Rumours (1977)


 
1. Second Hand News 2. Dreams 3. Never Going Back Again 4. Don't Stop 5. Go Your Own Way 6. Songbird 7. The Chain 8. You Make Loving Fun 9. I Don't Want to Know 10.Oh Daddy 11.Gold Dust Woman

 

Not only the best album of the year, but quite possibly the best album of the entire decade of the 1970s. What's equally fascinating about this work of music is the circumstances around which the record, itself, was made. After the enormously successful Fleetwood Mac album, which far surpassed anything they ever even came remotely close to, it's quite a wonder the band didn't implode under all the success and pressure.

Being that this was a rare "half male - half female" group, it's not that uncommon that there were "relationships" amongst some of the members, but what was uncommon was that all of these relationships were strained, deteriorating and thankfully (I guess) had a very positive impact on the music. The two McVies in the band were calling it quits and going through a divorce, and the Buckingham, Nicks partnership was also quickly dissolving. And, oh yeah, Stevie Nicks was also having an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood (who was married to someone else outside of the band). Follow all that?

Then there was the drugs. Oh the drugs. Lindsey Buckingham later admitted that there were some days when the band was so strung out on cocaine that they would spend an entire day in the studio trying to tune a piano. Given the history of the various breakdowns of former members, you kind of wish they were a little smarter at this point. Thankfully no one was killed. I mean that, really.

But anyway, back to the music. It's brilliant. About half of this album made it to top 40 airplay and everyone, everywhere fell in love with this album that featured such a wide variety of styles from its three writers, yet somehow had a strong, cohesive vibe running throughout that became synonymous with everything great about the seventies. It's a bit pointless talking about a lot of the songs, because everyone knows them all by now, and if you never did (for whatever reason) like some of the hits, reading about it here won't change your mind. So let's talk about some of the "non-hits". Those songs that maybe, just maybe, you haven't heard before - although odds are you've heard most of those as well.

The album opener, Buckingham's Second Hand News is a perfect way to lead off the album. Lyrically, it matches the theme of the album perfectly (heartbreak, betrayal, infidelity, loneliness) and musically it's a perfect balance of Lindsay's hard paced acoustic playing, yet strangely very melodic at the same time. Stevie's golden child (pun intended) is the album's closer Gold Dust Woman that is maybe a bit too off kilter for radio airplay, but it somehow has evolved into a Mac classic. The song I think should have closed the album, is Christine McVie's empty sounding Songbird that just features herself singing and playing piano. It was deliberately recorded in an empty auditorium - the band stating that this was the perfect "feel" for what the song should be - a singer coming out on stage, after everyone had gone home, and singing a lonely song to no one in particular. Not surprisingly, the band would often close shows with this song (with the audience still there, of course).

The real treat is the song The Chain that is credited to all 5 members. It's a song that really shouldn't even be. It was compiled of a hodge-podge of ideas that were never fleshed out, and basically made into one song. They manage to brilliantly pull this one off...somehow.

So, yes, the interpersonal relationships were struggling, and various band members would have their own personal issues and demons to deal with as their career went on. They always managed to come out o.k., thankfully, and whereas they would never have this type of success ever again, they never seemed to ever let that phase them, and most of their subsequent releases would be, for the most part, welcomed by their ever growing fan base.

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