We’re digging into the Far Out vault to bring you a curious moment as Fleetwood Mac performs ‘Go Your Own Way’ without the song’s writer Lindsey Buckingham in 1987.
When Fleetwood Mac parted ways with Buckingham once again in 2018, the rock and roll world collectively groaned. “This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him,” said Mick Fleetwood the band’s drummer and undoubted leader.
The idea of performing a track without the song’s writer is quite a bizarre one but when the song is as deeply personal and rooted within the band and singer’s make-up it’s almost unfathomable. That’s what people travelling to see Fleetwood Mac any time soon will get to see, as the group are determined to keep the song in their setlist.
Written and performed by Buckingham, the singer and guitarist who had started life off in the band alongside his musical partner Stevie Nicks, was lamenting the crossroads he and Nicks now faced as they—and, in fact, every member of the band—experienced the ending of their relationship in the most public of forums
At the time, Fleetwood Mac wasn’t a particularly happy place to be. John and Christie McVie had divorced, Mick Fleetwood had split with his partner and now Buckingham and Nicks were only talking to each other through yelling matches—things had got unbearable.
As any good artist does, Buckingham decided to channel his sadness, his anger and his frustration with the ending of his relationship into his art and wrote one of his most potent tracks. That song would see Buckingham ask his ex-partner to leave him alone, to go her own way, and to allow him to do the same—and, of course, to help sing it too.
But now, as in 1987 after Buckingham first split from the band, the responsibility of singing about Stevie Nicks is left up to, well, Stevie Nicks (and a few notes from Buckingham’s replacement Rick Vito). The footage below comes from the opening night of band’s 1987 tour and though it may lack a little in sound quality still manages to capture the band’s essence in delivering such a personal track.
The group also performed the song in 1990, shortly before both Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks would leave the band—a full performance of which you can find below.
In each clip, the message is resolutely clear. To try and unpick and parcel off pieces of Fleetwood Mac wouldn’t only be impossible but it would a detriment to the band built so intrinsically on those very moments of emotional upheaval. Below you can watch two instances of when Fleetwood Mac decided the show must always go on, with or without them.