. As you can imagine, Stevie Nicks has said this song has been the hardest to perform live in concert with Buckingham – but it's considered a Fleetwood Mac classic, so she struggles through it.
One story claims the band gave an early demo of the song to a Los Angeles DJ to test audience response. The DJ then said the song would not work on the radio because of its complicated rhythm. Only then did Lindsey Buckingham add the acoustic guitar, later saying that the acoustic guitar part "was the glue that brought the whole song into focus."
Stevie Nicks has said she believes this musical version of her breakup with Buckingham to be cruel and malicious. Fortunately, she wrote her own song about the relationship. And "Go Your Own Way" is considered to be the twin of that song, which happens to be #1 on our list...
Even before that TikTok guy riding a skateboard and drinking cranberry juice graced us with this jam, "Dreams" has been pleasing our earholes through majestic car rides, mellow summer days, and colorful sunsets. Despite the overall success of Rumours, “Dreams” managed to become Fleetwood Mac’s only No #1 hit in the U.S. back in 1977.
Stevie Nicks wrote "Dreams" in only ten minutes on Sly Stone's bed. Audio engineer Ken Caillat once recalled the origin of the song:
"Stevie used to get bored, sitting around while all the technical stuff was going on, so she asked if there was a room with a piano to noodle around on.
Well, the Record Plant told her she could use Sly Stone’s studio — a little sunken room that they’d built for him to work in — and one day while we were working on some track, she came in and said, ‘I’ve just written the most amazing song.’ ‘Really? Let’s hear it.’"
"So, she walked over to the Rhodes — which, like everything else, was always mic’d up and ready to go — and she played ‘Dreams’. Everyone else joined in, she did a guide vocal, and that was the keeper. It’s the only time that ever happened. She tried to redo the vocal again and again, but she could never beat the original. I actually wanted her to beat it, because it had the drums leaking into her vocal mic and, in a couple of spots where she sang softly, I had to ride it up and you could hear even more of the snare. Still, it was a one-off."
From the iconic opening line ("Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom / Well, who am I to keep you down?"), to the sweeping chorus, "Dreams" is a effortlessly timeless reflection of the natural emotions that come with a breakup. Madness and tears are compared to thunder and rain, and the words "had" and "lost" are repeated in a sorrowful cycle. There's no other way to put it: "Dreams" is one of the greatest songs in music history.
Check out our selection of free stations streaming Fleetwood Mac music at Live365.com.
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