More Than Rumours: Fleetwood Mac’s 50 Best Songs Ranked
California natives Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks injected new energy into the iconic rock ‘n’ roll band.
- CategoryMusic + Culture
With London roots that date back to the late 1960s, Fleetwood Mac achieved mainstream success a few years later with the addition of a California duo. Original member Mick Fleetwood was checking out Sound City Studios in Los Angeles when the house engineer, Keith Olsen, played him a track which he had recorded in the studio, “Frozen Love,” from the album Buckingham Nicks (1973). Fleetwood liked it and was introduced to the guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, who coincidentally was at Sound City that day recording some demos. Fleetwood soon asked him to join. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his music partner and girlfriend, Stevie Nicks, also become part of the band. Fleetwood agreed and Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year’s Eve 1974.
The rest is rock ‘n’ roll history.
According to a recent article in Rolling Stone, “Fleetwood Mac have been rock’s greatest soap opera for five decades–from their ’60s origins in the English blues-rock scene to their ’70s reinvention as California rock superstars through their smooth ’80s hits and right up to today. Through it all, there’s been brutal romantic blowups and historic levels of drug use. ‘Parties going on all over the house,’ John McVie told Rolling Stone in 1977, recalling the making of their classic Rumours LP. ‘Amazing. Terrifying. Huge amounts of illicit materials, yards and yards of this wretched stuff. Days and nights would just go on and on.’”
Through the haze of smoke, drug use and enough relationship drama to fill a romance anthology, the band produced several hit albums and dozens of chart-topping songs, making them one of the most successful bands of all time.
With such a huge catalog of incredible, game-changing music, how could even the most loyal fan rank the best of the best of Fleetwood Mac? Rolling Stones took on the challenge and published their favorites from #50 to #1.
Here are their picks for #2 and #3 …
“Gold Dust Woman”
“The chilling climax of Rumours is a seductive guitar ballad that doubles as a horror show. Nicks sings about a dark, sexual obsession and a drug rush as if they’re the same addiction, taunting, ‘Did she make you cry?/Make you break down?/Shatter your illusions of love?’ over woozy, phased guitars. According to engineer Chris Morris, the song took ‘20 or 30 takes’ to get right, with Nicks recording her vocals late at night wrapped in a shawl and standing on a chair as someone slowly dimmed the lights in the recording booth. Nicks still performs ‘Gold Dust Woman’ live, with an interpretive dance. ‘It’s me being some of the drug addicts I knew, and probably being myself too–just being that girl lost on the streets, freaked out with no idea how to find her way,’ she told Rolling Stone. ‘When Christine saw it, she said, ‘Wow, we’ve always known that
‘Gold Dust Woman’ was about the serious drug days, but this really depicts how frightening it was for all of us and what we were willing to do for it.’ We were dancing on the edge for years.’”
Fleetwood Mac (1975)
“Shortly before she and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac, Nicks picked up a novel called Triad at an airport. The book told the story of a Welsh woman who believes she’s been possessed by another woman, named Rhiannon. ‘I wrote this song and made her into what I thought was an old Welsh witch,’ Nicks said. ‘It’s just about a very mystical woman that finds it very, very hard to be tied down in any kind of way.’ Envisioning a ‘Welsh country song,’ Nicks began with stark, autumnal piano chords, around which Buckingham built a guitar part. ‘My tendency is to want to add rhythm and to rock it up,’ he recalled. Nicks later learned that Rhiannon was a character from Welsh mythology, but the real myth she invented on Fleetwood Mac’s first American Top 10 hit was her own–the shawl-wearing California enchantress who left crowds stunned by her smoldering, trancelike performances. ‘She’s like your fairy-princess godmother,’ Courtney Love once said, ‘who lives in a magical kingdom somewhere and has, like, fabulous romances.’”
Which hit holds the honor of #1?
Find that song here alongside all 50 of Fleetwood Mac’s best tracks.
The short answer … who knows?