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How Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks bonded in Fleetwood Mac

The story of Fleetwood Mac is a well-known one. Rock’s resident warring dynasty, something akin to The Tudors, the tale of their long career reads like a work of fiction and is full of love, hate, drugs, and even the occasional cult. Whether it be the Peter Green era of the 1960s, their mid-70s zenith, or the heady pop that they produced in the ’80s, there’s something for everyone in the band’s extensive back catalogue.

Whilst we could discuss the music of Fleetwood Mac for an age, one thing stands out in the band’s story: the role of Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks in elevating their work. The pair helped make the jump from the more rudimentary rock sound of the band’s early days to the timeless, dream-like output that has made them one of the most essential bands in history.

The pair are both very talented at their craft, and without their input, we would not be discussing Fleetwood Mac today. Together, they endured the many crises that the band experienced, defiant in the face of adversity. Understandably, they became close friends due to their shared sense of humour, which served as an antidote to the fraught interpersonal relations in the band, despite McVie revealing that they actually have little in common personality-wise.

Nicks explained that she has always been thankful to McVie for welcoming her into the band. She regarded the elder Fleetwood Mac member as something of an idol, so when she entered the fold and found that McVie – who had been in the band for the best part of a decade – was happy for her to join, it was a pleasant surprise.

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“Christine very willingly gave me the stage, which I thought was very cool for a woman to say: ‘Oh, she’s five years younger than me and I’ve worked for ten years on the road, killed myself, and here she is, our new frontwoman,’” Nicks said in 1981, as quoted in Fleetwood Mac on Fleetwood Mac: Interviews and Encounters. “It was incredibly big of Christine to just move out of the way, because I do tend to kind of animate around and I drive Chris nuts. Crazy.”

Nicks also explained that McVie was always gracious towards her, even when she’d annoyed her: “She knew from the beginning that I was real sensitive and that I love her so much that anything she’d say to me would cut like a knife,” she expressed. “So she was always very careful.”

“It was critical that I got on with her because I’d never played with another girl,” McVie told The Guardian in 2013. “But I liked her instantly. She was funny and nice but also there was no competition. We were completely different on the stage to each other and we wrote differently too.”

When both split from their respective partners and fellow band members – Nicks from Lindsey Buckingham and Christine from John McVie – the pair’s bond was solidified even further, and they helped each other navigate the trials and tribulations that such monumental events bring, not to mention continuing to play in the same band as their exes. 

“We didn’t have anybody else,” Nicks recalled in Uncut. “We had to end up being close because otherwise it was just hang out with the guys all the time. And because there was this chaos going on with me and Lindsey, the band gave me a friend in this woman and I could hang out with Christine.”

In the end, it was their shared sense of humour that brought them together, solidifying the tight bond that exists to this day. “We’re totally different, at complete opposite ends of the personality spectrum,” McVie said. “The one thing we had in common, which bound us together, was a sense of humour through all the pain.”

Watch a montage of the pair’s friendship in action below.

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