Tonight (January 27th) on the world famous Classic Album at Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.
The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.
Formed as part of the British blues movement of the 1960s, Fleetwood Mac had a core of drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and his wife, keyboardist Christine McVie. In 1974 the direction of the band would radically change when Fleetwood began a search for a replacement for departing guitarist Bob Welch. Based in Los Angeles at this point, Fleetwood was introduced to the duo of singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks. The former agreed to join the band if the latter could also come on board, and so a new look Fleetwood Mac was born.
Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1975 album was the first to feature Buckingham and Nicks. It also scored the band their first chart-topping album in the US, though it took 15 months from the album’s release for it to reach the top of the Billboard chart.
While the band was having unprecedented success, their personal lives were a mess. The McVies divorced, maintaining a purely professional relationship. Buckingham and Nicks were involved in a fraught on/off relationship and were constantly arguing. Fleetwood was struggling with the discovery that his wife had been cheating on him with his best friend.
Against this troubled backdrop, Fleetwood Mac entered the studio in February 1976 to record Rumours, whose title was a nod to the press intrusions that had become part of their lives.
Musically, Buckingham and Christine McVie took the main creative roles in creating the song structures for the album. Fuelled by cocaine, recording sessions would drag on for hours, often interrupted by impromptu parties in the studio.
Much of Rumours has a melancholy sound that reflects the strained relationships between the band members. The addition of Buckingham and Nicks brings a country sound to the album, with little of Fleetwood Mac’s early blues sound remaining at this point.
The personal and emotional relationships of the various band members are reflected in the lyrics throughout Rumours, with the difficulties of maintaining a stable relationship a recurring theme throughout.
In its original release, Fleetwood Mac features 11 tracks. On Side A are Second Hand News; Dreams; Never Going back Again; Don’t Stop; Go Your Own Way; and Songbird. On Side B are The Chain; You make Loving Fun; I Don’t Want to Know; Oh Daddy; and Gold Dust Woman.
Released in the US on February 4th 1977, Rumours scored Fleetwood Mac their second US number one, spending a total of 31 weeks atop the Billboard chart. Released a week later in the UK, Rumours would slowly win over the British public, reaching number one almost a year after its release. It’s currently the 11th best-selling album in UK history and is estimated to have sold over 40 million copies worldwide at this point. In 2020 it was the biggest selling album on vinyl in the UK.
Rumours was a critical favourite from its release, with several publications naming it the best album of 1977. Rolling Stone ranks it at number 26 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Mick Fleetwood has called Rumours “the most important album we ever made,” as it cemented the band’s reputation for decades to come.
We’re celebrating the anniversary of Rumours reaching number one in the UK in 1978 by playing it in full on Radio Nova at midnight tonight.