Anything that can happen to a rock n’ roll band, has happened to Fleetwood Mac. They have enjoyed six decades of hits and sellout world tours, over 60 million albums sold worldwide, as well as a place in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But all at a huge cost, from their legendary indulgences to the fallouts, fistfights and multiple breakups. And yet they have weathered almost every storm.
Vocalist Christine McVie summed it up after she committed to looking forward, rather than backward, after eight years of marriage with bass guitarist John McVie. Don’t Stop was a happier spin after the Rumour’s break-up album. I love Don’t Stop because it emphasizes that you can’t go back in time and change the past, but you can always look forward to the future:
Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
It’s no secret I’ve been having a love affair with Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac ever since I was a kid. Dad used to play their cassettes on road trips up the coast, and we would sit in the backseat of his Ford Fairlane like little sardines, listening to one of the greatest bands of all time. I’ve seen them perform live, twice, and each time was life-changing. There’s not many artists you grow up with, who you continually fall in love with over and over again, and who articulate every phase of your life.
Stevie Nicks performing live (1977)
Dreams was the first song I fell in love with, followed closely by Go Your Own Way. More recently You Make Loving Fun has become an all time favorite. It perfectly encapsulates the power of love, especially when it accidentally lands on your lap, puts you under a spell, and just when you think it’s over, comes back around again. As I experience life I have a deeper appreciation for what they were exploring through love, music, heartache and addiction.
A new favorite of mine is No Questions Asked. It wasn’t a massive hit, it came in at No. 43 in the U.S. off a 1988 non-studio album. Which is perhaps why it took me a while to discover. I love it because sometimes, you just have to say “I need you now.” That’s what survival is about, that’s how you live life. The people who love you will come through for you in the end. Your friends. Your family. Your lover. They will be there for you and know that there are no expectations. No questions asked.
Most wouldn’t consider it the most romantic love song ever recorded. But I do. It’s a song that so poignantly delves into the realities of love and desire. It’s not soft and sexy, it’s not sweet and tender. No Questions Asked is honest and relatable. It’s not just a love song, it’s a life song. It’s a song about how we live. The struggles between loving someone and loving yourself, and wanting, even in the hardest of times, to be loved.
Finally, Landslide is one of the most insanely best Fleetwood Mac songs of all time. When Stevie Nicks wrote ‘Landslide’, she was at a crossroads. Her previous group with Lindsey Buckingham – Buckingham Nicks – had been dropped by their label Polydor after only one album, and her relationship with Buckingham was strained. I think it’s one of my all time favorite songs. The track has been covered many times since – from Smashing Pumpkins to the Dixie Chicks – but the original remans the best. Nicks’ cautious vocal sounds even more helpless knowing what’s yet to come.