Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

by Kevin Orton Rating:9 Release Date:1977-02-04
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

I confess, I’m not much of a Fleetwood Mac fan. Their limo driven, pseudo hippie decadence makes my skin crawl. Everything I couldn’t stand about the 70’s. The long hair. The beards. The coke. The football jerseys and flairs. Then there’s Stevie, with her ballet slippers, gypsy costumes and patchouli posturing. When it comes to 1977, I’m far more drawn to the likes of Television and The Clash. In terms of late 70’s Pop, give me Blondie or give me death. Which makes it even more ironic, that I simply adore the album, Rumours.

Of course, this is Fleetwood Mac in name only. The original Fleetwood Mac was a killer British blues band, with a godsend of a guitarist and front man in Peter Green. But then Peter flipped out, leaving Mick Fleetwood and John McVie to tread water in some very choppy seas. They eventually found a life raft in the form of the duo, Buckingham and Nicks. Also manning the oars was John McVie’s then wife, Christine, a keyboardist and songwriter with a keen Pop sense. So, while the band should have been called, Fleetbuck MacNicks, Fleetwood Mac has a much better ring.

Lindsey Buckingham may be a SNL joke to some, but when it comes to ‘Second Hand News’ he’s the furthest thing from a punchline. Regardless of one’s musical pretensions, it’s a positively irresistible kick off to an irresistible album. Those bamp bamp bamp’s get your foot tapping and singing along right from the get go. He’s also responsible for one of the biggest hits off Rumours, ‘Go Your Own Way.’

As for Christine McVie, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘You Make Lovin’ Fun’ were the other big hits. Rock solid, pieces of FM friendly Pop. On the flipside however, it’s her two other songs which prove to be the weakest links on album. ‘Songbird’ is as mawkish as it’s maudlin. And, ‘Oh Daddy’ is a total bum trip compared to the rest of the album.  

Speaking of links, ‘The Chain’ is the strongest, the pinnacle of all Rumours has to offer. Dark and driving, with some haunting acoustic guitar that can’t help but bring Neil Young to mind. This is the sound of the entire band on top of their game. John McVie’s bassline, a classic.

The songs that keep me coming back, however, are all Stevie Nick’s doing. ‘Gold Dust Woman’ remains one of my favorite tracks on the album. ‘Dreams’ is as haunting as, ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ is catchy. As much as I make a pretense of eschewing her image, there’s no denying her talents and those dusty, coke laced vocals. Nick’s personality is not only a dominant force on Rumours, she completely changed the face of the band. Her pivotal role cannot be underestimated.

Whether you love or hate Fleetwood Mac, Rumours is for the most part, undeniably seductive. Despite the following that’s developed over founding member Peter Green, this is the album that will forever be synonymous with Fleetwood Mac. And there is absolutely no shame in surrendering to its copious charms. Any music snob who thumbs their nose up, is just trying too hard. This is the sound of pure temptation and as Oscar Wilde once advised, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars