We’re heading out shortly to see the Skydiggers acoustic at The Sanctuary tonight so while Kelly gets her pre-game nap on, I’m relaxing in the EZ-Boy with another chapter of my book ( ‘The Dragon Behind the Glass‘ by Emily Voigt) and one of my Desert Island albums, ‘Rumours‘ by Fleetwood Mac.
“Drama. Dra-ma,” was how Christine McVie described the recording of ‘Rumours’ to Rolling Stone magazine shortly after its release on February 4th, 1977. And that wasn’t even the half of it. Sessions for this masterwork masterwork have all the elements of a meticulously scripted theatrical romance – elaborate entanglements, enormous amounts of money and mountains of cocaine.
Essentially, this is an album of timeless love songs written at a time when all the band members were in the process of breaking up. Stevie Nicks had just split with her longtime lover and musical partner, Lindsey Buckingham, while Christine was in the midst of divorcing her husband, bassist John McVie. Meanwhile, Mick Fleetwood’s extra-band marriage was on the rocks, leading to an affair with Nicks (unbeknown to the rest of the band) before the year was out. This inner turmoil surfaced in brutally honest lyrics, transforming the album into a tantalizing he-said-she-said romantic confessional. The musicians’ personal lives permanently fused within the grooves, and all who listened to ‘Rumours’ become a voyeur to the painful, glamorous mess.
Drama aside, ‘Rumours’ is among the finest work the band ever produced. “We refused to let our feelings derail our commitment to the music, no matter how complicated or intertwined they became,” Fleetwood later wrote in his 2014 memoir. “It was hard to do, but no matter what, we played through the hurt.”
‘Rumours’ is ultimately an unhappy love story with a happy ending. In the end, the excruciating emotional pressure yielded a diamond of opulent late Seventies rock. The RIAA agreed, later certifying the album as such. It’s the kind of album that transcends its origins and reputation, entering the realm of legend – it’s an album that simply exists outside of criticism and outside of its time, even if it thoroughly captures its era.
I’ve had this album in my CD collection for year and only just acquired it on vinyl. And the nice thing about vinyl is that it has a shit-ton on pictures and photos that CD’s don’t have. So it was this way that I learned exactly how smoking how Stevie Nicks was.
I mean, DAY-UM!
And then you realize that she was hooking up with the crazy looking dude learing over her left shoulder.