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Music

When Florence and The Machine covered Fleetwood Mac song ‘The Chain’

@TylerGolsen

Florence and the Machine are no strangers to Fleetwood Mac covers. Back in 2018, a session at SiriusXM produced a wonderful cover of the Stevie Nicks-penned classic ‘Silver Springs’, the bittersweet love song that became the final song axed from the Rumours tracklisting. Thanks to live performances and deluxe editions including the track, ‘Silver Springs’ managed to become one of the most endearing Mac tracks of all time, as proven by Florence Welch’s emotional rendition.

That wasn’t actually the first time that Florence had taken on the mighty Mac though. Back at the band’s 2010 appearance at the Glastonbury Festival, the Machine busted out a stark and explosive rendition of another Rumours track, the side two opener ‘The Chain’.

The original version of the song is almost wholly dependent on the vocal interplay between Fleetwood Mac’s three vocalists. Really, like a lot of great Mac tunes, ‘The Chain’ is another excuse to reignite the sordid soap opera that the band entrenched themselves in during the late 1970s. With every call and response of “you don’t love me now” between Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the drama escalates to a brutal crescendo.

Fleetwood Mac could fight without weapons and cut without knives. Some of the best YouTube rabbit holes you can fall down are live performances of ‘The Chain’, where Buckingham and Nicks lean into that intensity. Sometimes it appears performative and staged, but other times it feels raw and immediate, like the heartbreak is still being felt in real time. There are clips of Buckingham and Nicks shouting the lines at each other from across the stage in a clear attempt to one-up the other, and it’s some of the most entertaining battles that classic rock ever produced.

Compared to that level of palpable emotion, obviously, Florence isn’t going to quite match that. Instead, she has just her voice to bring the central drama of the song to life. No one to play off of and no one to direct all that anger towards. That’s why her version of ‘The Chain’ seems more celebratory and joyous. Clearly, Welch is having a ball covering a band she loves and her rendition feels exalted, fine-tuning the chorus to be a crowd sing-along instead of a bitter game of nerves between two former lovers.

Check out Florence and the Machine’s cover of ‘The Chain’ down below.