Superstardom was a long time coming, however. Unsurprisingly, the U. Kirwan was fired in , several months after the release of the equally straightforward Bare Trees. In , Welch made two fateful decisions that ultimately dictated Fleetwood Mac's future. He persuaded the band to move to L. The latter left the door open for Fleetwood Mac's smartest personnel move yet: recruiting guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his romantic and music collaborator Nicks.
The couple—which had released 's now-cult classic Buckingham Nicks , to little impact—had an immediate, positive effect on Fleetwood Mac.
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Fleetwood Mac contained the first glimpses of this configuration's precarious, unknowable musical chemistry. Buckingham's virtuosic, bluesy guitar work was forceful and crisp, while the seasoned rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood alternated between a thunderous backbone and whispered nuance. Long-time band member Christine McVie assumed a more influential role within the group—meaning that both her watercolor-streaked keyboards and smoky folk-pop songs carried more weight—while her harmonies with Buckingham and Nicks possessed almost supernatural precision and depth.
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The record's year-long genesis was informed by three breakups—Buckingham and Nicks; the McVies; and Fleetwood and his wife—and copious drug use. Yet despite this turmoil, the band managed to create a rock masterpiece, perhaps because they harnessed their internal fractures for creative inspiration. Christine McVie's bluesy swing "Don't Stop" was directed at ex John as a note of post-divorce comfort, although her soulful strut "You Make Loving Fun" was a mash note to her new beau, Fleetwood Mac's lighting designer.
Buckingham and Nicks traded off thinly veiled disgruntled messages of their own. The former's disco-folk opener "Second Hand News" asks to be released from their relationship, and the latter's sparse "Dreams" couches bitter lyrics such as "Players only love you when they're playing" with an insistent, pirouetting drum pattern. All of this drama was enormously appealing, of course, and remains an integral part of Fleetwood Mac's mythology even today. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.
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