Music

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Rumours are true – the Mac are as good as ever

Album Review: Fleetwood Mac Rumours (35th Anniversary Edition) (Warner Bros)

John Meagher

Published 25/01/2013|05:00

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With Fleetwood Mac set to embark on a major world tour this year, it's little surprise that their best-selling album has been dusted down and repackaged for a new generation.

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Released in 1977, Rumours has shifted in excess of 40 million copies to date and continues to resonate as perhaps the quintessential break-up album.

Each of the five members who formed the band's "classic line-up" in the mid-1970s was going through the wringer emotionally.

John and Christine McVie's eight-year marriage had hit the rocks. The much younger couple, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, had drifted apart to such an extent that they were barely talking. And Mick Fleetwood, who had founded a very, very different incarnation of the group 10 years earlier, was coming to terms with the fact that the mother of his two children had been having an affair with his best friend.

Listen to the songs anew all these years later and it's remarkable just how candidly their travails are laid bare. There's jealousy, bitterness, regret, pain and passion throughout.

And there are allusions to other preoccupations, too, not least Nicks's well-documented issues with cocaine.

The evergreen quartet of Go Your Own Way, Dreams, Don't Stop and The Chain demonstrate just how capable the quintet were at mining mass-appeal pop with a message.

And the success of these singles played a major role in the album's phenomenal popularity.

Yet – as was the case with those other late-70s purveyors of break-up pop, AbbaFleetwood Mac didn't always keep a close watch on the quality control.

A handful of tracks haven't aged well and some feel slight, not least Oh Daddy – Nicks's good natured ode to the band's avuncular figure, Mick Fleetwood.

Even the additional material that comes with this three-disc anniversary edition, including early demos and alternate takes, cannot hide the fact that the album is far from perfect.

Buckingham put it well some time ago when he noted: "It was unnerving to see something that became a real phenomenon, when the music itself didn't necessarily warrant it."

KEY TRACKS Dreams (Take 2); Songbird (Demo)

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