Back with Second Hand News: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)

By Oliver Hancock
Oxford Student
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I remember reading an issue of Rolling Stone a few years ago about the ‘100 Greatest Albums of All Time’, and thinking about how these countdowns might differ in different magazines – NME’s top 10 will almost certainly not be the same as Kerrang’s.

Getting down to the top 10, all the usual candidates I would expect in modern music magazines were there (The Beatles, Stones, Dylan etc.), but the number 4 on the list was an album I’d never really heard of: Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I wondered how an album considered canonical by one of the world’s biggest music magazines could have passed me by; why all the ‘Top 100…’ articles I’d read in British magazines could have ignored Rumours in the top bracket. The album itself was popular and critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, unsurprising given the Anglo-American core of the band, and yet an avid reader of British music magazines in the 21st-century might never consider Fleetwood Mac’s seminal LP in the same bracket as many of the well-trodden ‘classic’ albums.

This has the chance to change with the impending re-release of Rumours, more than 25 years after its original release. Whether milking a cash-cow or hoping to disseminate their work to a new, younger audience, there is a sense that such an album is coming at the right time. The musicianship of the songs forms an interesting juxtaposition to the works of many of today’s new breed of guitar bands (From The Vaccines to Palma Violets), and, despite the recordings having inevitably aged, the songs themselves remain just as potent as they did in the 1970s.

When looking back upon the process of its recording, it is hard to fathom that such cohesive, well-written pop songs coincided with a time when the relationships in the band were falling apart; songs like the Nicks-penned ‘Dreams’ and Buckingham’s ‘Go Your Own Way’ even seem a direct discourse, the ‘unfurled back and forth’ Buckingham would later recall in ‘Eyes of the World’. Yet in such a capable group of musicians and songwriters, the talent will always out, and a real ear for melody and intelligently crafted lyrics interact in such a way that can seldom be accidental.

Despite a deceptive amount of experimentation, there is always a sense, simply, that each addition works; the driving rhythm of ‘Second Hand News’, made by McVie hitting his drum stool, the explosive coda of ‘The Chain’, the only song written by all five bandmates, and the now iconic ‘Go Your Own Way’, a song that was nearly scrapped as a single for having ‘no real beat’. Each song knows what it is doing and does it well- every addition stands alone as much as forms part of the album’s overall dynamic.

One could argue that such a mode of song-writing has been lost in recent guitar bands, and the next generation of NME bands could do worse than get themselves a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s best LP. The creative harmonic interchange in songs like ‘Second Hand News’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ shows that a use of familiar modular chords can still avoid sounding dull and derivative (something that bands like Tribes and The Vaccines have yet to learn). There can be many discussions about what makes a classic album, but for sheer song-writing talent, Rumours deserves its place amongst the greats.

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is out on reissue from 29th January published by Rhino Records.

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ still flying 36 years later

Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)

By Ed Turner
Augusta Chronicle
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Forty million people weren’t wrong. Rumours, one of the greatest-selling albums in the history of music, has just been reissued in a “35th Anniversary edition” that includes all sorts of bonus goodies for Fleetwood Mac fans.

Of course, when the majority of the band was going through breakups and divorces during the year it took to record Rumours, it was either going to result in lameness or greatness. Can you imagine singing songs about your ex with your ex while your personal life is in such turmoil?

That’s exactly what the band was experiencing throughout the recording of Rumours.

But somehow, the band persevered and crafted an album that will be enjoyed (as the Moody Blues once wrote) by our “childrens’ children children.” It undoubtedly already is.

It’s a marvelous three-disc set that features the original album, a slew of outtakes and demos, and a dozen in-concert songs from the Mac.

Some of the live material was recorded in Columbia in 1977, so there’s a good chance some of you just might have enjoyed those firsthand at the Carolina Coliseum. What an unforgettable evening that was!

It’s interesting to note that the superb Stevie Nicks’ number Silver Springs has been added to the original album, where it belongs. When Rumours was first issued (actually 36 years ago) Silver Springs was relegated to the B-side of Go Your Own Way because of vinyl space limitations.

It’s difficult to fathom that the two ladies in the Mac were much older at the time than most everyone thought. Christine McVie, then a youthful 34, had already been in the band for almost seven years when Lindsey Buckingham and Nicks joined.

Even more surprising to many is that Nicks, who was a waitress when she entered the Fleetwood fold, was already 28. Yes, she looked way younger than that!

The demos and outtakes are fun to listen to for many reasons. For example, Nicks’ demo of The Chain is sparse and actually quite uneventful. But Buckingham’s stellar arranging skills took a very simple song and made it into an extremely powerful piece of work.

Never Going Back Again was originally called Brushes simply because Buckingham didn’t want Nicks to hear the final lyrics until late in the recording process. A working version of the song and a lovely instrumental version are included in this edition.

I found it extremely amusing that the working title of Nicks’ haunting Dreams was Spinners, simply because it reminded the band of a song by the soul group The Spinners that the band had heard. It’s not unusual for musicians to write or drastically change lyrics late in the recording process.

McVie’s You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy and the mega-hit Don’t Stop prove just how much the band today misses her “warm ways” in the studio and on the road.

Her stunning rendition of Songbird was said to have brought her former husband, bassist John McVie, to tears when he heard it for the first time.

This new edition does have some problems. The remastering of the album is a little too heavy on the bass and the packaging is a wee-bit flimsy. Not only that, the live disc contains only 12 songs, so it makes no sense that they left off other material performed during that spectacular tour of the United States.

If you want to know more about this classic album, I strongly suggest that you check out producer Ken Caillat’s captivating book Making Rumours that came out last year. It is a spellbinding read as it documents in detail the crazy, drug-fueled sessions from someone who was present during the entire process.

Yes, the Ken Caillat who produced Rumours is the father of Colbie Caillat, a Grammy Award winner just like her dad! She’s best-known for her hits Bubbly and Lucky and her fine long-player debut Coco.

Fleetwood Mac is currently rehearsing for a world tour that begins in April. The band, now down to just four members since Christine McVie retired more than a decade ago, will play at Atlanta’s Philip’s Arena on June 10.

In the meanwhile, longtime Mac fans can once again savor an album that will certainly never go out of favor. As Buckingham later wrote in his solo hit Go Insane “the Rumours were flying,” and 36 years later, they still are.

The band kicks off a 34-city U.S. tour April 3, with a stop in Atlanta on June 10.

4 reasons to love Fleetwood Mac’s reissued ‘Rumours’ 3-CD set

Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)

By Ken Paulsen
Staten Island Advance
Friday, February 15, 2013 12:45 PM

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of one of the biggest pop smashes of all time, Fleetwood Mac has reissued Rumours in a 3-CD set. Here’s why it’s so easy to recommend.

1) The original album is a pop masterpiece, from Lindsey Buckingham’s breezy opening guitar strumming at the start of “Second Hand News,” to the haunting vocals of Stevie Nicks’ “Gold Dust Woman.” In between are songs that still get radio airplay every day because of their timeless appeal: “Go Your Own Way,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams” (the band’s only No. 1 single) and “Don’t Stop.” Deeper cuts like Christine McVie’s “Songbird” and Buckingham’s “Never Going Back Again” would be signature songs for most acts. On Rumours, they are the powerful tracks that keep you from ever reaching for the “next song” button on your iPod or CD player.

2) The bonus track “Silver Springs” is now the 12th song on Rumours, and it fits in seamlessly — where it should have been placed in 1977. Nicks wrote the song to her former lover Buckingham, but band leader Mick Fleetwood knocked it off the album, leaving Nicks devastated. The official reason was that there wasn’t enough room on the album, but the potent lyrics had to be a factor: “I’ll follow you down ‘til the sound of my voice will haunt you / You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.”  Can you blame Buckingham if he was freaked out by them?

3) The second CD features 12 previously unreleased live recordings from the band’s 1977 concert tour and it provides a snapshot at the peak of its success.  Most tracks hew closely to the album versions; among the notable exceptions are “World Turning” and “Rhiannon,” both from 1975’s “Fleetwood Mac,” and “The Chain,” the one Rumours track with songwriting credits ascribed to the entire band. On the concert version of “The Chain,” John McVie’s signature bass line gives way to an extended, frenzied Buckingham solo. With the band singing the chorus in harmony, it’s a song that could have been prolonged even further.

4) The third CD provides the biggest treat for fans who thought they had explored all of  Rumours. Its 16 songs provide a peek at the evolution of the album’s gems. For example, on a slower, stripped-down “Dreams: Take 2,” Nicks’ ethereal vocals blend magically with gentle accompaniment by McVie’s organ. The final version is surely more polished and radio friendly, but “Take 2” is worth revisiting. The CD also shows where some smart decisions were made: “Never Going Back Again” was originally recorded as a Buckingham-Nicks duet. But Buckingham’s sentiments — no doubt inspired by his ex-lover — are best expressed alone here. An instrumental version is also included, and once again you appreciate Buckingham’s touch: The listener can be grateful that he recognized how the melody only needed seven lines of lyrics; the tune sounds naked without them. In addition, “early takes” of tracks such as “Songbird” and “Gold Dust Woman” show that McVie and Nicks, respectively, had it right all along.

The three-CD version, released by Rhino records, retails for about $20. A deluxe edition is available, featuring an additional CD of outtakes from the Rumours recording sessions, the 1977 documentary “Rosebud Film” and the entire album on 140-gram vinyl. Both versions (minus the vinyl, of course) are also available in digital formats.

The band is embarking on a tour of U.S. and Europe starting this spring, including a stop at Madison Square Garden in April.

Fleetwood Mac Rumours (Rhino)

By Frank Valish
Under the Radar
Thursday, Feb 14, 2013

Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours has sold over 40 million albums to date. To this day, Rumours is inextricable from the story of its creation, a process that took over the band members’ lives at the exact time four of its members were severing romantic ties and a fifth was dealing with a breakup of his own.

This three-disc expanded reissue, featuring the remastered album with sparkling original B-side “Silver Springs,” a disc of early takes, and a concert from 1977, does the original album, and its story, justice. The original work may be difficult to listen to with fresh ears, but the disc of additional studio recordings has to it a nice fly-on-the-wall feel, and previously unreleased cuts such as “Keep Me There” and “Planets of the Universe” nicely augment the album proper. Say what you will about Rumours, but it sure was interesting. (www.fleetwoodmac.com)

Author rating: 9/10

Listening post: Fleetwood Mac Rumours

By Jeff Miers
The Buffalo News
Friday, February 8, 2013

Pop

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours: Deluxe Anniversary Edition (Warner Bros., three discs). It’s certainly not news that Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is a pop masterpiece, a high-water mark in the annals of ’70s California-based rock and pop. Very few self-respecting record collectors or rock historians would consider their collection complete without it. We all know the story of its creation – how the songs reflected the romantic turmoil within the band, as various relationships crumbled, principally the very torrid one between singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham. What we may not know is what a fantastic live ensemble this particular lineup of Fleetwood Mac was. This new anniversary edition gives us a beautifully remastered version of the original album, with the inclusion of the revered outtake “Silver Springs” tacked on, and a whole disc’s worth of alternate versions and outtakes, too. But the grand prize is the full live concert from the 1977 Rumours world tour, which takes up a full disc. This is the holy grail for Mac fans, and makes the anniversary edition a must-have. 4 stars

Fleetwood Mac Rumours

10/10 – BEST NEW REISSUE

Fleetwood Mac Rumours
Rhino / Warner Bros.; 1977/2013
By Jessica Hopper
Pitchfork
Friday, February 8, 2013

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours would never be just an album. Upon its release in 1977, it became the fastest-selling LP of all time, moving 800,000 copies per week at its height, and its success made Fleetwood Mac a cultural phenomenon. The million-dollar record that took a year and untold grams to complete became a totem of 1970s excess, rock’n’roll at its most gloriously indulgent. It was also a bellwether of glimmering Californian possibility, the permissiveness and entitlement of the 70s done up in heavy harmonies. By the time it was made, the personal freedoms endowed by the social upheaval of the 60s had unspooled into unfettered hedonism. As such, it plays like a reaping: a finely polished post-hippie fallout, unaware that the twilight hour of the free love era was fixing and there would be no going back. In 1976, there was no knowledge of AIDS, Reagan had just left the governor’s manse, and people still thought of cocaine as non-addictive and strictly recreational. Rumours is a product of that moment and it serves as a yardstick by which we measure just how 70s the 70s were.

And then there’s the album’s influence. Though it was seen as punk’s very inverse, Rumours has enjoyed a long trickle-down of influence starting from the alt-rock-era embrace via Billy Corgan and Courtney Love to the harmonies and choogling of Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the earthier end of Beach House. Rumours set a template for pop with a gleaming surface that has something complicated, desperate, and dark resonating underneath.

Setting aside the weight of history, listening to Rumours is an easy pleasure. Records with singles that never go away tend to evoke nostalgia for the time when the music soundtracked your life; in this case, you could’ve never owned a copy of it and still know almost every song. When you make an album this big, your craft is, by default, accessibility. But this wasn’t generic pabulum. It was personal. Anyone could find a piece of themselves within these songs of love and loss.

Two years prior to recording Rumours, though, Fleetwood Mac was approximately nowhere. In order to re-establish the group’s flagging stateside reputation, in early 1974 Fleetwood Mac’s drummer and band patriarch, Mick Fleetwood, keyboardist/singer Christine McVie, and her husband, bassist John McVie, moved from England to Los Angeles. The quartet was then helmed by their fifth and least-dazzling guitarist, the American Bob Welch. Not long after the band’s British faction had relocated, Welch quit the band. Around the same time Mick Fleetwood was introduced to the work of local duo, Buckingham Nicks, who’d just been dropped by Polydor. The drummer was enchanted by Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar work and Nicks’ complete package, and when Welch quit, he offered them a spot in the band outright.

The group, essentially a new band under an old name, quickly cut 1975’s self-titled Fleetwood Mac, an assemblage of Christine McVie’s songs and tracks Buckingham and Nicks had intended for their second album, including the eventual smash “Rhiannon.” It was a huge seller in its own right and they were now a priority act given considerable resources. But by the time they booked two months at Record Plant in Sausalito to record the follow-up, the band’s personal bonds were frayed, there was serious resentment and constant drama. Nicks had just broken up with Buckingham after six years of domestic and creative partnership. Fleetwood’s wife was divorcing him, and the McVies were separated and no longer speaking.

While Fleetwood Mac was a bit of a mash-up of existing work, Lindsey Buckingham effectively commandeered the band for Rumours, giving their sound a radio-ready facelift. He redirected John McVie and Fleetwood’s playing from blues past towards the pop now. Fleetwood Mac wanted hits and gave the wheel to Buckingham, a deft craftsman with a vision for what the album had to become.

He opens the record with the libidinous “Second Hand News,” inspired by the redemption Buckingham was finding in new women, post-Stevie. It was the album’s first single and also perhaps the most euphoric ode to rebound chicks ever written. Buckingham’s “bow-bow-bow-doot-doo-diddley-doot” is corny, but it works along with the percussion track (Buckingham played the seat of an office chair after Fleetwood was unable to properly replicate a beat a la the Bee Gees’ “Jive Talkin’”). Like “Second Hand News,” Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way” is upbeat but totally fuck-you. He croons “shackin’ up is all you wanna do,”—accusing an ex-lover of being a wanton slut on a song where his ex-lover harmonizes on the hook. Save for “Never Going Back Again,” (a vintage Buckingham Nicks composition brought in to replace Stevie’s too-long “Silver Springs”) Buckingham’s songs are turnabout as fairplay with lithe guitar glissando on top.

“Second Hand News” is followed by a twist-of-the-knife Stevie-showpiece, “Dreams,” a gauzy ballad about what she’d had and what she’d lost with Buckingham. It was written during one of the days where Nicks wasn’t needed for tracking. She wrote the song in a few minutes, recorded it onto a cassette, and returned to the studio and demanded the band listen to it. It was a simple ballad that would be finessed into the album’s jewel; the quiet vamp laced with laconic Leslie-speaker vibrato and spooky warmth allow Nicks to draw an exquisite sketch of loneliness. “Dreams” would become Fleetwood Mac’s only #1 hit.

Though Fleetwood Mac was always the sum of its parts, Nicks was something special both in terms of the band and in rock history. She helped establish a feminine vernacular that was (still) in league with the cock rock of the 70s but didn’t present as a diametric vulnerability; it was not innocent. While Janis Joplin and Grace Slick had been rock’s most iconic heroines at the tail-end of the 60s, they were very much trying to keep up with boys in their world; Nicks was creating a new space. And Fleetwood Mac was still very much an anomaly, unique in being a rock band fronted by two women who were writing their own material, with Nicks presenting as the girliest bad girl rock’n’roll had seen since Ronnie Spector. She took the stage baring a tambourine festooned with lengths of lavender ribbon; people said she was a witch.

Like her male rock’n’roll peers, Nicks sang songs about the intractable power of a woman (her first hit, “Rhiannon”) and used women as a metaphor (“Gold Dust Woman”), but her approach was different. At the time of Rumours’ release, she maintained that the latter song was about groupies who would scowl at her and Christine but light up when the guys appeared. She later confessed that it was about cocaine getting the best of her. In 1976, coke was the mise of the scene—to admit you were growing weary would have been gauche. Nicks’ husky voice made it sound like she’d lived and her lyrics—of pathos, independence, and getting played—certainly backed it up. She seemed like a real woman—easy to identify with, but with mystery and a natural glamour worth aspiring to.

It’s almost easy to miss Christine McVie for all of Nicks’ mystique. McVie had been in the band for years, but never at the helm. Her songs “You Make Lovin’ Fun” and “Don’t Stop” are pure pep. “Songbird” starts as a plaintive ode of fealty and how total her devotion—until the sad tell of “And I wish you all the love in the world/ But most of all I wish it from myself,” (an especially heart-wrenching line given that McVie’s not quite ex-husband was dragging a rebound model chick to the sessions and Christine was sneaking around with a member of the crew). She didn’t hate her husband, she adored him, she wished it could work but after years of being in the Mac together, she knew better. Throughout, McVie’s songwriting is pure and direct, irrepressibly sweet. “Oh Daddy,” a song she wrote about Mick Fleetwood’s pending divorce is melancholy but ultimately maintains its dignity. McVie, with typical British reserve, confessed she preferred to leave the bleakness and poesy to her dear friend Stevie.

As much feminine energy as Rumours wields, the album’s magic is in its balance: male and female, British blues versus American rock’n’roll, lightness and dark, love and disgust, sorrow and elation, ballads and anthems, McVie’s sweetness against Nicks’ grit. They were a democratic band where each player raised the stakes of the whole. The addition of Buckingham and Nicks and McVie’s new prominence kicked John McVie’s bass playing loose from its blues mooring and forced him towards simpler, more buoyant pop. Fleetwood’s playing itself is just godhead, with effortless little fills, light but thunderous, and his placement impeccable throughout. The ominous, insistent kick on the first half on “The Chain”, for example, colors the song as much as the quiver of disgust in Buckingham’s voice when he spits “never.”

In the liner notes to the deluxe Rumours 4xCD/DVD/LP box set, Buckingham describes the album-making process as “organic.” Rumours is anything but, and that is part of its genius—it’s so flawless it feels far from nature. It is more like a peak human feat of Olympic-level studio craft. It was made better by its myopia and brutal circumstances: the wounded pride of a recently dumped Buckingham, the new hit of “Rhiannon”, goading Nicks to fight for inclusion of her own songs, Christine McVie attempting to salve her heart with “Songbird.” That Fleetwood Mac had become the biggest record Warner Bros. had ever released while the band was making Rumours allowed for an impossibly long tether for them to dick around and correct the next album until it was immaculate.

Given the standalone nature of Rumours, it’s difficult to argue that any other part of the box set is necessary. The live recordings of the Rumours tour are fine, lively even (perhaps owing to Fleetwood rationing a Heineken cap of coke to each band member to power performances). Only a handful of tracks on the two discs of the sessions outtakes lend any greater understanding of the process behind it. One is “Dreams (Take 2)”, which is just Nicks voice, some burbling organ, and rough rhythm guitar gives an appreciation of her fundamental talent as well as Buckingham’s ability to transform it; it makes the case for how much they needed each other. Another is “Second Hand News (Early Take),” which features Buckingham mumbling lyrics so as not to incense Nicks. The alternate mixes and takes (more phaser! Less Dobro! Take 22!), by the time you make it to disc four, just underscore the fact that Rumours did not hatch as a pristine whole. One does not need three variously funky articulations of Christine’s burning “Keep Me There” to comprehend this.

Nevertheless, it is difficult not to buy into the mythology of Rumours both as an album and pop culture artifact: a flawless record pulled from the wreckage of real lives. As one of classic rock’s foundational albums, it holds up better than any other commercial smash of that ilk (Hotel California, certainly). We can now use it as a kind of nostalgic benchmark—that they don’t make groups like that anymore, that there is no rock band so palatable that it could be the best-selling album in the U.S. for 31 weeks. Things work differently now. Examined from that angle, Rumours was not exactly a game changer, it was merely perfect.

Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (Expanded Edition)

Rumours Expanded Edition (2013)
Rumours Expanded Edition (2013)

By John Bergstrom
PopMatters
Friday, February 8, 2013

It seems fitting in a way that a big reason for the existence of this “Expanded Edition” of Rumours is also a big reason why the original album had such magical appeal. That is, the always-dynamic, often turbulent relationship between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

In 2012, Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac’s namesake rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie held sessions to record tracks for a new album. Nicks, meanwhile, was on an extended solo tour in support of her latest solo album. According to Buckingham, when Nicks returned she was none too interested in contributing to a new Fleetwood Mac album. She was, however, keen on reviving Buckingham Nicks, the name under which the two singer-songwriters had recorded before fate brought them to Fleetwood Mac. Nicks claimed she had a “long lost” song she wanted to do for a long-awaited CD issue of Buckingham Nicks (1973). Buckingham claimed it was a Fleetwood Mac song all along.

Oh, these rock ‘n’ roll kids …

Thing was, Fleetwood Mac were set to do a tour in 2013. In lieu of a new album to promote, Warner Brothers decided on a “35th Anniversary” re-issue of Rumours. Rumours was originally released in February 1977. You do the math.

Oh, these rock ‘n’ roll record companies …

The story of Rumours has been told many, many times. It has been told, through its songs, to anyone who has listened to the album. As far as the album itself, well, if you cannot recognize Rumours as one of the most complete, satisfying, musically-accomplished, memorable, hummable, which is to say, best, albums of the rock’n’roll era, you need to figure out what it is that is holding you back. If you are one of those people who believe it’s “too soft,” “too clean,” “too SoCal” … you need to get over yourself. Because, musically, what you have here is one of the most powerful rhythm sections in all of rock, meshing with a prodigiously-talented guitarist and arranger, in service of some impeccable songwriting and some unwieldy sex appeal.

Oh, Rumours

If there is any “new” perspective to be gleaned, maybe it’s a bit of old perspective. As with all such massive cultural achievements, it’s nearly impossible now to imagine Rumours in its original context. The juggernaut that Fleetwood Mac became after its release now seems inevitable, so much so that you imagine Fleetwood Mac the juggernaut creating the album in the first place. But, of course, that was not the case. Rumours was, basically, a “difficult second album”. The band had had unexpectedly huge success with their first Buckingham-Nicks-assisted album, Fleetwood Mac (1975), but that success had come gradually, eventually reaching a peak at the top of the charts. Who knew if the band could sustain it? Not Warner Brothers, who were putting the pressure on for a follow-up. Not the band themselves, who were, well, you know the story …

Really, then, you might want to go back and marvel at the supreme level of confidence these songs project. It’s there in every drum crash on “Dreams”, every three-part vocal on “The Chain”, every twinkle of Buckingham’s guitar on “Never Going Back Again”. Yes, the band consisted of all experienced professionals. But they were also at a crucial career point, in complete personal and emotional turmoil, and having cocaine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Go back and stand in amazement at how Rumours reaps all the possible benefits of that scenario without suffering any of the potential pitfalls. Every song is an open-and-shut case, a tightly-sealed, end-of-story work of pop-rock perfection.

Which means items like discs of live material and outtakes are superfluous at best. Then there is this matter. Rumours was in 2004 reissued in remastered form and with a disc of outtakes. This package should have satisfied those fans who were curious about the band’s creative process and wanted to hear some works-in-progress. There is really no justification for this 2013-model, three-disc “Expanded Edition”, other than a financial one. Buckingham has said that, while the band had to approve the tracklist, he could have done without the release.

It’s easy to agree, and that is why this package does not get the perfect score the original album deserves. Disc One reprises the 2004 remastering, the audio quality of which is always a subjective issue. To these ears, though, it sounds fine. Disc Two tosses in some live performances from the Rumours tour. They show that, despite the multiple overdubbing and laboring over the studio versions, the band could replicate them and play them well. “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” are too fast. The cocaine, maybe? A perfectly enjoyable but hardly essential listen.

Disc Three has a bunch of outtakes that were not used for the 2004 release. That means they are outtakes that were not deemed fit for an outtakes album. They are mostly rough, and reveal little except that the coda from “The Chain” came from an unused Christine McVie song. A couple tracks are worth hearing more than once, due to the inherent appeal and strength of Nicks’ voice. An early “Dreams” take is minimal and almost ghostly. An early “The Chain” has nothing more than a few lyrics in common with the album version. An acoustic Nicks ballad, it finds her emoting more than on the finished product, in the process revealing why hardly a warm-blooded male in the Western Hemisphere could have resisted her.

The three-disc package is priced reasonably, surely targeting old fans who will, psychologically at least, get a kick out of buying “new Fleetwood Mac” product. Meanwhile, many other Fleetwood Mac albums languish in the CD dark ages, and a new Fleetwood Mac album sits in the studio, in need of some female vocals.

Oh, Fleetwood Mac …

Rating: 7/10

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of “first good female rocker” was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.

Fleetwood Mac’s legendary ‘Rumours’ album turns 36

Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)
Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)

By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
NBC News
Monday, February 4, 2013

Whenever a music publication makes a list of top rock albums, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is there. While the album actually came out 36 years ago, the band is celebrating with what’s being called a 35th anniversary expanded edition.

Members of Fleetwood Mac, from left, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, pose with their Grammys for “Rumours” in 1978.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to put this out,” Stevie Nicks told Rolling Stone. “If you were a Fleetwood Mac fan, you get to hear the songs turn into the songs without a lot of overdubbing. It’s very simple.”

Rumours is the kind of album that transcends its origins and reputation, entering the realm of legend,” writes Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic.com. “It’s an album that simply exists outside of criticism and outside of its time, even if it thoroughly captures its era.”

The album is noteworthy of course for such songs as “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop,” and “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” but also for the band’s own romantic turmoil as the album was being made, which bleeds through into the music.

“That really was a lot of the appeal of Rumours,” Lindsey Buckingham admitted in the same Rolling Stone interview. “The music was wonderful, but the music was also authentic because it was two couples breaking up and writing dialogue to each other.”

The band recently added more dates to their upcoming tour, which begins April 4 in Columbus, Ohio, and which will include many songs from “Rumours.”

Christine McVie will not be a part of the tour. In 2012, when the tour was announced, Nicks told Rolling Stone, “(McVie) went to England and she has never been back since 1998, so it’s not really feasible, as much as we would all like to think that she’ll just change her mind one day. I don’t think it’ll happen. We love her, so we had to let her go.”

The band’s 1975 song “Landslide” appeared in Sunday’s Budweiser Super Bowl commercial, one of the most popular ads of the night.

35 Years Of Rumours: A Retrospective On Fleetwood Mac’s Iconic Album

Rumours (1977)
Rumours (1977)

By Michele Catalano, Contributor
Forbes
Saturday, February 2, 2013

I’m fourteen years old and I have two albums sitting on my bedroom floor. It’s winter, maybe late February. There’s a heavy snow falling, enough snow to send most fourteen year olds outside to do stupid things like attach themselves to car bumpers so they can slide down the slick streets.  Not me. I’ve opted to stay in and study. Not schoolwork. I was never the kind to study for school on a Friday night. I’m studying music.

On my right side is Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same, an album I’d been listening to non-stop since Christmas. On my left is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, an album I’ve yet to put on my turntable. It was a gift from my grandfather, who knew someone who knew someone at a record label who gave it to him to “give to that granddaughter of yours that likes music.”  That’s me.

I’m into rock and roll. I’m into deep lyrics about stairways to heaven and hobbits. I’m into noisy guitars and the high pitched wails of Robert Plant. I’m not into whatever this Fleetwood Mac group is selling me.  That’s for people who like pop music. Not for rockers like me.

But something compels me to give it a try. What can it hurt? No one is around. None of my friends will know that I’m sitting here listening to what is ostensibly a top 40 album while I’m supposed to be rocking the hell out.

So I drop the album on the turntable. Lower the needle. I get through the first side unscathed, hardly taken in by the pop sensibilities and jangly beats. I’m about to give up and turn back to Jimmy Page and my air guitar when I decide to flip the album and keep trying. “The Chain” starts up.

I’m mesmerized.

There’s something about the song that reveals all the layers beneath the surface of what I thought was just another radio friendly album by a band I’d never admit to liking.  I listen to “The Chain” three more times before going back to the first side. I start the album over and listen with a better understanding of what I’m actually listening to.

I think about all those articles about Fleetwood Mac in Creem magazine and all those other rock rags I read. I dig through stacks of saved magazines and look for pieces on the band. I want to know their history. I want to know their lives.

After five listens of Rumours, it seems I do know their lives. They are lives of complications, of heartbreak and pessimism but of love and optimism. So many complex feelings, so many things that at fourteen I’m struggling to understand yet so many feelings that are vaguely familiar, having seen adults in my own life go through breakups and reconciliations.

And my god, that bass line on ‘The Chain.” Even beyond the words, those precious few notes speak to me of a  certain darkness. The last minute and fifteen seconds of the song encompass everything the members of Fleetwood Mac were trying to tell me about life and love and loss and misery.

Trust no one. Everything is a lie.

The stories unfolding in front of me while listening to Rumours are far removed from hobbits and heaven. There’s a level of profundity that’s a startling revelation to a fourteen year old.  Music nowhere near the simplistic pop I thought I would find on the album? Another revelation. Rumours is  just a different version of rock and roll, I think.  A more complex, intricate and even intimate version.

It wasn’t until many years later that I fully understood the process behind the making of Rumours and everything that led up to it. The breakups, the drugs, the romantic entanglements and estrangements, they all served a purpose in creating what is truly one of the greatest albums ever made.

35 years later (it’s really 36 years, but it’s their anniversary so we’ll let them call it 35) with the stories all public knowledge, the background of Rumours only adds to the mystique of the album and the band.

The just released 35th anniversary reissue contains three discs encompassing the original album, twelve unreleased tracks and B-sides, acoustics, demos and instrumentals. Very few albums in history are worth this kind of attention 35 years after their inception.  If such lavish attention all these years later keeps Rumours alive, so be it. Let every generation discover and ingest what I took in at fourteen, with the benefit of having the whole story at hand.

Does an album that’s already had a celebratory reissue deserve another one? When that album is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the answer – my personal one – is yes.

Mick Fleetwood: We miss Christine…I’m hoping I can get her to rejoin

Back on the road ... Fleetwood Mac in their Seventies heyday
Back on the road … Fleetwood Mac in their Seventies heyday

By Jacqui Swift
The Sun (UK)
Friday, February 1, 2013

IT was one of the top-selling albums of the Seventies which turned Fleetwood Mac into the biggest superstars in the world.

But with all the broken hearts, tempestuous affairs and excessive drink and drugs, the making of 1977’s Rumours came at a price.

Chris  is getting on a plane and flying to Hawaii with me. I’m going to hold her hand all the way, even if I have to handcuff it.

This week, almost 36 years after the seminal record hit shelves, an expanded and deluxe version of the album is released including original B-side “Silver Springs,” unreleased live recordings, outtakes, and documentary The Rosebud Film.

Rumours was huge, selling more than 40 million copies, and made the entangled lives of Brits Mick Fleetwood, husband and wife John and Christine McVie and US couple Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, one of rock ’n’ roll’s legendary stories.

Songs such as “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “The Chain” and “Dreams” are as popular as ever today. With a world tour opening in the US in April and a UK tour planned for September, Fleetwood Mac are winning over a new generation of fans as well as their hardcore devotees.

When we meet in a west London hotel, 6-ft-5-in Fleetwood says: “There are young people who are so happy this tour is happening.”

Now 65, the drummer has a healthy tan after years of living in Hawaii but has retained his English accent.

He says: “It’s a new generation that have been turned on to our music. Rumours is our most famous album but it leads to all the others. It’s like someone finding a Neil Young album and going, ‘What? There’s more?’

“Sonically it’s a very clean, un-gizmoed record which has been a huge blessing. We didn’t call in a slick, Hollywood producer and there were none of the sound effects you hear in music today.

Hurt

“We made a beautifully recorded album that worked. It’s all about the music, which I don’t think dates and still speaks for itself.”

The multi-platinum album, which debuted at No. 1 across the world and spent 31 weeks topping the US charts, looks set to re-enter the UK Top Ten on Sunday.

It’s already spent a total of 493 weeks on the Official Albums Chart to date and, for the band, it represents them at their most accusatory and confessional.

As he tugs away at his white beard, Fleetwood says: “As a band who were experiencing a breakdown of personal relationships, the music was the only way we could talk.”

Buckingham’s “Second Hand News,” “Never Going Back Again,” and “Go Your Own Way” were about the guitarist’s troubled relationship with longtime girlfriend, singer-songwriter Nicks.

Her song “Dreams” has the line: “You say you want your freedom. Well who am I to keep you down?” “You Make Loving Fun,” written by keyboardist Christine McVie after she’d started an affair with lighting director Curry Grant, and “Don’t Stop” had personal messages to bassist husband John, which were hard to bear.

Fleetwood reveals: “We communicated through music — which hurt.

“Imagine hearing what was going on with your partner through a song? As writers, they were saying they were angry and hurt through music which, yes, were pop songs, but had a certain darkness.

“Fleetwood Mac were really accessible musically, but lyrically and emotionally, we weren’t so easy. And it was our music that helped us survive. But all of us were in pieces personally. I was the only one spared as I didn’t have to work with my wife. Jenny and I had broken up and she was involved with someone that I knew really well. It was hard, but I knew why.”

Fleetwood then started a two-year affair with Nicks.

He says: “I had pretty much left Jenny anyhow and I was licking my wounds. It was a mess and there we were in the studio.”

In an earlier chat with Nicks, the singer told SFTW: “No one was willing to give up Fleetwood Mac — it just wasn’t an option.

“Whatever happened between me and Lindsey or the others, the power of the band and the music meant more.”

Fleetwood adds: “It wasn’t heroics, and it wasn’t easy but as Lindsey recently said to me, ‘We were brave — emotionally brave’.

“God, there are worse things that can happen to people, but when couples break up they don’t then immediately spend huge amounts of time with each other.

“It would’ve been easier for us all to run away than make Rumours.”

It wasn’t just in their personal lives that they were suffering. Drugs, especially cocaine, were everywhere in the studio — a bag always stashed under the mixing desk.

Fleetwood confesses: “Stevie and I were the worst offenders. We took it to the ‘nth’ degree.

“We were the last to get off the horse and although we try to put it in good humour, we were very lucky to get through all of that.”

Nicks’ cocaine addiction resulted in a hole in her nose.

She reveals: “A plastic surgeon looked at my nose and told me it would collapse if I carried on.

“My vanity made me stop. I didn’t want to be a dead drug addict — least of all one with a collapsed nose.

“I called Betty Ford (Clinic) straight away but then I was given the tranquiliser Klonopin to keep off the coke. That was worse — I couldn’t move or get up. I was out of it for eight years.”

It was all a long way from the band’s beginnings in the Sixties British blues boom.

Fleetwood Mac started out in 1967 under the helm of legendary guitarist Peter Green.

But when he quit in 1970 and success dried up, the band drafted in first Christine then later the American duo Buckingham and Nicks to give the band a new direction — and the hits just kept coming.

Since Fleetwood Mac last toured in 2009, there has been talk of a new album.

The four band members — Christine McVie quit in 1998 after her fear of flying stopped her travelling — have been in the studio but Nicks’ solo career has delayed work. Fleetwood says: “I did think at one point that we may never tour again. And for once I was public about how I saw it. I am the worrier of the band and need Stevie and Lindsey back or we can’t go on.

“Lindsey had quit quit the band just before the Tango In The Night world tour in 1987 but we got him back in 1992 thankfully. But Fleetwood Mac now could never continue without Stevie especially.

“The truth is she is the only member that can go out and still command a whole audience’s attention span — in her own right in her solo work AND as a member of Fleetwood Mac.

“Anyway, I aired my views and worries and I’m sure it freaked Stevie out because immediately she was asked by everyone if the band would ever tour again. And, of course, she wanted back in.

“Then me, Lindsey and John went into the studio six months ago, because we just wanted to start something. Stevie had been busy with her solo album and tour and she had just lost her mum. So we just put the idea of a new record on the back burner.

“But she’s been in the studio with Lindsey and sung on two or three of his songs and they had a fantastic time. There’s about seven songs in total.

“We’re hoping we can put some new songs out as an EP around the time of the tour. Stevie and Lindsey are singing together more, as it worked so well on stage when we toured. Stevie and Lindsey are in a good place today, which is cool.

“And on the tour we’re intending to play a couple of new songs as well as the ones we have to play or we’d be shot. But we might reapproach some songs in a totally different way.

“I know John is keen for us to play “Crystal” (from the cult 1973 Buckingham Nicks album) as that’s the song I heard when I invited Stevie and Lindsey into the band.

“We might even let the audience ‘pick a song’ via some technology on the night and do a mishmash of the songs chosen.”

The big news for devoted Fleetwood Mac fans is that the band are reuniting with Christine McVie.

Fleetwood reveals: “I spoke to her just before I walked through that door to speak to you for this interview.

“I’m seeing Chris here in London before I leave and even though she loathes flying and she’s never been back to the United States since the day she left, she is getting on a plane and flying to Hawaii with me. I’m going to hold her hand all the way — even if I have to handcuff it.

“We miss her and love her, and I hope I’m a part in persuading her to return.

“She’s going to come and stay for three weeks in Maui — I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. John’s going to come over from Honolulu to see her.

“And then she’s going to LA to see Stevie, who misses her terribly and is really excited to see her.

“But it’ll be her decision. But we’d make her very welcome if she wanted to creep on that stage again.

“Fleetwood Mac are back and it’s going to be a great tour. It’s only right that Christine joins us too.”