In case you’ve been living under a very conveniently shaped rock, you may have heard of a small band named Fleetwood Mac. And unless there’s a lot of room under that rock, you may know they released one of the greatest albums of all time – Rumours – in 1977. And under a very small pebble beneath that enormous rock, you may find the knowledge that the very same fantastic album was rereleased in an expanded edition this year with never-before-heard exclusive tracks and live demos.
But hey, a little less living under rocks and a little more, Rock on, Gold Dust Woman.
Rumours means a lot to me, and probably too much.
I owe this love to four great women – the first two, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, aka, the women behind the Mac. I’ve idolized their sound, their style, their melodies, their deep-understanding-of-relationship-emotions, and their lyrics and you don’t know how many times I wish I could go back in time and shake a tambourine alongside the both of them. The second two are my mom and my roommate Kathrine, both of whom understand my love for the album, and have played it for me multiple times.
If you’ve ever had any emotional reaction to a breakup or a rocky relationship, Rumours is for you. So basically, if you are a human being with a pulse, I am convinced that there is a song on Rumours that you need to hear, and will love. I don’t need to wax poetic about the fact that the album was recorded while the entire band was pretty much divorcing each other and caught up in relationship messes. After all, there are whole documentaries related to this fact, and they play on repeat at our house, but that’s neither here nor there. Who hasn’t taken the Stevie’s advice in Dreams? (I mean, players do only love you when they’re playing.) Who hasn’t wanted to yell out to a former flame to Go Their Own Way or that seriously, after this, they’re Never Going Back Again? If the bass line (that bass line!) and harmonies in The Chain don’t hit you hard, are you even breathing? Haven’t you wanted to tell someone, both simply and overwhelmingly powerfully, that “You Make Loving Fun“? And, even if you’ve heard it in a million political campaigns, ‘Don’t Stop thinking about tomorrow’ is still true and powerful. And, mind you, this is all without even touching on the tears and the sweetness that Songbird is sure to bring.
But no, it’s not like I’m obsessed with this album or anything.
I’ll sum it up easily. About a month or so ago, Kathrine and I went to go see The Long Players play Rumours in full. The Long Players are a Nashville local band full of expert musicans known for playing classic albums all the way through, with which me and Kathrine’s 40-year-old-white-man-taste in music, is extremely wonderful and helpful, considering most of our musical heroes are dead, no longer touring, or no longer together. Having never seen Fleetwood Mac live (yet), this performance had a lot riding on it, and it did not disappoint, to the point of even having old guitar players from Fleetwood Mac onstage (!!!). Even though it wasn’t 1977 and it wasn’t the real band, Kathrine and I sang every song with the fervor of superfans, surrounded by our favorite melodies. However, the best part came from when we looked around and noticed that the venue was PACKED, even so far as to find out it sold out that night, which, in Nashville, is unheard of. And in that packed crowd, we realized we weren’t alone in our love for this collection of songs and what they’d gotten us through, because everyone else there had the same feelings, even if they’d been listening to the vinyl since before we both were born.
There was a large group of women in the front row with us, and they kept turning to me and Kathrine and smiling, because I think they knew. I mean, they had to know, just like my Mom knew from a young age, that her singing “Landslide” in our home, along with my penchant for wearing ponchos, big blonde waves, and 70s fabric would make me love Stevie Nicks a great deal. But I am convinced that these women in the front row had to have known that Kathrine and I both strongly want to be Stevie Nicks when we grow up (or really, now) because they had wanted to be her as well. They had all wanted to drape scarves over a mic stand and wear flowy outfits and twirl around the stage and tell off past loves through the best lyrics, and they had lived that dream, growing up alongside her. Fastforward to now, and even though we were all a few years behind, together, ages 22-70, we were all Gold Dust Women, rocking on and swaying along with a tambourine to Mick Fleetwood’s solos and fills and sharing the harmonies (and emotional baggage) with Lindsey Buckingham.
And in that moment, more than anything, I remembered that good music makes you feel something, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. Good music makes you happy and sad and angry and honest, but it doesn’t try and tell you what to do. It simply sympathizes and fills you with the sense that you’re not alone.
Even though I’m not Stevie Nicks (yet), I still have Rumours to love.
And so Rumours continues to exist and evoke feeling, whether the full band tours again or makes new music. Rumours captures one small moment in time, 11 songs, and just over 39 minutes total of musical satisfaction – for me, at least. Rumours is cheaper and more efficient than any therapist, worn-in and well-traveled and loved like a good pair of leather (and lace) boots that fit perfectly each time you put them on, and, in constant rotation on 3 separate vinyl copies in my house.
And even though I could spend a million more words on just talking about why “Silver Springs” is one of the best songs ever written should have been a part of the original album release (seriously), I’ll end this emotional album overflow with a quote that Kathrine has said time and again-