Released:

February 4, 1977


Rating:


Genre:

classic rock


Quotable:

“Classic FM fare.” – Rob O’Connor, Amazon.com


Album Tracks:

  1. Second Hand News (Buckingham) [2:43]
  2. Dreams (Nicks) [4:14]
  3. Never Going Back Again (Buckingham) [2:02]
  4. Don’t Stop (McVie) [3:11]
  5. Go Your Own Way (Buckingham) [3:38]
  6. Songbird (McVie) [3:20]
  7. The Chain (Buckingham/
    Fleetwood/ McVie/ McVie/ Nicks
    ) [4:28]
  8. You Make Loving Fun (McVie) [3:31]
  9. I Don’t Want to Know (Nicks) [3:11]
  10. Oh Daddy (McVie) [3:54]
  11. Gold Dust Woman (Nicks) [4:51]

Total Running Time:

39:03


Sales (in millions):

19.0
3.14
--
40.0


Peak:

1 31
1 1


Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Go Your Own Way (1/8/77) #45 AC, #10 HT, #38 UK, air: 1.0 m
  • Dreams (4/16/77) #11 AC, #1-1 wk HT, #24 UK, sales: 0.5 m, air: 5.0 m
  • Don’t Stop (4/30/77) #22 AC, #3 HT, #32 UK, air: 3.0 m
  • You Make Loving Fun (10/15/77) #28 AC, #9 HT, #45 UK, air: 2.0 m
  • The Chain (10/25/97) #30 AR

Notes:

A 2004 deluxe edition reissue of the album added B-side “Silver Springs” to the original track listing and a 2nd disc of alternate versions of the songs, plus songs “Think about It,” “Planets of the Universe,” “Butter Cookie (Keep Me There),” “Doesn’t Anything Last,” “Mic the Screecher,” and “For Duster (The Blues).”


Awards:


Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

Review:

“Intense, internal drama always adds a kick to a final piece of work…[and] few bands can equal Fleetwood Mac…[for] their angst [that] gave us an album that defined a decade.” DV

The roots of the band stem back to the late-‘60s, but the incarnation with which most people are familiar came along in the mid-‘70s. “In 1975, a pair of hard-living, hard-rocking British blues rockers went eye-to-eye with a pair of sensitive L.A. singer-songwriter types -- and the rockers blinked. The bluesmen were Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, whose band, Fleetwood Mac, had first recorded in 1967.” BN For years, they had doggedly “stuck to this beguiling formula when it barely broken even.” RC Then along came Californians “Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, a couple romantically and musically, who’d recorded an album as Buckingham Nicks. The two pairs, along with McVie’s wife, Christine (a respected singer and songwriter in her own right who joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 and then married John), teamed up and produced [their 1975 eponymous album that was] far more California sunshine rock than British blues.” BN

This was “crisp, professional soft-rock - like a depoliticized Crosby, Stills & Nash…it’s not terribly profound but” DW it “never comes across as insincere.” AMG It “was packed with great pop smarts” DV that made it “different from all other easy-listening rock, give or take an ancient harmony or two.” RC “Its brainy guitar solos were rather more frequent than those of other Southern California sunny soft-rock outfits” RS and “every song is catchy and clever.” DW It “has a lot of heart” AMG and, even more important, a soul.” DV

The events that transpired after the quartet’s first album suggested its follow-up would be a mess, if it happened at all. “Enormous amounts of cocaine were consumed by musicians and engineers, destroying their perspective and slowing the work to a snail’s pace” CRS and “Fleetwood Mac’s personnel were reeling from three broken relationships…two of them were inter-band.” CRS “Keyboardist Christine McVie sparred with husband/bassist John, and singer Stevie Nicks scrapped with boyfriend/guitarist Lindsay Buckingham.” CDU “As Mick Fleetwood recalls, ‘[It would] take us almost a year, during which we spoke to each other in clipped, civil tones while sitting in small, airless studios listening to each other’s songs about our own shattered relationships.’” CRS

“The resulting romantic pressure-cooker” AZ produced “a tour de force” BN which was “both more consistent and more eccentric than its blockbuster predecessor.” RC “All that sloppy, vengeful friction infuses songs…with a fury that even the very L.A. production can’t smother.” TL “The two couples confess, blame, sigh and ride a deep, chugging groove toward some kind of resolution.” RS “In its idiosyncratic way it mirrors all the lost loves of the world.” RS “It’s the ultimate hangover album for the lovestruck.” DV

“Drummer Mick Fleetwood held the emotional mess together with confident steadiness as demonstrated in his confident, inventive playing throughout the record.” CDU It doesn’t hurt that “they’ve got three melodist-vocalists on the job” RC and that “the cute-voiced woman writes and sings the tough lyrics and the husky-voiced woman the vulnerable ones.” RC

In addition, “Buckingham pushed the production into a magnificent combination of intricate and spare.” RS The result was “the band’s most celebrated album and one of the best-selling albums of all time.” AMG

“The rest comes down to individual strengths: Christine McVie’s tough-talking smoothness; Nicks’ vulnerability; Buckingham’s precise guitar, and the taut blues rhythms of John McVie and Fleetwood.” TL

“All of the anger and frustration of being locked up in the studio came out with” DV “the countryish I Don’t Want to Know,” RS “a nice, poppy little ditty, with stark, frank lyrics. ‘Now you tell me that I’m crazy, it’s nothing that I didn’t know,’ a chipper clap shimmers after that vinegar tinged line. Though they wanted to kill each other, they still wanted to sound damn good while they were doing it.” DV

Dreams

“Each songwriter makes his or her presence known.” AZ Stevie Nicks’ “dreamy, mystical reveries” AZ such as in “the melancholy hit Dreams made it quite clear just how much depth and substance [she] was capable of.” AMG “Her slightly hoarse, ‘magic’ voice [does] wonders to the song.” GS “‘Here you go again,’ breathed Stevie Nicks…‘you say you want your freedom.’ The emotional weariness captured in that line suffuses the album, notwithstanding the upbeat melodies and pristine, daring production.” BN

Her “folkish Gold Dust WomanAMG is “as nasty a bit of business as her cute, torn voice ever got into.” RS It “casts a great spell…As a sparse, cryptic guitar plays a simple chord, Nicks swoons ‘Did she make you cry/make you break down/ shatter your illusions of love?’” DV It also gives the album its “most chilling” DV moment.

Buckingham contributes “harder-driving” DV songs with “self-depreciating lyrics [that] have been carbon copied by thousands of imitators.” DV These “deceptively simple pop songs” AZ “reveal a complex account of their despair.” DV Second Hand News, with its “great, galloping guitar sound” DV “sounds very close to [the previous album’s] ‘Monday Morning’ but…is actually better because it has some tremendous acoustic playing and a lot of silly happy noises.” GS

Both it and Never Going Back Again “go from anger to humor to insecureness.” DV ‘Again’ is a little bluegrass excursion with a little tricky riff that amply demonstrates Lindsey’s talents as a guitarist. If you ever thought Fleetwood Mac were nothing but a well-oiled commercial machine churning out lifeless, faceless bubblegum, take a listen to this one and you’ll be cured instantly.” GS

Go Your Own Way

“Arguably Buckingham’s greatest track” BN is “a drum-driven cry at the death of love” BN when he “vents his feelings for…Nicks, telling her to Go Your Own Way.” RV The “remorseful” album rock staple is backed by her “fiery vocals” CDU and features “one of his finest guitar solos.” RV

Rumours is not all veiled in black velvet.” DV Christine McVie turns in “fast, joyful, optimistic pop” GS and “ultra-catchy slogans” AZ on tunes such as “Don’t Stop, which President Bill Clinton used as his campaign theme song in 1992.” AMG

Don’t Stop

“Smiley-face ballads Songbird and Oh DaddyRS “sound nothing like the boggy, all-too-identic kind of sentimental slush that marred so many of her earlier compositions. ‘Songbird,’ recorded live, is a simple piano-driven ditty without pompous arrangements or artificially sweetened-up vocals.” GS “‘Oh Daddy’ is a genuine love complaint with one of the most beautifully sung refrains ever. Apparently, Christine had gained quite a lot of skills from Lindsey and Stevie, and her divorce with John added a faint streak of sincerity to her work.” GS

She also offers up her “beautifully understated style on tunes like You Make Loving Fun,” CDU which “mostly distinguishes itself by possessing some beautifully constructed vocal lines. It also has a steady, disco-ish beat (a very rare thing for Christine) and features a nice rock solo from Lindsey.” GS Its “mellow boogie” RS and “optimistic tones…perfectly show a renewed sense of love. It’s one of Christine McVie’s shining moments in the band.” DV

You Make Loving Fun

The Chain, written collectively, is the Mac at their most dramatic.” AZ It is “the full-band invocation of coming darkness and cramped emotional interdependence.” RS It “begins as a slow dirge simply damning the lies of another, before surging into the angst-filled refrain, ‘Chains keep us together.’” RV It is “angry and menancing [and] beautifully constructed.” GS “It all works perfectly…a sort of tennis match between lovers.” DV

“The ensemble playing, the elastic rhythms, and lush harmonies that transform the material into classic FM fare” AZ that “jumps right out of the speakers at you” RC and make the album “consistently memorable” AMG – “a milestone in classic rock.” GS


Review Source(s):

  • AMG All Music Guide review by Alex Henderson
  • AZ Amazon.com review by Rob O’Connor
  • BN Barnes & Noble review by Bill Wyman
  • CDU CdUniverse.com
  • RC Robert Christgau
  • DV Daily Vault review by Seth McCarthy
  • CRS Tim Morse (1998). Classic Rock Stories: The Stories Behind the Greatest Rock Songs of All Time. New York, NY: St. Martin's Griffin.
  • RV The Review “100 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Clarke Speicher (October – November 2001; Vol. 128: numbers 12-23).
  • RS Rolling Stone review by Arion Berger (originally in print issue 896: 5/23/02)
  • GS George Starostin
  • TL Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Albums by Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light (11/13/06).

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Last updated November 30, 2012.