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Watch Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie in rare 1979 footage

@TylerGolsen

Once upon a time, the worry was that they weren’t going to get along. After having existed for nearly a decade as a nebulous rotating outfit, taking on new leaders and new genres every couple of years, Fleetwood Mac had finally landed the singer and guitarist that was going to take them through the future in Lindsey Buckingham. However, Buckingham had a requirement: they had to take his girlfriend into the band as well. Mick Fleetwood was eager to get Buckingham in the band, but he also had a concern – they already had a female singer.

Whether direct or indirect, there was a somewhat sexist and old fashioned notion that Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie would be catfighting throughout the band’s existence. The reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. McVie and Nicks got on incredibly well for two people who had a nearly ten year age gap and a full ocean between their birthplaces. The two leaned on each other for moral support and creative inspiration when going through their respective breakups and while working in the studio. They shared apartments, shared stories, and shared each others company like long-lost sisters, and on the numerous occasions when relationships between band members became strained, the two members who never shared any bad blood were Nicks and McVie.

They were a naturally odd couple, Christine more mature and Stevie more bubbly. Christine was a natural bluesy soul, while Stevie had a folkie and mystical background. Christine’s throaty singing voice was at odds with Stevie’s raspy delivery, and yet they could blend into perfect harmony. Nicks could be alternately shy and bombastic, while Christine was unflappable and cultivated to a fault, letting her emotions pour out of her songs. Neither took bullshit lightly, and both blazed equally pioneering paths in a rock and roll world that was, and is, predominantly a boys club.

Fleetwood Mac still had to play a thematic industry game, even when they were unquestionably one of the biggest bands in the world. When PR came around in 1979 to get the band to film a quick happy birthday message for the band’s label, Warner Bros, they tapped Nicks and McVie to provide the oddball energy (or perhaps the guys simply refused).

The footage is a fascinating insight into their dynamic, all goofy jokes and genuine chemistry intact. McVie is either massively hungover, high as a kite, or just simply in disbelief that she got roped into this shit, never once removing her gigantic sunglasses while shooting the footage. Nicks is nervous and trying to hold it together while McVie continues to try and make up songs. The duo spends seven minutes trying to get something, anything, together while constantly falling over in fits of laughter.

The footage is a time capsule, a bit of a mess, and a weirdly endearing reminder of a band who were at once the biggest names in rock and constantly on the brink of falling apart. McVie and Nicks are also frequently on the edge of falling apart in the promo, but always with laughs and jokes, never ill will or anger. The two are charmingly ramshackle in their attempts to simply get something on tape, and by the end, even they’re not sure if anything they did was usable.

Check out the footage down below.