10 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Release ‘Say You Will’
After the huge comeback success of the live reunion album, ‘The Dance,’ in 1997, Fleetwood Mac were back in a big way. The obvious questions started flying, asking about the chances of a new Mac LP. In spite of a short round of drama, they answered that question with the full-flying ‘Say You Will, ‘ which was released on April 15, 2003. The album marked the return of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the clan, but also saw the departure of mainstay Christine McVie.
After the 1987 ‘Tango In The Night’ LP, Buckingham left the band to concentrate on his solo career. The Mac soldiered on and issued two more albums, ‘Behind The Mask’ (1990) and ‘Time (1995), by which time Nicks had also split. The 1997 reunion set the stage for big things to come, but following the tour, Christine McVie made the decision to retire. Buckingham, Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwod regrouped as a four-piece to put an album together. Fortunately, they already had a head start.
Lindsey Buckingham had been working on a solo album since the late-’90s and had, in fact, called up his old band mate McVie and Fleetwood to play on a few tracks. A planned album titled ‘Gift Of Screws’ never materialized (the title was used for his 2008 solo set), but tracks from that batch of recordings found a home on ‘Say You Will,’ and after a little tweaking, became full-fledged Fleetwood Mac songs.
‘Miranda,’ ‘Red Rover,’ ‘Come,’ ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ and ‘Murrow Turning Over In His Grave’ — all classic Buckingham tracks — are from those solo sessions. In ‘Murrow,’ Buckingham’s wired and haunting vocal derides the state of media, and coupled with some equally haunting and fiery guitar work, the song just soars. ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ is the hit that got away. It’s pure Fleetwood Mac pop that begged for radio play, but alas, was not to be. Ditto for the LP’s title track, written by Stevie Nicks. ‘Say You Will’ shows Nicks off in her signature style and though it just missed the Top 20, it proved the band were back in top form.
‘Come’ is a very heavy and very harsh rocker that borders on psychotic. Buckingham really lets his demons lose here, delivering a blistering guitar solo, while ‘Red Rover’ shows off a more gentle and intricate guitar style from the man. Meanwhile, other amazing gems like ‘Miranda’ and ‘Bleed To Love Her’ proved that the songwriting fountain of Buckingham was far from dry. The songs on ‘Say You Will’ rank with his best.
That’s not to say it’s all Lindsey’s show here. Miss Nicks puts forth a heaping batch of her own pearls here like ‘Silver Girl,’ ‘Smile At You,’ and the dynamic ‘Destiny Rules,’ which is one of the best tracks on the album. It’s a long record, with 18 tracks that clock in at well over an hour.
‘Say You Will’ hit No. 3 on Billboard and made it to ‘Gold’ status. Though a far cry from the mega-billion and counting sales of ‘Rumours,’ it was definitely a solid showing commercially. Artistically, however, it was a genuine triumph.
The four-piece version of Fleetwood Mac are still together and on the road, but have said that another album might not be in their collective future again. If ‘Say You Will’ were to be the last full-length album the band ever release, it certainly qualifies them as going out on a high note.
Listen To ‘Say You Will’ by Fleetwood Mac