I love music that plays somewhere in that glitterball-lit realm between disco, house, dub, funk, rock 'n roll, and pop. This site will host mixes I've made and songs I like that dance across the genres. Let me know what you think. And if you've got a party or night you'd like moving to this sound, drop me a line on rorychallands (at) gmail (dot) com.

Return of the Mac

It's weird I haven't been into Fleetwood Mac longer than I actually have. I've always been a sucker for that place where polished 70s rock meets pop. But my almost fevered current obsession has only really been burning for a couple of years or so. I think the catalyst was my friend Dom telling me he'd never copied Rumours to his iPod, because the only situation worthy of being blessed by the great album was after a night out, drunk, lying on the sofa. Since my addiction has blossomed I've never been able to practice such self restraint.

Anyway, I went to see them in concert last weekend, and they were absolutely wonderful. Age has taken the higher notes out of Stevie Nicks' voice, and Christine McVie quit back in the 90s, but this is a band that still loves to play. They've got a staggering collection of great songs, and such a tumultuous personal history that each rendition seemed like a cathartic autobiography being played out in front me. Possibly the most jaw-dropping moment was Lindsey Buckingham doing a virtuoso solo accoustic version of Big Love. It climaxed (almost literally) with a possessed Buckingham howling out the oohs and ahhs that come (whoops) at the end. It's a song that obviously means a lot to him.

So, I thought I'd post a song each from their four biggest albums: Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Tusk, and Tango In The Night. These aren't necessarily my absolute favourites, because there are too many of those, but they hopefully highlight the strengths of the band's three songwriter/singers.

Landslide is off the first album FM released after Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had joined. They were a romantic couple as well as a musical one - but they weren't getting on while Fleetwood Mac was being recorded in 1975. Landslide is Stevie meditating on their relationship, and it shows off her earthy, sensual voice beautifully.

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When Rumours was being written everything was going tits-up in a huge way. Nicks and Buckingham were splitting up, and the band's other couple bassist John McVie and his wife Christine were also on ropes. Christine was fed up with John's boozing, and had left him for the band's lighting guy. So she wrote You Make Loving Fun for her new fella. It's a lovely uptempo groover. I wonder what John was thinking as he tapped out that bass line. Rumours is an album born of total disfunction between band members - and it sold absolutely gazillions.


Tusk is a bit more difficult to choose from as it's so much bigger. It's a sprawling double album of 20 tracks that was the most expensive record ever produced when it was released in 1979. By the standards set by Rumours, Tusk was a commercial turkey. But it's still a phenomenal piece of work. I wanted to put a Buckingham track up from Tusk (he wrote the lion's share of it), but I've gone for another Christine McVie song. She's sometimes described as the most conventional writer of the band - yet Brown Eyes is anything but. It's got a minimalist aesthetic, and paradoxically manages to be lush at the same time. The hushed, layered vocals, and metronomic high-hat cymbal make this a really hypnotic song.


After Tusk, Fleetwood Mac were almost spent. Everyone was shagging someone they shouldn't have been, and writing songs about their twisted relationships with each other. And then there was the cocaine. Mountains of cocaine. Oh, and tranquillisers too. So Nicks and Buckingham drifted off for solo careers, and the next couple of FM albums, though strong in many parts, weren't classics. But in 1987 they managed to pull it back together for Tango In The Night. It's a very 80s album, full of synthesizers and pop sheen - and if you ever want to getting a wedding party jumping, play Everywhere or Little Lies. That sounds like faint praise, but it's really not meant like that. So here's Big Love, the Buckingham track I mentioned at the start, but in its original form.


I really urge you to get these albums. Not because Fleetwood Mac need the money (they really really don't) but because they're the high points of one of the best and most distinctive bands ever. I can't think of any other that's combined such singing/songwriting breadth with such a unique interpersonal dynamic.

Buy them below:
Fleetwood Mac

3 comments:

Dominic said...

Quite right!! It (or Kate Bush)completes any 4am session of on line Pro-Evolution.

Edge of 17 by Stevie Nicks is a belter.

sam.deards said...

Rozer - what about Early FWM? ie Man of the world, Albatross, Black Magic Woman etc. I think you are missing a trick here. Love the later stuff too mind.

The Milky Bar Kid said...

Certainly some cracking stuff Sambo, and you're right that it deserves love. I personally find too much of it a bit derivatively bluesy, though. I think Muddy Waters probably did it better. But nobody did 70s soft rock with the same hit rate that late FM did.