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Music

Why Stevie Nicks credits Christine McVie with keeping Fleetwood Mac together

@TylerGolsen

It was no secret that Fleetwood Mac was, and still is, the walking soap opera of the music industry. For more than 50 years, the revolving door of musicians who played with the band succumbed to drug addiction, intra-band conflict, failed marriages, and even the allure of joining cults. To join Fleetwood Mac, you needed a strong constitution and a steely demeanour to weather the frequent storms and turbulence that often followed the band.

The most notable fracture came just as the band were reaching their commercial height: right before the recording of what would be their highest-selling album Rumours, the two couples within the band suddenly broke apart. Christine and John McVie divorced, while Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham separated after nearly a decade together. Mick Fleetwood was going through his own divorce, and tensions were high as the band tried to record and survive at the same time.

According to Nicks, the central figure who kept everyone together was actually Christine McVie. “Christine was like my mentor, and the only person who could buffer Lindsey,” Nicks told Billboard in 2014. “She could totally soothe him and calm him down, and that was great, because I wasn’t good at that. We were sailing along on the highest wave. It was OK for a while, until it wasn’t. At the end of 1976, that’s when it just blew up”.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2019, McVie herself attributed this level-headedness to the fact that she had the most low-key personality in the band and avoided major scenes. “We all drank a lot and did a lot of cocaine, we partied a lot, I don’t think I did anything terribly outrageous,” McVie said. “Except I once threw a cake out the window which landed on top of taxi. I was kind of the good girl in the group. That’s who I was. Stevie used to call me Mother Earth because I was always pretty grounded”.

McVie considered it astounding that she and Nicks were able to forge such a strong friendship, considering their differences. “Stevie is just unbelievable. The more I see her perform on stage the better I think she is. She holds the fort. She’s a brand. We’re quite different in that way – I have an outside life. I live in London not the States. I like going shopping on my own. I have more of a normal life than her and that keeps me grounded… Stevie is devoted to her career and boy, does she do it well”. 

Through the trials and tribulations that befell the Mac throughout the years, the one relationship that always survived was between McVie and Nicks. McVie always got along with Buckingham and Fleetwood, and after they both entered into new relationships, John and Christine were able to forge a friendship that kept them connected and on good terms. On top of being an astounding musician and singer, McVie really was the glue that kept Fleetwood Mac together.

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