Return Of The Mac: Fleetwood Favorites

The Rumours are true.

The Rumours are true.

Fleetwood Mac announced several days ago that they’ll be going on tour in 2013, starting up a 34-city tour on April 4 in Columbus, OH. The group, now a quartet of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Stevie Nicks, may also be putting out an EP in the new year. It would be the first studio release for the band since 2003’s Say You Will, which was certified Gold. Buckingham and Nicks have both released solo albums since then. Even though the lineup and the sound has changed throughout the year, the group’s remained just as popular, a staple of Classic Rock radio over thirty-five years after they first made the top 40. Here’s a playlist of some of my favorite releases from the band and their solo efforts throughout the years.

“Go Your Own Way”, Fleetwood Mac (1977)
Even from just the opening line, “Loving you / Is it the right thing to do?”, you can tell this one is going to be about a rocky relationship. I mean, “Packing up / Shacking up’s all you wanna do”? Way to call someone out! Written and sung by Buckingham, it’s my favorite of the Rumours era singles. Listen to the guitar solo at the end. It’s pure rock ‘n’ roll and Buckingham is just shredding it up. The song hit #10 on the Hot 100 in the spring of 1977.

“Don’t Stop”, Fleetwood Mac (1977)
This one was a smash on its own, rising to a peak of #3 back in 1977, but don’t think that Bill Clinton‘s election campaign back in 1992 didn’t keep this one relevant and continually on the radio. The song, which was written about Christine McVie‘s divorce from husband John McVie, is today essentially just seen as an anthem for moving forward and remembering that the past is gone. The vocals are shared by McVie and Buckingham, with that rolling drum shuffle at the beginning and some good guitar work by Buckingham. It’s a classic for good reason.

“Edge Of Seventeen”, Stevie Nicks (1982)
Pretty much all three of the big singles from Bella Donna receive regular rotation at Classic Rock radio, and this has to be the most-played one. Everything about it is perfect, from the guitar line to Nicks‘s intense vocals, especially the backing ones. “Seventeen” is a rocking tune about a girl who becomes enamored with a guy, but as she gets older, she can still recall her youth and her freedom, which she likens to a “nightbird singing ‘come away'”. Though it wasn’t her biggest solo single, peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 in 1982, it’s probably her best known one today.

“Stand Back”, Stevie Nicks (1983)
Inspired by Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”, the Purple One actually played the synthesizers that you hear on this track. Trending into more of a Pop sound than the Rock one found on Bella Donna, The Wild Heart was still a big seller, with this single becoming one of the highest charting of her career, peaking at #5. It’s a cute song that still gets some airplay today.

“Holiday Road”, Lindsey Buckingham (1983)
You can’t help but love this one. Initially included on the soundtrack to National Lampoon’s Vacation, this one wasn’t a big hit as most people think it was. It only climbed as high as #82 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1983. It’s a tad bit on the repetitive side, but hey, if you’re taking a trip, I’d rather hear this than the standard “On The Road Again”. Must be that hand-clapping that really gets you going. There’s even a dog barking at the end of it. I mean, can you fit anything else into this song and still compact it down to two minutes and ten seconds? It’s short and it’s sweet.

“Go Insane”, Lindsey Buckingham (1984)
Man, this one does not hold up today, but it’s a perfect slice of 80’s synthesizer-based Pop music. It’s probably my favorite from Buckingham’s solo catalogue of singles. It has a troubling message about losing power and control, but you can still dance to it. The lyrics are sort of up for interpretation otherwise, but the mystery of it all, in addition to the funky, futuristic arrangement, make the track enjoyable. “Insane” hit #23 on the Hot 100 in 1984.

“Big Love”, Fleetwood Mac (1987)
With an awesome bass line and vocals by Lindsey Buckingham, the first single from Tango In The Night was a different sound for the band, who had become accustomed to releasing ballads and mid-tempos for several years. The video was a big part of why this song did so well, using some interesting camera angles and editing to make it seem like you’re flying through rooms, windows and space. It’s a very sensual song, but not all of them can be about breakups, right? This awesome track peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 in 1987.

“Everywhere”, Fleetwood Mac (1987)
This was the fourth and final top-40 single from the Mac’s 1987 album, Tango In The Night, led by a vocal from ex-member Christine McVie. It’s pretty dated sounding at this point, but the guitar work and the quick pace of the keyboards make this track unique. This hit #14 on the Hot 100 in early 1988, becoming one of McVie’s last top-40 hits as a member of the band.

“Landslide (Live)”, Fleetwood Mac (1998)
This was the first song I ever heard from the band as one of the stations played this quite a bit even though it wasn’t a hit on the CHR format. It was a mid-charter on the Hot 100 in 1998, though the album version originated on the band’s 1975 self-titled album. There’s something so vulnerable but beautiful about Stevie Nicks‘s vocals on this version. It’s been covered a few times over the years, but this is the version I always go back to. Simple arrangement, no bells and whistles. Vocals with conviction. Close your eyes and just hear the music.

“Every Day”, Stevie Nicks (2001)
From her solo release Trouble In Shangri-La, I used to see this video quite a bit on VH1 when it was on the charts. It’s the lighter side of Stevie, with some soft piano and a little bit of drum for some flavoring, and, of course, solid vocals from her as usual. This release was a major comeback for Nicks to the Album Chart, becoming her first album to hit the top five since The Wild Heart back in 1983. “Day” was a top 20 entry on the Adult Contemporary chart.

“Peacekeeper”, Fleetwood Mac (2003)
With so much tension between Buckingham and Nicks on and off during the years, it’s sort of ironic that the big hit from their album Say You Will was a song called “Peacekeeper”. There’s a series of lines in this song that I love, about how “friends” tell us the proper way we should “paint our face” to others, “But there’s only one brush we need / It’s the one that never leaves a trace.” Really nice analogy there. I didn’t really appreciate this one at the time because I wasn’t aware that it was released, but I’m glad I get to pay my respect to it now.

“Did You Miss Me?”, Lindsey Buckingham (2008)
I first heard this song back in the summer of 2008, featured on Buckingham’s solo album, Gift Of Screws, and it made the New & Active portion of my chart for a few weeks. This sounds so much like it could have been on Buckingham’s very first solo release in 1981, Law And Order. I suppose the list comes around full circle at this point as this one is about another relationship gone sour. The protagonist takes a trip to “get free” and laments about how demanding his significant other is, questioning if she actually misses him. Being so late in his career, Buckingham’s vocals are just as strong, and even though the effort didn’t see mainstream success, it was still a hit with the critics.

For members no longer with the band, check out “Precious Love” by the late Bob Welch and “Love Will Show Us How” by Christine McVie. In my opinion, they’re the best solo single by each act. Welch’s is a Disco-leaning release from 1979 and McVie’s is a straight-up Pop track with a fun video from 1984.

That’s just fourteen tracks and there are countless others out there. Have a favorite that I missed? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Playlists, Retro

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