Fleetwood Mac Rumours
Home » Rumours album will have a big role in Fleetwood Mac's tour

Rumours album will have a big role in Fleetwood Mac's tour

Fleetwood Mac RumoursBy Jeffrey Lee Puckett
Courier-Journal
Friday, April 5, 2013

FLEETWOOD MAC

When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
Where: KFC Yum! Center
Tickets: $46.50, $76.50, $144.50, available at the box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com and by phone, (800) 745-3000.

Thousands of albums are released each year, and the vast majority quickly fade to black. A handful become part of pop culture, however, touchstones for anyone with even the slightest interest in music.

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is one of those. In fact, it may be the one. There are albums that have sold more (seven of them, to be exact), but none enjoy the same kind of unconditional love across several generations; Rumours has always been an album sought out by elitist and casual fans alike.

The album was recently honored with a 35th anniversary re-release, expanded to three CDs with a live performance and an entire disc of studio outtakes and demos. Fleetwood Mac then announced a tour, which comes to the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday. But it’s actually been 36 years since Rumours was released, and the band’s tour has nothing to do with the anniversary.

The skewered logic makes sense, however, when considered in context with the band’s storied history. No one in Fleetwood Mac was making logical decisions when Rumours was recorded, with multiple interchangeable affairs ongoing within the band as marriages were dissolving. What should have been a train wreck became instead, through sheer force of will, the band’s defining moment.

“No matter what, that album will always be the pivot point, the vortex that draws people, and I love it,” said drummer and band co-founder Mick Fleetwood. “It affected everyone so strongly, what we were going through, the proverbial soap opera. It’s still mind-blowing, even though it’s a well-worn story. You think, ‘My God, how did we get through all that?’

“It is and was incredibly inspiring, and there was sort of a heroic element to it, where we had the ultimate stiff upper lip in our devotion to the band at a huge cost to the individuals, emotionally and personally. We were so devoted that we simply, and somewhat unbelievably, never said, ‘We can’t do this. It’s too painful.’ ”

Songs from Rumours will certainly play a significant role in the tour, which began last night and stars Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie. Aside from singer and keyboardist Christine McVie, who more or less retired in 1998, this is the same lineup that has powered the band since the release of 1975’s Fleetwood Mac.

That album dramatically changed the band’s profile. Begun as a blues band in 1967 with Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, Fleetwood Mac had by the mid-1970s enjoyed years of steady but unspectacular success. The addition of the then-unknown Buckingham and Nicks revitalized the band, and Fleetwood Mac spawned three Top 20 hits and quickly went multiplatinum.

By 1997, the anticipation for Rumours was profound. Released in February, it immediately went to No. 1 in both the United States and United Kingdom, powered by a seemingly endless stream of classic singles and deep album cuts that got nearly as much airplay — “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop,” “Dreams,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “The Chain,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Second Hand News.” More than 40 million copies have been sold.

Fleetwood, long revered as one of rock’s grandest drummers, finally had a massively successful band. He had thought the same was possible for the first version of Fleetwood Mac, which still has its champions and was for years considered one of England’s finest blues bands. Their first album, “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac,” was a big hit in England.

“The whole band came out of the blues boom in England, and we’d all done our boot-camp training with John Mayall, so we went straight into what we were doing and then suddenly found that playing the music that we loved had nothing to with making hit records, at all, but we had a No. 1 album,” Fleetwood said. “It was all kind of put on track by some kind of angel right from the beginning.”

Fleetwood Mac rarely kept the same lineup from one album to the next, running through a host of guitarists even as Christine McVie settled into a steady role. There was a good run in the early 1970s with guitarist, singer and songwriter Bob Welch, but he bolted for a solo career in late 1974 and the band was once again left in the lurch. The ever-resourceful Fleetwood found a couple of kids who performed as Buckingham-Nicks.

“It was hugely profound because of the chemistry that occurred with Stevie and Lindsey, and that became such an iconic thing that we had no idea would be that successful,” Fleetwood said. “We were just continuing as a band that didn’t want to break up. To us, it was quite a normal transition.”

Given that Fleetwood has 45 years invested in Fleetwood Mac, it would be understandable if he felt a little chafed that the world focuses on such a narrow portion of the band’s history. But Rumours was a game-changer.

“The music is something we still love to play and we want to play and are expected to play,” Fleetwood said, “but we also continued to create a huge body of work. (Rumours) allowed us, artistically, so much longitude and latitude and freedoms, which we took, willingly. We look at it as a real friend, the ultimate calling card that opened up so many doors.”

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