Fleetwood Mac is a band who have become synonymous with their inter-group relationships, the in-fighting and sexual mischievousness which all famously bled out in their 1977 LP Rumours. The album is one of the most commercially successful records of all time, one which has currently sold over 45 million copies and keeps on growing every single year, largely thanks to the authenticity that shines through on every single song. Even the album artwork paints a picture of the journey that the listener is about to embark upon, a mystical quality which sums up the puzzling relationships between the bandmates which, in truth, were the definition of complex.
The cover art sees singer Stevie Nicks parade in dark robes as she holds hands with drummer Mick Fleetwood who, for some unknown reason, is resting his foot on a stool and displays two wooden balls falling down from between his legs. The cover is extremely confusing and deliberately so, the whole situation that the band found themselves in at this point was equally bizarre. The question remains, what does it all mean?
It’s undoubtedly one of the strangest album covers of its era, if not all time. The photographer who was behind the masterpiece was Herbert Worthington and the creation which would go down as being his most famous work by some margin. Worthington would provide the concept, inspiration, and even brought along with him the footstool that featured on the Rumours album cover.
The cover created imagery such as the mystical crystal ball that Fleetwood is grasping on to, an object which is intrinsically linked with the band so heavily even 40 years later. It’s an invitation into the world of Fleetwood Mac and the crystal ball was the perfect embodiment of everything that was going on with the band at that time.
During the period of recording, the band couldn’t have been further apart in their personal relationships. The two couples of the group, John and Christine McVie as well as Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, were both crumbling before their very eyes while Mick Fleetwood was also going through a divorce. Things at Camp Fleetwood were far from good.
The title of the record alone, Rumours, offers the perfect indicator of the themes that are going to be explored on the near-faultless record. What Worthington managed to accomplish with the cover art created another mystical quality that played into the allure of the band, one which made them such an appealing group to millions around the globe. The confusing image stood out on the shelves from a mile away, a factor which made you want to press play to find out more.