Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

Claire Payne, Reporter

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is more than just an album. Upon its release in 1977, it became the fastest-selling album of all time, moving 800,000 copies per week at its height, and its success made Fleetwood Mac a cultural phenomenon.

If you’re somehow unfamiliar with this world-renowned band, Fleetwood Mac is an iconic British-American rock band prevalent during the 70s and 80s. “Through the Seventies, the band’s personnel and style shifted with nearly every recording as Fleetwood Mac metamorphosed from a traditionalist British blues band to the maker of one of the best-selling pop albums ever, Rumours, then kept on for decades after that — to varying degrees of success,” says Rolling Stone.

By the time it was produced, it “played like a reaping: a finely polished post-hippie fallout, unaware that the twilight hour of the free love era was fixing and there would be no going back,” says music critic, Jessica Hopper.

The album starts out with “Second Hand News,” a playful and upbeat pop song. However, the lyrics tell a completely different story. Lindsey Buckingham (aka songwriter, guitarist, and male vocalist for band) disguises his true feelings of loss and unrequited love into the lively guitar strums and poppy “bam’s.” Buckingham cites influences as the Bee Gee’s “Jive Talking,” and “Scottish-Irish-Folk.”

Buckingham continues rocking out in tracks in “Never Going Back Again”, “Go Your Own Way”, “The Chain”, and “I Don’t Want to Know.” “Never Going Back Again” is characterized by bubbly guitar picking and smooth vocals. While “Go Your Own Way” features strong harmonies and a more rock feel in comparison to the “Never Going Back Again” acoustic feeling. “The Chain” and “I Don’t Want to Know” both features duets with Buckingham and the female vocalist, Stevie Nicks. “The Chain” has a Western twist with strong guitar riffs and powerful yet dark harmonies. “I Don’t Want to Know” is a little more upbeat and poppy.

It continues with Stevie Nicks’ hauntingly beautiful vocals in “Dreams.” It tells the story of love gone astray.  “It was a simple ballad that would be finessed into the album’s jewel; the quiet vamp laced with laconic Leslie-speaker vibrato and spooky warmth allow Nicks to draw an exquisite sketch of loneliness,” says music critic Hopper.

Nicks’ husky voice added a sense of warmth and yet such wisdom and experience. Nicks’ dreamlike vocals are also prevalent in the last track, “Gold Dust Woman.” Some claim the track tells the story of cocaine getting the best of Nicks, and considering the time period of the song, it could easily be as so.

Fleetwood Mac’s other femme fatale is Christine McVie, rocking her own vocals in “You Make Lovin’ Fun”, “Don’t Stop”, “Songbird”, and “Oh Daddy.” “You Make Lovin’ Fun” features McVie’s strong and bluesy vocals, while “Don’t Stop” features an upbeat duet with McVie and Buckingham.

The album slows down with the ballad, “Songbird” as McVie sings a plaintive ode of fealty and how total her devotion towards her ex-husband, or Fleetwood Mac’s bassist, John McVie. The album’s soft ballads continue with “Oh Daddy,” as McVie sweetly tells the story of Mick Fleetwood’s (aka the drummer) pending divorce.

Overall, Rumours, as one of the biggest records of all time, “[provided] an antidote to the era while remaining entirely in step with its times,” says Daryl Easlea, music critic.