Still a couple of weeks behind on the classic album project. Today’s album is Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”.

Some Historical Background

I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t know and love this album. It seems to have been around forever. It has actually been around about thirty-five years. I guess that at some point I must have made the connection between this band and the old Fleetwood Mac (I know I had a copy of the single “Albatross”) but I don’t remember how I felt about the transition.

I had a copy of this on vinyl, but I have no idea when I bought it. I suspect it wasn’t long after it was released. It was also one of the first albums I replaced on CD.

One memory of this album. About twenty-five years ago I’m sitting in my flat listening to the album with a group of friends. We’ve been in the pub all evening and it’s now the small hours of the morning. Someone decides it is a good idea to start reading aloud the lyrics from the album as though they were poetry. They don’t really stand up that well. Hilarity ensues.

The rest of this blog post will be written as I listen to the album.

The Songs

1. Second Hand News

A slightly strange start to this song (and, indeed, to the whole album). There’s no introduction. You’re launched straight into the song. It’s like they were impatient to start and couldn’t wait for you. Given the strength of some of the songs on the album, this is a slightly weak start. Nothing wrong with it – there are just stronger songs that they could have used to open the album. It’s really short as well.

2. Dreams

And here’s one of the classics from the album. Does anyone not love Dreams? Actually, I’m sure there are plenty of people who think they hate it. Let’s not forget that this album was released at the height of punk rock and there were lots of people who would have hated all of this album on principle. They’re wrong though. I’m convinced that any balanced record collection has room for both Stevie Nicks and Sid Vicious. I love this song.

3. Never Going Back Again

After the swirling AOR of Dreams, this is a complete change of pace. It’s pretty much just Lindsay Buckingham on his own; picking away at his acoustic guitar. Another really short song though – just over two minutes. In fact the whole album only runs 36 minutes.

4. Don’t Stop

Another of the big songs from the album. Another song that everybody knows. I love it.

5. Go Your Own Way

If Rumours has a unifying theme, it’s the fact that the members of the band were all in couples that were splitting up while they were writing and recording it. Nowhere is that made more explicit than in the lyrics of this song.

6. Songbird

I mentioned that I thought the album started slightly weakly. And if I’m honest I think that side one ends even more weakly. This is probably my least favourite song on the album.

7. The Chain

In contrast, side two opens with what is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. The Chain points firmly in the direction of the slightly more experimental music on the bands next album, Tusk. And, of course, three minutes in the music completely changes and becomes one of the BBC’s best-known theme tunes.

8. You Make Loving Fun

This appears to be the antithesis of all the break-up songs on the album. Not sure how it got on here. Still a really good song though.

9. I Don’t Want to Know

Another quirky little tune that wouldn’t song out of place on Tusk.

10. Oh Daddy

Like Songbird, this is another one that I’m not particularly keen on.

11. Gold Dust Woman

As this starts, I always think I’m not going to enjoy it, but Stevie Nicks’ vocal noodling in the final two minutes never fails to draw me in and then I’m vaguely disappointed when it just fades out at the end.

In Summary

They don’t get much better than this. If you think you don’t like it because of preconceptions that you have about the band or the genre then please just try to forget your bias and give it a listen.

One comment

  1. Rumours is an odd album, in that I have to admit that for the first few listens (we’re talking late 70s here) I found about half of it not that much cop at all. But if you were to ask me now? Not a dud track on it. Part of that might be that, having played in a Mac tribute band, I’ve pretty much had to take the whole album apart note by note, and that gives you an appreciation for the subtleties…

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