Home » Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (Warner Bros.)

Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (Warner Bros.)

You could look it up. After 10 years and a like number of frequently boring albums (some great stuff in there, too), these penguin fanciers were starting to look like small beer. Meanwhile, Stevie Nicks was waiting tables, while her partner Lindsey Buckingham worked scams from home. It was L.A., and it was the tar pits.

Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977)

YOU COULD look it up. After 10 years and a like number of frequently boring albums (some great stuff in there, too), these penguin fanciers were starting to look like small beer. Meanwhile, Stevie Nicks was waiting tables, while her partner Lindsey Buckingham worked scams from home. It was L.A., and it was the tar pits.

Well, in what’s become the “auteur” theory on Mick Fleetwood, it was getting time for a new voice-guitar module. Let Lindsey Buckingham tell it in that pithy, laconic way an interview in Guitar Player magazine always inspires: “About two weeks before we ended up cutting Fleetwood Mac, Mick was looking for a studio to use. Someone haphazardly turned him on to this place in the San Fernando Valley called Sound City. So he talked to (engineer) Keith Olsen out there, and Keith put on “Frozen Love” from the Buckingham/Nicks album to show him what the studio was like and what his work sounded like. He wasn’t trying to showcase us, because Bob Welch was already in the band at that time. A week later, Bob decided to leave the group, and Mick just acted intuitively and called up Keith to get in touch with us. We rehearsed for about two weeks and then just cut the LP.”

The used-car capital of the world! They drove that cream puff right out of the lot and onto the charts, apparently forever. I played the shit out of my copy, too. Then, got a little tired of it. (My copy of 1970’s Kiln House looks like somebody held a roach race with figure skates on it, but I still play the record all the time.)

But before we get into silly disquisitions about why “Go Your Own Way” is a great single off an entirely up-to-snuff new album, let’s rip off another one of those Guitar Player quotes, the kind that put you right in the blind cosmic hum of the brood chamber of the rock & roll ant farm: “Then I got an Ampeg 4-track and started using the Sony 2-track for slap echo and effects like that with the preamp output of the deck into an amp. It’s just an amazing fuzz device. Since then I’ve taken the guts out of the preamp and put them in a little box, and that’s what I use onstage and in the studio. I also use a Roland Space Echo and a Cry Baby wah-wah sometimes. My strings are Ernie Ball Regular Slinky…”

What? Is that what’s getting under my skin in “Go Your Own Way”? You gotta remember that the formation of this group broke up three happy couples: that fact might bear on the title of this single, which opens with a Ventures strum that lifts out of the dashboard and says, “Hush your mouth.” Then comes a trebly, ringing acoustic guitar line. “Loving you/Isn’t the right thing to do,” twangs Buckingham in his best Danny Kirwan, heart broke dither, as Fleetwood’s drums spring in to help: “How can I/Ever change things that I feel?”

As Buckingham finishes the verse, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks haul in for a full-voiced chorus, and the next stanza is underscored by a tense, curling tail of feedback. If you aren’t hooked by now, you better check your pulse. Just in time, too, because from the bridge on, they let Buckingham nudge the refrain aside and take the song out.

Given the vigor of that cut, plus “Second Hand News” and the previous album’s shoving “Monday Morning” (not to mention the exuberant finger-picking of “Never Going Back Again”), Lindsey Buckingham shows up as a saltier cowboy than most any of those other canyon-roaming L.A. smog-eaters.

Not to sell Fleetwood and the McVies short ― they’re steady punchers ― the band was also lucky to bring in Stevie Nicks’ talents. The mesh was very smooth: folding “Rhiannon” into a loping backbeat, she let a few lines catch in her throat, then warded off coyness by belting the odd phrase through her cheekbones, while lazy Byrds progressions linked the verses hypnotically together.

Stevie’s “Crystal,” sung by Buckingham both on Buckingham/Nicks and Fleetwood Mac in a timbre oddly like Christine McVie’s, turned, in a span of three years, from a picker’s minuet into an organ dirge. And the vocal that Nicks rode so hard in 1973 faded back. All of her vocals on the first group album were nice but a little cakey, so it’s good to hear the power come back on this new disc.

Both “Dreams” and “Gold Dust Woman” (the latter is about groupies) offer confident, nearly seamless singing. “Gold Dust Woman,” with its breathiness and whip-cracking phrasing, owes no small debt to Bonnie Raitt’s style. And Ken Emerson has pointed out that Nicks employs Melanie- and Lulu-like trills. “Dreams” shows all that, but Stevie Nicks gains appeal through her slack elocution. That insolently foxy upper lip flutters the tone like a mute in a trumpet.

Nicks’ “I Don’t Want to Know” is folk harmony over Merseybeat, complete with handclaps. The next step back in time is skiffle. Then maybe we can start the whole adventure, with Christine McVie in Chicken Shack, all over again.

Christine McVie’s “Oh, Daddy” and “Songbird,” like “Warm Ways” on the previous LP, are riskily close to the solemn bleating on the so-called Legendary Christine Perfect Album. Her chief virtue on slow songs is simple honesty, but it takes the gentle propulsion of “Over My Head,” “Say You Love Me,” and “Sugar Daddy” (or her new, cranked-up “Don’t Stop”) to make McVie a real asset.

Since this album’s a product of California, I subjected it, finally, to the rock professor’s test for non-verbal epistemological coherence. It sank like a bad egg in a glass of Jim Beam.

And that’s despite the, uh, cosmic circumstances of the group’s chemical collaboration on “The Chain.” The harmonies just pelt out over a determinedly walloping drum. Sounds like fervor for its own sake, but, like the Welsh witch howls that close the record, the song might lead you to think that Fleetwood Mac aspire to a station higher than that of a singles band. Fine ― but as things stand, I’m happy to take my dose over the airways for another year or so.

© Fred Schruers / Circus / April 1977

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LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ
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FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY
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FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD
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FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC
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FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
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FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
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MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
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MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
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MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel
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MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC
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MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO
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MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK
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MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
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MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
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Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
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MAY 24, 2024
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Ball Arena
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JUN 4
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JUN 21, 2024
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Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center



2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

POSTPONED
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

POSTPONED
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022

RESCHEDULED SHOWS

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton