Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ Turns 45 Today!!!
It was 45 years ago today (February 4th, 1977) that Fleetwood Mac released their masterpiece, Rumours. To date, the album, which spent 31 non-consecutive weeks on top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, has sold over 40 million copies globally. According to the RIAA’s current list, Rumours is now tied for the eighth best-selling album in history alongside 1977’s Saturday Night Fever soundtrack Shania Twain‘s 1997 collection, Come On Over.
Rumours spawned four Top 10 singles — Lindsey Buckingham‘s “Go Your Own Way,” which hit Number 10; Stevie Nicks‘ “Dreams” — which remains to this day the band’s sole chart-topping single; Christine McVie’s “Don’t Stop,” which peaked at Number Three and “You Make Loving Fun” — which topped out at Number Nine
Lindsey Buckingham understands that the psychodrama between him and former lover Stevie Nicks — not to mention the divorce of Christine and John McVie — was the gasoline that ran the engine of the band, especially during the legendary Rumours album: “One of the real draws of Fleetwood Mac beyond the music in those earlier days was this musical soap opera. And it was a very literal portrayal of what was really going on behind the scenes. Y’know, you could certainly make a case for saying that we made a great deal of success on a career level but we were pretty dismal failures in our personal lives, for any number of years, y’know?”
Stevie Nicks said that the emotional trauma of everyone in the band suffering through a romantic breakup during the album’s sessions pushed the group towards cocaine — which kick-started a decade-long addiction that nearly killed her. As cocaine took over the industry, Nicks says that most people believed it was entirely non-addictive: “Y’know, I thought as I was going through the ’70s and cocaine was introduced into everybody‘s life, and told that it was recreational, and that it was not dangerous. But, y’know, that’s what we were told, really. On the other side of that, we were also told, ‘Don’t ever do heroin, because if you do it once, you’ll have to do it every day, because you’ll never feel that good again, and you’ll be chasing that, that high for the rest of your life.’ So, it was like, I was told not to do heroin and told why and didn’t. But cocaine, we were all told was cool — that’s why we did it. Of course, then we all got extremely addicted to it.”
Although it’s been over 45 years since Buckingham and Nicks parted ways as lovers, Lindsey Buckingham says that the public at large can’t really grasp how tough it was for him to continue being a bandmate and producer with his former longtime live-in girlfriend during the Rumours sessions: “For me personally, it was difficult to continue to produce songs for Stevie, and to do for her — do the right thing, obviously — but in the context of her moving away from me. And it was painful. Obviously, I think the same would be true for John and Christine (McVie).”
Mick Fleetwood told us that Fleetwood Mac — and particularly with Rumours — was always able to connect with its fanbase on a pretty intimate level: “The fans that we have, they are involved with the people in this band. I think it’s fair to say, and certainly, Stevie, in many ways, would get the lion’s share of that, but we’re all entities of this . . . the whole. We’re not greater than the whole, it’s quite apparent (laughs). I think we’re all realizing that. And I think they’re involved on an emotional level with those people, as opposed to, y’know, when people think of Pink Floyd, they don’t think of the people in the band, really.”
Christine McVie told us that the members of Fleetwood Mac are connected by a bond that transcends time and distance: “I just think that there’s an inextricable chemistry between the five of us, which will never go away, because that just is what it is, y’know, until we’re 90 it’ll be there. No matter how far we go apart in our different spheres of music, when we get together, it’s just something that, y’know, sparks fly.”
Recently released are Fleetwood Mac’s expanded and deluxe versions of Rumours. The set has been issued in an “Expanded Edition” featuring the original album, the Stevie Nicks-written B-Side “Silver Springs,” a live collection of tracks from 1977, and a full disc of session outtakes.
The “Deluxe Edition” tags on a second disc of outtakes, a remastered vinyl version of the album, and the vintage concert doc, titled, The Rosebud Film.
Also out now is the book Making Rumours: The Inside Story Of The Classic Fleetwood Mac Album, by the Mac’s legendary co-producer, Ken Calliat. Calliat, who wrote the book with co-author Steve Stiefel, tells the story behind all the 1977 album’s classic tracks — as well as the songs that were bumped from the final lineup.
Making Rumours talks about the creative process, general debauchery, and romantic breakdowns which took place during the 1976 recording sessions between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood and wife Jenny Boyd — the kid sister of Pattie “Layla” Boyd, wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
In addition to Rumours, Calliat went on to co-produce Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, Fleetwood Mac Live, and Mirage albums — along with their career-spanning box set, The Chain.