35 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ Tops the Charts
Itâs hard to not hear the heartbreak in Fleetwood Mac‘s âRumours.â Itâs hard to not hear the anger too. After kicking around as a cult blues-rock band for almost a decade, the British band hit the jackpot in 1975 after hiring a pair of California singer-songwriters, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Everyone was happy: longtime members John and Christine McVie, who were married, Buckingham and Nicks, who were a couple â¦ But then fame hit.
And so did the fooling around. And the hooking up. And the breaking up. âRumoursâ runs down these trysts, at times with candidness and fury, for all to hear. Suddenly, no oneâs happy: not the McVies, heading for divorce; not Buckingham and Nicks, who broke up; not even Mick Fleetwood, who split from his wife. From Nicksâ painful âDreamsâ to Buckinghamâs bitchy âGo Your Own Way,â âRumoursâ (which reached No. 1 on the U.K. album charts 35 years ago today (Jan. 30, 1978), their first album to hit that position in their original homeland) is the sound of hearts falling on the floor and everyone else rushing to stomp on them.
The most damning moments come from Buckingham and Nicks. âLoving you isnât the right thing to do,â he sings at the start of âGo Your Own Way,â basically setting up his girl (in this case, Nicks) for the kiss-off chorus that gives the track its title. Nicks counters on âDreamsâ: âYou say you want your freedom / Well, who am I to keep you down?â She eventually boils it down to the whole dating-a-musician dilemma, singing, âPlayers only love you when theyâre playing / Women, they will come and they will go.â
That sentiment is continued on âRumoursââ side-two opener, âThe Chain,â the only song here credited to the whole band. And rightfully so: The relationship hanging by a thread in âThe Chainâ is the one shared by all five members of Fleetwood Mac. They may have particular exes in mind when they sing âIf you donât love me now, you will never love me again,â but the chain they want to keep secure is linking the entire group.
But look beyond the words, and this isnât angry or heartbreaking music. The songs are full of life, from the brisk, album-opening âSecond Hand Newsâ to Christine McVieâs playful âYou Make Loving Fun.â And Buckinghamâs burning guitar solo on âGo Your Own Wayâ is pure cathartic release. The harmonies are tight, the melodies are tighter and the terrific âRumoursâ eventually finds hope among the wreckage. But make no mistake: Fleetwood Mac went through hell to get there.
Watch Fleetwood Mac Perform ‘Go Your Own Way’ in Concert