Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Music

The Fleetwood Mac album title that Stevie Nicks hated

@TylerGolsen

There are so many Fleetwood Mac albums that it’s hard to keep track of sometimes. With 17 studio albums, a collaboration with Chicago blues musicians, various EPs, live albums, and compilations, their discography is one of the densest and most daunting in rock music.

The good news is that, by and large, that material is of high quality. Ranging from pure British blues to hard rock to pop and folk, very little of the Mac’s output is embarrassing, and their good taste carries over to their album titles as well. When you see the names like Tango in the Night, Mirage, and Rumours, they just seem to fit perfectly with the accompanying music. Even middling titles like Kiln House, So Play On, and Say You Will are serviceable. Only one title stands out as being truly confounding: Tusk.

That’s because Tusk is the group’s most eclectic album, filled with jaunty pop tunes, silky ballads, jagged new wave, and everything in between. Of course, there’s the album’s title track, with its vocal chants and endless layers of percussion courtesy of the USC Marching Band. But when the group decided to use the song’s name as the album’s title, Stevie Nicks was less than taken with it.

“There was nothing beautiful or elegant about the word ‘tusk,’” Nicks is reported as saying, according to The Ringer‘s oral history on the LP 40 years after its initial release. Nicks’ material on the album, including the wistful ‘Storms’ and wonderfully silky ‘Sara’, were at odds with Lindsey Buckingham’s angular punk-inspired pieces like ‘The Ledge’ and ‘Not That Funny’. But even with the diverse material, Nicks threatened to walk out on Fleetwood Mac if they put out their next LP as Tusk.

There were even rumours that Mick Fleetwood wanted to call the album Tusk as a reference to phallic humour, something that Nicks didn’t get when it was presented to her. “I don’t recall it being Mick’s joke about a …,” she trails off. “That went right over my little prudish head. I wasn’t even told that until after the record was done, and then I liked the title even less.”

Despite her threats, Nicks was outvoted and Tusk became the album’s title. Nicks didn’t follow through on her threat to leave the band, but she did begin seriously eyeing a solo career. Less than two years after the release of Tusk, Nicks dropped her solo debut, Bella Donna, kicking off the most successful of all the solo careers from Fleetwood Mac.

Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.