Fleetwood Mac
Home » Sex and drugs and lighting guys

Sex and drugs and lighting guys

Sex and Drugs and Lighting Guys: The Fleetwood Mac Story

The 4th of February marked the fortieth anniversary of something great. This month in 1977, the album Rumours was released by Fleetwood Mac. Filled with memorable tracks, acerbic jabs and drug-fueled romantic angst, there is plenty for listeners of all ages and backgrounds to sink their auditory teeth into.

The Album’s Background

Rumours was designed first and foremost as an album that would contain no “filler” tracks; every track must be up to the standard of a single. Indeed, while this factor raised the bar and probably put an already high-pressure situation in a quality-analysis vice, it is undoubtedly instrumental to the album’s success. Every track is at a standard that it could be released and stand on its own two feet independently. Beyond this, the band retains its signature sound throughout, yet the trio of singers give each song a distinct and unique twist, preventing the album from stagnating or losing any magic upon repeated plays. However, beyond the acoustics and the standard of the tracks themselves is the story of the band’s turmoil, imprinted on the lyrics. The band consisted of five members, the on-again-off-again American couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, who were finally heading towards calling it off for good; and the Brits, the divorcing John and Christine McVie, and lastly Mick Fleetwood, who had just discovered his wife had been having an affair with his best friend.

The Creation Process

The emotional confusion and acrimony is incredibly prevalent in the lyrics of the album. ‘You Make Loving Fun’ is a feel-good song about finding the joy of being in a relationship with someone new, penned by Christine about the group’s lighting guy and with a bass line played by her ex-lover. She also claims her song ‘Oh Daddy’ is dedicated to drummer, Mick Fleetwood, but some members of the band believe this is actually a love song dedicated to someone else. Buckingham and Nicks, in turn, use the album as a cathartic method of digesting their own views on the breakdown of their relationship. ‘Go Your Own Way’, written by Buckingham, claims “shacking up’s all you want to do”, much to Nick’s chagrin, whilst her song ‘Dreams’ analyses the ephemeral nature of love through a series of metaphors, and a quiet awareness of the relationship’s end. The McVies didn’t talk between takes, and conversely recordings were the only time Nicks and Buckingham stopped screaming at each other. In addition, friction between the Brits and Americans in the group distanced all the members further. The recording sessions are a rumour-mill in and of themselves, with it being alleged the group didn’t see daylight for days; that John McVie was descending into serious alcoholism; Nicks tried to take cocaine anally and wrapped her head in a black scarf to record ‘Gold Dust Woman’, as well as the alleged affair between Fleetwood and Nicks.

The Album Title

The group has retrospectively confirmed, as well as all the Rumours surrounding the recording, that the album was named Rumours because the tracks were the only way the band knew what was happening with the other members. This disjointed and, at times, abusive exchange of monologues was the only stream of communication between the members at such a dysfunctional time.

Where You May Have Heard The Tracks

The gravitas of these tracks is evident as they permeate day-to-day popular culture. Bill Clinton used ‘Don’t Stop’s distinctive hook “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow”, as his campaign song in his successful 1993 run for office, with the band even re-uniting to play it live. Though this perhaps overlooks the message of the song that heartbreak is eventually a memory. ‘The Chain’ and its distinctive bassline riff, the sole song that all five members have writing credits for, can be heard on the BBC’s coverage of Formula One. Several songs have been covered by the likes of Eva Cassidy (‘Songbird’) and The Corrs (‘Dreams’), and have featured in soundtracks of high profile media such as The Simpsons, Forrest Gump, Skins, Cuckoo and Guitar Hero World Tour. The album was also voted 25th out of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

The Hidden Gem

Even if you are familiar with the album, you may not know of the unreleased track that Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks had a copyright tug of war over, ‘Silver Spring’. Replaced on the album by the marginally peppier ‘I Don’t Want To Know’, Nicks’ lyrical and musical genius is sorely overlooked. The song was recently added to the line-up in album re-releases and focuses on the breakdown of her relationship with Buckingham, with the eponymous ‘Silver Spring’ being an idealised and romantic sense of perfection. It was named after the band drove through Colorado and Nicks commented to Fleetwood that it seemed like a perfect place. For those who appreciate discovering new tracks, iTunes has many demos you probably haven’t heard before from the super-deluxe version of the album. ‘Planets of the Universe’ is particularly haunting, with poignant piano and vocals and a very raw, stripped back power behind it.

The Legacy

Rumours still hits a raw nerve with a lot of people; beyond the catchy tunes, familiar riffs and powerful vocals, the group is exploring the very real pain of being unable to hold a relationship together in a time of emotional turmoil. The album receives a lot of praise, and is almost seen as pejoratively mainstream since it has sold so many copies. So, is it overhyped? To quote Murray from Flight of the Conchords; “Rumours? No, it’s all true.”

Sophie Pawson / Inquire Live / Feb 12, 2017


LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
London, England

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

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

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

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


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

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