Growing up in the 80s, Fleetwood Mac was an easy band to dismiss. They were the boring, daggy old guys my parents liked. In my defence though, Mick Fleetwood looked daggy even in the band’s younger days. But as I got older, I heard about how rock and roll and hard partying these dudes were in the 70s, and all of a sudden they didn’t seem quite so lame. I also started to learn that Lindsay Buckingham is an amazing guitarist. So while I may have come across this band long after their hay day, that doesn’t make that hay day any less impressive. Which is why I thought I was long past due to finally listen to their legendary Rumours.
Starting strong, Second Hand News has a brilliant melody and even better burst of shredding guitar solo to end on. And while I’m sure Fleetwood Mac traditionalists hate Buckingham’s Holiday Road from the Vacation movies, it’s the similarities between that song’s feel and Second Hand News that makes me like the latter so much.
The first burst of Stevie Nicks comes next with Dreams. And while it’s nowhere near as poppy or instantly catchy as Second Hand News, it is an example of amazing musicians all doing their thing and also knowing their place. No one ever gets too carried away or feels the need to show off and overshadow anyone else.
With its finger plucked guitar and soft vocals, Never Going Back Again almost sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel song. But you know, less infuriatingly precious. But when it leads in to Don’t Stop, it’s pretty quickly forgotten. There’s a reason why this song is still so well known and so often played today. It’s a rock classic and refuses to get old. And when it’s immediately followed by Go Your Own Way, it only makes both songs even more impressive.
Songbird offers one of the most subdued simple songs on offer here. Just Christine McVie’s voice, some gentle piano and a light acoustic guitar deep in the background. While every other Rumours song is credited to just one song writer, The Chain is a real group effort, with every single band member getting credit. That group effort is first evident on the multiple harmonies that make up the vocals. But the music behind it is surprisingly stripped back and bluegrass for the majority of the song.
Now, Mick Fleetwood isn’t really regarded as a great drummer. And the only song he gets credit for contributing to is the group effort of The Chain. So, what does he actually contribute to Rumours? Well, if all he contributed to this record, or Fleetwood Mac’s entire discography, was the sexy, sexy harpsichord on You Make Loving Fun, then his place amongst these much superior musicians and song writers is forever justified.
I’d say Second Hand News, Don’t Stop, Go Your Won Way and The Chain are more than enough to justify Rumours’ classic status. Those four songs really are that good. And that didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that the rest of Rumours, the songs I had never heard before, are almost just as good.