On November 11th, BBC Radio 2 in the U.K broadcast a radio show called Rumours. Here is the transcript of that broadcast (thanks to Lynn Hargreaves).
Hi, I'm Rick Wakeman (of Yes). Welcome to another Radio 2 Classic Album.
Today, we hear about one of the most successful records of all time - Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
Plays snippet of You Make Loving Fun.
Mick Fleetwood: Hello there, I'm Mick Fleetwood and I play drums. It was hell but we knew that something was horribly right although everything else in our lives was horribly wrong, and through that whole thing came some great music.
Snippet of Go Your Own Way.
John McVie: Hi, I'm John McVie. I play bass in Fleetwood Mac. We just entered a time slot with the right band, the right sound at the right time ... and as was to prove with the Rumours thing ... the right drama!
Snippet of I Don't Want To Know.
Stevie Nicks: Hi, I'm Stevie Nicks, and I sing with Fleetwood Mac. It was difficult but because the songs were so good, you know, it's like when you have something great to work on, you can really lose your emotional problems. For a while, you do forget!
Snippet of The Chain.
Lindsey Buckingham: Hi, I'm Lindsey Buckingham and I play guitar. This kind of unexplainable chemistry from these five very unlikely people who were so diverse and somehow were still working together as a fivesome, which from the outside looking in must have been very intriguing. This musical soap opera, if you will, which was on vinyl.
RW: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, released in February 1977, was recorded under extraordinary circumstances. Twenty years on, it's officially the most successful rock album recorded by a band, selling 25 million copies worldwide, and in the process, Rumours defined adult orientated rock.
Fleetwood Mac have changed beyond recognition since they began in 1967 as part of the British R & B boom. In the following ten years, they enjoyed UK hit singles, a string of successful albums, thanks to the talents of Peter Green, but in 1970, he had a nervous breakdown. After his departure, the band members came and went until 1975 when Fleetwood Mac re-emerged with their tenth personnel line-up. Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were still there and so was Christine McVie, but the group had moved to California where they discovered the two new recruits that were to drastically change the group's sound and fortune. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's hiring began in a Los Angeles shopping mall.
MF: I was standing in a supermarket. A young chap came up, who I had vaguely met before, who said "oh, I'm representing a studio in the Valley called Sound City, what are you doing?" I said, "well, actually, during this break I'm back in LA to find a studio and cost it out." And hey presto, he said, "well, why don't you come with me, come and look at the studio?" And I did! I drove over to Sound City, which is in the Valley, walked into the studio and met Keith Olsen. Keith played a tape which was the Buckingham Nicks album, just as a demo, and said, "well, this was recorded in the studio." I remember instantly going, "hmmm .... that sounds good." I made a call the next day to Keith and said, "you know that tape you were playing ..." It turned out, of course, to be Stevie and Lindsey. There was no audition, no nothing. I told Chris and John, "I think these two guys are incredibly talented." It was like a magic synchronicity to it, how they joined Fleetwood Mac.
Snippet of Secondhand News.
RW: Secondhand News, a Buckingham Nicks song from the Rumours album. This was the second record the new lineup had recorded. Their first album together, simply titled Fleetwood Mac, had reached the top of the American charts.
SN: It was like, great! It was like having a brand new great job! We were getting paid, we had money, we were having fun, we were meeting people! We were somebody all of a sudden, you know. We were nobody before. So it was great! It was incredible! That was the best time of all ... when we didn't know we were going to be that famous and we didn't know that Rumours was going to sell 100 million albums and we didn't know any of that! There was only that one reason that we were doing it was because it seemed to be working out and it seemed to be fun for everybody, and everybody had a place and everybody had something incredible to do and we went from, you know, wandering minstrels to having a gig ... having a real job!
Snippet of Go Your Own Way.
SN: Lindsey writes Go Your Own Way and I write Dreams! I write philosophically, he writes angry! So yes, a lot of the stuff that, you know, little sentences or stuff that he would say would upset me! However, as a songwriter, I have to respect that he's gonna write about what's happening to him, and so am I. So I could never say to him, you know, back off! ... stop writing songs about me, because that was his life then and that's when the best songs are written and it doesn't really matter who breaks up with who at that point, that's when everybody writes the best songs ... and that's what happened on Rumours! I mean, maybe we would have killed each other if we hadn't have been able to write those songs, you know ... if we hadn't have been able to put that energy into the music and rise above it that way, then maybe we would have just gone totally freaked out on each other!
Snippet of Dreams.
LB: It was incredibly difficult, you know. You had ... Stevie and I were writing songs about each other ... as Christine was about John, and there were just these dialogues shooting from member to member, which really crackled on the record and was part of the appeal that i think went beyond the music itself. You know, you just had to get on with it. You had your feelings ... like, say my feelings for Stevie and vice versa and just cram them over here into this corner of the room and get on with what you were doing in the rest of the room, and it was ... a challenge!
RW: The Rumours album was recorded under difficult circumstances to say the least! Drummer, Mick Fleetwood, was going through an awkward divorce, bassist, John McVie and keyboard player, Chris' seven year old marriage was on the rocks and Lindsey and Stevie were breaking up after four years of living together. This emotional turmoil would find its way into the groove of the record.
LB: In some ways, it was a ten year lesson in denial! I didn't really get over some of the issues with Stevie until I left the band in '87 because, my God, you break up with someone in '77 or '78 ... usually, you don't see them, you don't have to work with them seven days a week for the next ten years! I mean, it was just ... there was no mourning period, there was no time to be away before you got back, but there were times in that era when I actually wanted not to help her, and I would somehow have to watch myself doing that and say, "I'm not going there."
JM: It was bizarre! I can't even start to tell you how bizarre, but at the root of it was the fact that we were a band and still loved each other ... I mean that sounds very trite, but for whatever reasons, the people that were together couldn't be units any more. But we still knew we had a great band!
Snippet of Oh Daddy.
JM: The lads were in one house and the girls had moved to a hotel where we'd meet and just go all night until 10 o'clock am when the local bar would open and then we'd finish off there and then try and get some sleep and then start again.
Snippet of I Don't Want To Know.
SN: There were long periods of time when we would all be working, where our personal lives just had to go away. You know, you have to be a pro. Once in a while you have to stand up and say, "I'm a professional and I'm not gonna bring my personal problems in here." And we did that really well! I mean, everybody, when we talk about it, it was like such a big fight and all that stuff, but you know what, how could it have been, for us to get that record? It really wasn't. In a lot of ways, we really rose above it.
LB: Fleetwood Mac just as a band and the family ... the people around Fleetwood Mac, it's so womblike. It's so all encompassing. It's an extended kind of family, maybe a bit of a disfunctional family (laughs) I think, but you know, that was what it was!
Snippet of the Chain.
RW: The Chain. A favourite amongst fans of the BBC coverage of Formula 1 racing and track seven on Rumours. It's a testament to the group's professionalism that they could put aside their obviously emotional traumas and get on with the job of making an album. Rumours eventually became a runaway success, turning Fleetwood Mac into one of the biggest bands of recent times, but with that success came greater emotional pressure.
LB: People that you find entering your life, see you more as an object than as a person and weren't interested in the person below what the performer represents and, you know, I think I withdrew from a lot of that, because I was very concerned about not buying into the pitfalls that stardom or that level of stardom can hold for you. Buying into too much of what is written about you, and the only way for me to do that was to keep looking at my work and to some degree, I kind of drew in.
Snippet of Never Going Back Again.
RW: Lindsey Buckingham's Never Going Back Again. Track three from the album. Rumours is a classic album and it sold millions worldwide. I dare say, if you went to a hillside hamlet in the rolling hills of the Himalayas, you'd find someone with a copy ... well, maybe not ... but this begs the question - is it THAT good? Does it deserve the kind of accolades that are heaped upon it in, say, a programme like this? Who better to answer than three of the people who recorded it!
SN: There's a few of the songs on Rumours I think that were so irresistable to people, that it was like falling in love with somebody that you never fall out of love with, which just doesn't happen very often. But I think that when everybody fell in love with this record, they never fell OUT of love with it!
MF: I think Rumours breathes and it has a feel to it. There's no weak link. There's always albums where you go, "oh God, I wish we'd not put that song on." But somehow, the angels were with us!
SN: And each song, I think, on Rumours was very relateable. It's like, maybe, you know if you heard Gold Dust Woman and whatever I was experiencing when I wrote it, either the first time you heard it, you would experience it again with me 'cos you've experienced it, or Gold Dust Woman will come on the radio and you'll understand what it was that I was writing about, and then it becomes a part of your life. Everybody connected on to one or two songs and never let them go!
Snippet of Gold Dust Woman.
MF: You could get into all kinds of by-roads. "Would it have ever happened if you hadn't had been ..." you know. It would have happened anyhow if we'd have been sort of vestel virgins, you know. I think the way that album came together in terms of three major talents. I think Rumours stands the test of time and I think it's a really, really fantastic album, and it was such a document ... it was literally the glue that kept this band together. Listen to the songs and know what was going on within the ranks ... forget it! It was major!
LB: Yes, it was a wonderful album. It hung together, but you have to question, well ok, when Elvis hit, I mean that was a revolution! I mean Patty Page was dead forever, you know, (laughs) and the waves from that are still going. When the Beatles hit they were returning that and adding a whole element to it and they were growing with the technology, which was part of the thing they were able to do. Those things were very profound and they were spontaneous and they were first time things. You know, I never felt what Rumours was, ... and I'm not saying it wasn't a wonderful piece of work. I never felt what Rumours was was anything other than a restatement!
Snippet of Don't Stop.
RW: Don't Stop. A song that was hijacked by a young democratic governor from Little Rock, Arkansas. Bill Clinton used the song as his campaign theme and eventually, Fleetwood Mac played a special one-off gig at his inaugauration party in 1993. This did not please John McVie!
JM: Twixt you and me, erm, I thought well, that's very nice (laughs) ... I just kept my mouth shut 'cos I wasn't gonna blow it. So we did it and I'm not a Clinton fan. He was off somewhere ... we met the Gores. It was a complete experience! You think rock and roll is phony? You should meet this lot! The whole political thing was just amazing!
RW: Twenty years after the release of Rumours, the five musicians that recorded it are once again playing together. Their live album, The Dance, released last year, went to number one in America and Top ten here. It looks like the makers of the most successful rock album of all time could be back in business once more. Let's leave the last word to veteran band member Mick Fleetwood.
MF: Certainly, if you're asking me, do I think there's creative juice in the tank? Absolutely!!
Don't Stop plays out ... "don't you look back...."
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