Rumours by Fleetwood Mac will forever be one of the bands most renowned albums, not to mention one of the best selling albums ever. Despite Rumours being the 11th studio release from the pop-rock group, it remains one of the most iconic albums of recent times. To date the album has gone platinum a massive nineteen times in the US, as well as eleven times in the UK. Singles like ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Don’t Stop’, and my personal favourite ‘Dreams’, are arguably some of their most successful releases ever. The guitar solo from the track ‘The Chain’ is still used to this day as the theme tune for Formula One on TV, which only goes to show how current the album continues to be.
The album opens on the harmony heavy ‘Second Hand News’ that sets the uplifting and happy tone of the album as a whole. Next up is the beautiful ‘Dreams’; the song was apparently disregarded by the majority of the band when Stevie Nicks first showed it to them, yet it remains to be one of their most well known singles, and covers of the track can be heard by a variety of other musicians. The fourth track– ‘Don’t Stop’ – is the only song I could criticise, as it sounds ever so slightly dated and karaoke-like, but it’s still a wonderfully catchy song. Christine McVie’s beautiful and renowned ‘Songbird’, brings a more sombre and reflective tone to the album, many, including the extremely talented Eva Cassidy, have famously covered the track. Next up is ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ which is a classic Fleetwood track in my opinion – jazzy, catchy, poppy, and full of stunning harmonies. Finally the album ends on the strong ‘Gold Dust Woman’, with Nicks’ stunningly croaky voice resonating through your ears as the album draws to a close.
One of the main reasons for Rumours’ success, and prestige in Fleetwood Mac’s discography is really due to the controversy surrounding its content and context. During the late 70s keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie and her husband, bassist John McVie, were divorcing. Meanwhile, guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks – who were engaged in an infamous off-and-on relationship were going through a rough patch. The turbulence of these relationships had a huge impact on the music and the band as a whole –fair enough I guess. Essentially, the album is a manifestation of heartbreak, lost love, and upset. Unusually, Fleetwood Mac and its members all contributed to lyrics and the song writing process, but typically on separate tracks. The exception to this can be seen through the track ‘The Chain’, as it remains one of the only songs that all members contributed to. However, rumour has it (ha) that even more issues arose during the recording process of the album. Stevie Nicks took a disliking towards the lyrics of ‘Go Your Own Way,’ penned by Lindsey Buckingham, which contain what appears to be a snide dig at Nicks: “Shaking up is all you wanna do” – due to her alleged bed-hopping antics with Nick Fleetwood (ohhh scandal).
But in all honesty, I think knowing the goss regarding the band during the writing and recording processes only adds to the beauty of Rumours (though not knowing doesn’t detract, of course). Before I really got into Fleetwood Mac, and was just listening to the odd track on Youtube, it was consistently singles from Rumours (and the odd other one like ‘Little Lies’ and ‘Rhiannon’) that I was unknowingly listening to. Apparently the album was actually written with the intention of each track being a standalone, and therefore no track being deemed a ‘filler’ – they all are amazing in their own right, and I completely see this. Whenever I crack this album out, whether I’m in the car with my parents, or with friends, everyone seems to love it, and I think the wide appeal and respect that Fleetwood Mac have is something to be admired.
Rumours is an album I can listen to when I’m happy, or when I’m sad, when it’s summer, or when it’s winter. In summary I absolutely adore this album and I cannot praise it enough. And if you don’t already have this album then I highly recommend grabbing the 35th Anniversary 3CD Deluxe Edition (£14 from Amazon here). It’s got the originally released album on disc one (ever so slightly remastered), and then it’s full of other goodies, such as live renditions of the tracks, demos, and acoustic versions hozzah!
Rumours was released on the 4th February 1977 via Warner Bros. Records.