September 30, 2004
Photographed by Annie Leibovitz
It was a writer-as-shrink era, says Cameron Crowe, who, barely out of his teens, wrote the Rolling Stone cover story on Fleetwood Mac during the recording of Rumours. "They were one of the first bands to understand that you could open up your life to a reporter, and it could serve everyone's purpose. The writer isn't trying to steal from you."
"That album was almost like a play, with all of us singing about our lives," says Lindsey Buckingham. Adds Mick Fleetwood, "Cameron probably couldn't believe his luck, stumbling into this broiling cauldron of soap opera. And Annie got the consummate Rumours shot. Partner-swapping was in the ether."
"I have a feeling the band had all gone through rehab or something," says Leibovitz, "and I brought out huge amounts of drugs, thinking that's what they wanted. They were not so happy about it, but everyone consumed everything, so we were all out to lunch. I brought the mattress and sheets."
"I don't remember the drugs," says Stevie Nicks. "I thought it was a case of champagne. There were two ex-couples in the band. When Annie said she wanted us to lie down together on a big bed, it was like, 'Hmm, hope you have a backup idea.' But she said, "No, you're going to look great, this will be fun, have a glass of champagne.' I said, 'OK, but I can't curl up next to Mick for the next three hours while Annie is suspended over us on a platform."
"Christine really didn't want to be next to John, because they were just divorced," Nicks adds. "So he was the odd man out, reading the magazine. Afterwards, Lindsey and I got to talking about how amazing it was that not so long ago I was a waitress and he didn't have a job, and now we were on the cover of Rolling Stone with this huge record. And we lay there for two hours talking and making out. Finally, Annie had to tell us to leave, because she had rented the room for only so long. But in one afternoon she put Lindsey and me back together and also planted the seed for Mick and me, which happened a year later. You want to know the power of Annie Leibovitz, there you go."
As for Buckingham, he remembers the photo session a little differently. "For Stevie and me, the wounds and animosities were still very fresh," he says. "So the idea for the photo wasn't all that funny. We had to compartmentalize our feelings to keep the band functional, and at the end of the session, we had this moment of not being able to avoid all that had been lost. We embraced for about fifteen minutes, and Mick finally came over and said that people were starting to get uncomfortable. I don't know how healthy all this display of our personal life was, but that's showbiz."