I’ve been a bit of a closet Fleetwood Mac fan for around 20 years now and no, they weren’t cool then either. Fortunately I’m now at an age where cool doesn’t matter.
Fleetwood Mac are named after the drummer Mick Fleetwood but oddly enough he wasn’t the driving force behind the music initially. That honour went to Peter Green, author of such awesome tunes as Oh Well, Albatross, Black Magic Woman (NOT a Santana original at all) and Green Manalishi. Still, this post isn’t about the more blues orientated early incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, it’s about the entirely more surreal late 70’s pop influenced version.
Decidedly odd because by that stage a number of personal problems were assaulting the band members. Two of them, Christine (keyboards/vocals) and John (bassist) McVie, were in the process of watching their 8 year long marriage fall to pieces. Mick Fleetwood had found out his wife and mother to his two kids was having an affair with his best friend and Lindsey Buckingham’s on/off relationship with Stevie Nicks was on the ropes again.
So against the backdrop of the failing relationships within the band, there was more than a smidgeon of excessive excess as it were. “The band would come in at 7 at night, have a big feast, party till 1 or 2 in the morning, and then when they were so whacked-out they couldn’t do anything, they’d start recording”. is one of my favourite quotes from the recording of Rumours and it’s fairly indicative of what was going on. I remember reading a story saying that members of the band actually lived in the studio to stop the masters being fiddled with and it sounds entirely plausable.
Given the year it was recorded in, 1977, Rumours is very much of it’s time but there can’t be a proper F1 fan out there who wont know half of one of their tracks intimately because the second part of The Chain (3 minutes 4 seconds in on the studio recording) is the BBC’s long running F1 theme tune. My mate Jimbo always wondered why someone would put on the F1 theme tune after Fleetwood Mac on the university jukebox until we told him he was a plonker. Still, the Chain wasn’t the only great track on the album, there are plenty of others.
So without further ado, I give you a live version of The Chain, in all his hideous 1970’s hair and fashion. Enjoy