Six definitive songs: The ultimate guide to Fleetwood Mac
Everyone has heard at least one song by Fleetwood Mac. Whether it was while listening to Smooth Radio or living your best life in a nightclub with your mates, Mick Fleetwood and his fellow singer-songwriters must have figured in your playlists at some point.
Being one of the most recognised and admired bands of all times, it also goes without saying that Fleetwood Mac have had their fair amount of changeover of band members over the years. And while they released some truly amazing hits, some of them are still considered as hidden treasures by many people.
We thought we’d listen to our favourite tunes by the band and choose our six definitive songs that made Fleetwood Mac. The six songs that represent the heartbreaks, the on-going affairs, and also the Dreams of a band that have made it to the top.
So here we go…
‘Albatross’ – The Pious Bird of Good Omen (1968)
One of Fleetwood Mac’s first ever hits.
Produced by Peter Green and released in 1968, this guitar-led track is probably one of the most famous instrumental tracks out there. While it doesn’t appear often on the band’s Greatest Hits compilations, there’s no other track like it. And there’s no better representation of where and how the band started off.
Imitating the sounds of the sea, the light and delicate sound of Mick Fleetwood’s drum-playing lulls us into Peter Green’s tour de force other guitars join in little by little. A beautiful ballad that deserves to be recognised for the masterpiece that it is.
‘Rhiannon’ – Fleetwood Mac (1975)
“She is like a cat in the dark and then / She is the darkness / She rules her life like a fine skylark and when / The sky is starless.”
Stevie Nicks strikes again. After delivering many passionate performances of ‘Rhiannon’, it was described as some sort of exorcism by the rest of the band many times. It’s true that whatever Stevie Nicks sings or writes, there’s always a hypnotising side to it all.
Inspired by a novel called Triad written by Mary Bartlet Leader, the story is all about a woman possessed by another woman called Rhiannon. Listening to the track itself, the opening guitar drives us through the story of Rhiannon adding to that a sombre and almost haunting side to it all.
‘Dreams‘ – Rumours (1977)
Not mentioning ‘Dreams’ when talking about the songs that made Fleetwood Mac would be like not mentioning Europe when talking about Brexit.
Its famous bass-line takes us through this Stevie-Nicks-led laid-back track. “Thunder only happens when it’s raining / Players only love you when they’re playing / Say women they will come and they will go / When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know, you’ll know” sings the female icon on the famous chorus.
Originally written by Nicks herself, this track also features on Rumours. The making of that album was happening during the band’s break-ups between Buckingham and Nicks, as well as Christine and John McVie’s, which made it all very interesting to see how they managed to overcome it all. But if this is what Fleetwood Mac produce when they’re going through a rough time, then just imagine what they can do when everything is going well in their lives.
‘The Chain‘ – Rumours (1977)
“Listen to the wind blow, down comes the night / Running in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies / Break the silence, damn the dark, damn the light.”
One of the band’s finest, putting together all the elements of a typical song by Fleetwood Mac: harmonies, oriental-like guitars and a rock’n’roll feel that never ceases to impress. Featuring on Rumours, it’s the only song that actually credits every single member of the band.
While it paints the perfect picture of the band’s inequality when it comes to credits, this is the fruit of various works that weren’t used. ‘The Chain’ has become Fleetwood Mac’s classic go-to tune during which Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks come together, gifting us with a timeless hit that for us, represents what the band is all about in all its 4:30 minutes of heaven.
‘Gypsy’ – (1979)
“So I’m back to the Velvet Underground.”
Initially meant to be part of Stevie Nicks’ solo album — Bella Donna, this tune ended-up on Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage, released in 1982. Showcasing another side to the singer’s life and feelings, ‘Gypsy’ elevates to greater dimensions, engulfing us into Nicks’ gypsy world.
However, following one of her dearest friends’ death, ‘Gypsy’ took a whole new significance. Being a tribute to Robin Anderson as well as a homage to Nicks’ life before the band, ‘Gypsy’ is a truly beautiful song driven by the singer’s unique vocals, painting the perfect picture of her gypsy life and friendship. A memorable tune that is — in our opinion — one of Fleetwood Mac’s best hits.
‘Go Your Own Way‘ – Rumours (1977)
“You can go your own way / Go your own way / You can call it / Another lonely day / You can go your own way / Go your own way.”
Written by Lindsey Buckingham, this break-up song is directly aimed at former-lover and band member—Stevie Nicks. Being part of the Rumours album, this track is another gem that only shows how many heartbreaks the band was going through at the time.
Although the general tone of ‘Go Your Own Way’ is upbeat—and dare we say cheery?—when listening carefully to the song, it is obvious Lindsey Buckingham’s heart has been broken: “Loving you / Isn’t the right thing to do / How can I ever change things / That I feel”.
Having been recognised as one of rock’s greatest hits ever, this track is a perennial classic when it comes to the brilliant Fleetwood Mac