Monday, 3 June 2019

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)

Go your own way....

  

Released February 1977

What is there to say about "Rumours" that hasn't already been said? The living soap opera of an album played out against a background of inter-band relationships, affairs, splits and divorces - John & Christine McVie - acrimonious divorce; Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks - relationship split; Nicks and Mick Fleetwood - affair. At least ABBA managed to stay relatively dignified during similar implosions. This was all played out pretty publicly. God knows how this album ever got produced and the fact it became the best selling pop album of all time is remarkable. Of course, a lot of these salacious revelations have come out years after the album was released and at the time many people had no idea what was going on. Those balls hanging down on the cover, though. Strange.


It is also surprising that the album was so successful, released, as it was at the height of punk, when "old AOR music" such as this was supposed to be despised and sacrificed on the altar of The Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones. The funny thing is, and was, that "Rumours" rode happily on despite all this, accepted by everyone as a good album, transcending trends and continuing to do so all these years later. It is almost immune from criticism, for some reason. It is a timeless album that appealed then, appealed in the eighties, and nineties and into the new millennium.

For me, although I do not dislike it, I have never absolutely loved it, although there are so many tracks on there that are pretty much impossible to dislike. It is certainly not essential listening in my world, although I own it. I didn't get it in 1977, though. I didn't need to. It was all over the radio. I knew loads of tracks from it before I even bought it, many years later. In 1977, nice, well-brought up girls bought it, punks certainly did not, neither did blokes in general. It was probably different in the US, where it was phenomenally successful.

For those who don't know the album, (I can't believe there are many who don't), it is a masterpiece of so-called "adult oriented rock", very West Coast, a mixture of hook-laden harmonious rock, country rock with a bit of folk thrown in. Electric guitars, acoustic guitars, solid drums, infectious keyboards and perfect female vocals all merge beautifully together with some of the highest quality sound you will experience. It is one of those albums that gets played in hi-fi shops to demonstrate the quality of their equipment.

TRACK LISTING

1. Second Hand News
2. Dreams
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don't Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Songbird
7. Silver Springs
8. The Chain
9. You Make Loving Fun
10. I Don't Want To Know
11. Oh Daddy
12. Gold Dust Woman                              

The highlights are many. Mine are the hauntingly beautiful Stevie Nicks song, "Dreams" and Christine McVie's stunningly appealing "Songbird". The mainstream radio driving hits are thoroughly irresistible, one has to admit - "Don't Stop", "You Make Loving Fun" and "Go Your Own Way". There are also lesser-mentioned gems like the folky "Never Going Back Again" and the two distinct parts of the beguiling rock of "The Chain", familiar for years as BBC's motor racing theme. Nick's ethereal slow country-ish vibe of "Silver Springs" is entrancing too, particularly as Nicks changes character from winsome to aggressive as the song develops. Then there is the bluesy "Gold Dust Woman", with Nicks sounding like Patti Smith. Another rarely mentioned good one.

So there you go, an album out of its time, never in any era. It just exists. It will no doubt be shifting copies in hundreds of years' time.

B+

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