jason stives looks at a classic from the mac…
In prepping a last second replacement for this week’s Lost Songs, I was at a stalemate: do I cover another noted British band that I have a love for or try and find a strong American act with a wealth of material that may come off predictable but still different? Then, my iPod shuffled to “Second Hand News,” the opening track to Fleetwood Mac’s acclaimed 1977 release Rumours. Problem solved.
The American/English-fused rock quintet provided the exact answer but one can easily push aside the importance of this stellar band that has been around for some 45 years. Most people have two trains of thought when it comes to Fleetwood Mac: 1) they’re obnoxious, ’70s AM gold balladeers. 2) They’re Bill Clinton’s favorite band. On one end both are true depending on your taste but Fleetwood Mac’s roots stem back to their original blues rock format back when Peter Green was lead guitarist and they produced mainly experimental rock albums like Kiln House and Mr. Wonderful and releasing bombastic bluesy tracks like their first charting US single, 1969’s “Oh Well.”
Then in 1975 after numerous line-up changes the band relocated to California, enlisted the songwriting couple of Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham and turned their output to a more pop oriented sound. After a self-titled release in the same year the band would go on to make Rumours, one of the biggest selling albums of the seventies and also one of the most important records to come out during this period.
This is the album that Chuck Klosterman famously proclaimed was when “Christine McVie and John McVie’s marriage ended, the on-and-off relationship of Stevie Nicks and Buckingham was practically through, and Mick Fleetwood strongly began considering sleeping with Stevie Nicks, something he did during the making of 1979’s Tusk. The true legacy of this album lies in the personal drama that is mentioned above and the collection of songs that ultimately stemmed from these sessions are so passionate and so devastatingly honest that you feel like you were in the room during the record’s production.
All the songs on this album are dynamite selections, and many of them ended up being hit singles, but some of the tracks that didn’t make it onto that record are truly the ones to look into. One in particular, “Silver Springs,” was originally intended to be on the album but was taken out, ultimately leading to growing tension between the band members. It ended up being the B-side to “Go Your Own Way,” but would see even greater exposure when it was included on The Dance, the band’s live album from their 1997 reunion tour.
It’s probably the best track not be included on a record and in my own personal opinion, I would gladly swap the Christine McVie heavy “Oh Daddy” for this song on the album any day of the week. The strength in the songs beauty lies in Nicks’ vocal work which even on this live cut is remarkably haunting and sincere. Coupled with some strong harmonizing from the group and elegant guitar and piano work from McVie and Buckingham and you have a true lost classic.