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Stevie Nicks Felt Old At Age 27 Because of All the Scut Jobs She’d Had to Do — And More Secrets Behind Fleetwood Mac Lyrics

Fleetwood Mac is undeniably one of the most iconic and venerated classic rock bands of all time. They evolved from a late-1960s blues band to the five-person ensemble that produced one of the highest selling albums in history — all against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and then the prosperity of the 1980s.

With a bewitching blend of folk and rock influences, they wrote songs with an undeniable charisma, poetic lyrics and transcendent harmonies…and ultimately created the soundtrack of a generation.

Here learn some of the fascinating history of the band and secrets behind the most beloved Fleetwood Mac songs.

The fascinating origins of Fleetwood Mac

Established in 1967, the band’s original lineup consisted of founder/singer/guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie (hence the name Fleetwood Mac), and lead vocalist Jeremy Spencer. The band’s lineup shifted as members came and went, and in 1970, Christine McVie, John McVie’s wife and an accomplished musician in her own right, joined the group.

On New Year’s Eve of 1974, singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham joined the band, along with his girlfriend, singer Stevie Nicks. Buckingham and Nicks had previously released an album as a duo, Buckingham Nicks, in 1973, but the record went out of print, and was never released as a CD or on streaming services.

Once Buckingham and Nicks became members, the best-known Fleetwood Mac lineup — John and Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks — would last until 1987 (with various reunions in later years), for better or for worse.

Fleetwood Mac had two self-titled albums

The first record to feature the fab-5 Fleetwood Mac lineup was their self-titled album from 1975 (also known as the White Album) — but you may be surprised to learn that with all the previous personnel changes, this was not the band’s first album, but actually their tenth. It was also their second album titled “Fleetwood Mac” — the first, known as as “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac,” being released seven years earlier, pre-Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks incarnation.

The 1975 album featured some of their most popular songs, like “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me” and “Landslide.” However, it didn’t top the charts until more than a year after its release.

Stevie Nicks wrote “Landslide” when she was 27: “I already felt old”

When Nicks wrote “Landslide,” a beautiful ballad of self-reflection that would become one of her signature songs, in 1973, she was just 27 years old. With the lyrics “But time makes you bolder/Even children get older/And I’m getting older too,” the song captures the poignancy of aging, but as Nicks told The New York Times in 2014, “I did already feel old in a lot of ways. I’d been working as a waitress and a cleaning lady for years. I was tired.”

The Rumours album was full of real-life break-up songs

Two years later, in 1977, Fleetwood Mac would have a mega-hit with Rumours. The chart-topping album sold millions of copies, and was instantly inescapable, with the singles getting constant radio play.

Often regarded as one of the finest rock albums of all time, Rumours plays like a greatest hit compilation — every song on the album is a perfectly crafted piece of rock goodness, from the powerful, can’t-help-but-sing-along anthems (“Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain”) to gorgeously emotional tunes that might just make you shed a tear (“Dreams,” “Songbird”).

With Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks and John and Christine McVie, there were two couples in the band, and during the recording of Rumours, both Buckingham and Nicks and the McVies were in the midst of messy breakups.

The members often traded off songwriting duties, there’s been much gossip over the years about them writing and recording songs about each other. With the lyrics “I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you/You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you,” “Silver Springs,” is an intense breakup song that finds Nicks expressing all of her long-simmering frustrations with Buckingham.

The song was originally written for Rumours but released as a B-side, and the 1997 performance below has gone viral for so potently illustrating the tensions between the former couple, over 20 years after their split.

“Go Your Own Way” was Buckingham’s farewell to Nicks

Many songs on Rumours allude to drama within the band — “Go Your Own Way,” to name just one example, opens with the pointed lyric “Loving you isn’t the right thing to do,” which is clearly Buckingham’s kiss-off to Nicks. The he-said-she-said dynamic of Fleetwood Mac songs is forever captivating, as the band turned their romantic chaos into art.

Christine McVie wrote “Songbird” in half an hour

While “Songbird” is the kind of timeless gem that could take years to write, McVie revealed that the song came to her quickly, as if by magic: “For some peculiar reason I wrote ‘Songbird’ in half an hour. I’ve never been able to figure out how I did that. I woke up in the middle of the night and the song was there in my brain, chords, lyrics, melody, everything,” she told People in 2017.

“Sara” was the name Nicks would have given her daughter

Fleetwood Mac’s next disc, 1979’s Tusk, was a double album that took a more artsy approach, in contrast to the crowd-pleasing, pop/rock blend of Rumours.

While the record did spend time on the album charts, and spawned singles like “Think About Me,” “Sisters of the Moon” and “Sara” (a song titled for both the name Nicks would give her child, if she had one, and it was also the name of Fleetwood’s wife). Tusk wasn’t a monster hit like Rumours, though many Fleetwood Mac fans count it among their best, and its reputation has grown over time.

“Gypsy” has a tribute line to Nicks’ friend, who died of cancer

Fleetwood Mac songs will forever be associated with the ’70s, but they would continue to make music into the ’80s. Their 1982 album, Mirage, was more straightforward than Tusk and featured approachable singles like “Hold Me” and “Gypsy.”

“Gypsy” was inspired by Nicks’ pre-Fleetwood Mac days as a struggling artist, when she slept on a mattress on the floor but still sought to make her space pretty and comforting. She added the line “I still see your bright eyes,” as a tribute to her best friend, Robin, who tragically died of cancer shortly before the song’s release.

“Little Lies” was written by Christine McVie and her new husband

The final album with Fleetwood Mac’s classic lineup was Tango in the Night, released in 1987. Like Rumours, it was a major commercial success. The album brought the glossy ’80s style with catchy tunes like “Everywhere” and “Little Lies.” McVie co-wrote “Little Lies” with her then-husband, Eddy Quintela, whom she married in 1986. She had divorced John McVie in 1976, though she kept his name.

Being in a band with your ex a decade after your breakup may not be fun, but it certainly makes for some memorable tunes, and the mythology of Fleetwood Mac’s soap opera antics endures — most recently, they helped inspire the popular book and subsequent TV adaptation Daisy Jones & the Six.

Why our love for Fleetwood Mac songs endures

At a time when rock was largely considered the province of men, the band featured two brilliant women, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. Nicks and McVie both wrote unforgettable songs and had unique voices and styles. Nicks easily hit high notes with her distinctive warble, while McVie’s voice was lower and steadier, with a gorgeous British accent.

Both women were also fashion icons known for their bohemian-chic outfits (think lots of shawls and long, flowing dresses). Nicks in particular is a big fashion inspiration for millennial and Gen Z women, thanks to her embrace of a witchy, mystical style and her dedication to being unapologetically quirky.

Sadly, McVie passed away at age 79 in 2022, but her legacy will undoubtedly live on in the indelible Fleetwood Mac songs she wrote and sang. Fleetwood Mac is one of the few bands that boomers and Gen Z can agree on (seriously, “Dreams” even became a TikTok trend!) and this is largely due to the everlasting coolness of Nicks and McVie.

Fleetwood Mac songs defined a generation

If Fleetwood Mac just had their fabulous songbook, that alone would be enough to make them legends, but the combination of their boho ’70s style and can’t-look-away drama helped push them into the pantheon of the most beloved classic rockers.

With their soaring harmonies and pristine musicianship and production, Fleetwood Mac songs are still true gems, and listeners young and old will never get tired of hearing them.

Rock Group Fleetwood Mac. (l-r) Mick Fleetwood Stevie Nicks John McVie Christine McVie And Linsey Buckingham. Rock Group Fleetwood Mac. (l-r) Mick Fleetwood Stevie Nicks John Mcvie Christine Mcvie And Linsey Buckingham in 1976
Fleetwood Mac (left to right: Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham) in 1977Daily Mail/Shutterstock
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