The Big Issue : Edition 444
second-hand news There was a Fleetwood Mac before Rumours and a Fleetwood Mac after. But their 1977 album has become so ubiquitous – so steeped in rock mythology – that it’s rightly dominated the band’s narrative for nearly 40 years. It’s arguably rock’s most famous story: a tangled mess of cocaine-fuelled excess and bitter break-ups that’s rehashed time and time again like a biblical fable. Perhaps because it’s almost too implausible to be believed... The story starts like a bad joke (Five people walk into a recording story in Sausalito, California...), but ends with a triumphant punchline (...and emerge with one of the greatest pop albums of all time). To understand Rumours, however, you need to go back to the mid-1970s, when Fleetwood Mac was a failing english blues band in need of a guitarist. without their talismanic founder Peter Green – who had quit the band in a haze of LsD – remaining members John McVie, then-wife Christine McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood relocated to Los angeles in the mid-1970s with a new guitarist, american Bob welch, leading the charge. welch didn’t last long. his decision to quit the band put them back at square one: they were in a new city in search of a sound. Fleetwood found it in ‘Frozen Love’, a seven-minute-plus rock opus by little-known La duo Buckingham Nicks. he wanted the band’s guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, but Buckingham insisted his then girlfriend, stevie Nicks, join as well. “stevie and I were a package deal,” Buckingham recalls in the episode of the Classic Albums documentary series devoted to Rumours. The transition from British blues invasion wash- ups to one of the world’s biggest pop groups was underway. Their 1975 rebirth album, Fleetwood Mac, sold five million copies off the back of hit singles ‘Over My head’, ‘say You Love Me’ and the unmistakable ‘rhiannon’, which Nicks had penned prior to joining the band. But by the time the quartet arrived in sausalito a year later to begin work on their follow-up album, they were bringing some pretty serious baggage to the studio – and we’re not just talking about a hefty bag of cocaine. Nicks and Buckingham had called it quits after six years; the McVies had split up and weren’t talking; and Fleetwood himself was dealing with the fallout after his wife cheated on him with his best friend. “The rollercoaster was in motion,” Fleetwood says in the Classic Albums special. “One was a musical challenge to make another Fleetwood Mac album; 32 THebigissue25OcT–7NOV2013 Fleetwood mac are touring australia to reFlect once more on their in november, so it’s time Famous album, rumours.