Rumours by Fleetwood Mac

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Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac

Album Released: 1977

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Steve Knowlton  29th Sep 2016
Amidst a long string of successful but irrelevant soft-to-medium rock hits stands this monster. The style isn't much different (although the bass has more punch than usual), but there's more substance.

Buckingham's paranoia has focus, McVie's ballads carry real emotion, and Nicks sounds for once as if she's living in the same world as the rest of us. And this record has the finest bass solo ever conceived.

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1.Second Hand News2:43
3.Never Going Back Again2:02
4.Don't Stop3:11
5.Go Your Own Way3:38
7.The Chain4:28
8.You Making Loving Fun3:31
9.I Don't Want To Know3:11
10.Oh Daddy3:54
11.Gold Dust Woman4:51


This mega-platinum followup to Fleetwood Mac was the biggest seller of all time until Thriller, and one of those rare cases in which commercial and artistic accomplishment coincide.

Much has been made of the fact that at the time of the recording, the two couples in the band - McVie & Mac, and Buckingham & Nicks - were simultaneously breaking up. So a lot of folks attribute this album's classic quality to the soap opera tensions going on (in fact, it's the basis of a novel by Pagan Kennedy in which the couples in a band decide to break up in order to recreate the Rumours vibe). Whatever the case may be, this is both more consistent and edgier than the previous album's blueprint.

You may well already know this album by heart, and thus sick of Bill Clinton's theme song "Don't Stop", and even more of Nicks' "Dreams" ... and maybe all the rest. I probably am too. But constant radio overexposure doesn't make this any less of a classic, and anyone who doesn't own a copy should probably tape it from their parents' vinyl collection.

But hey, I'm even sick of a lot of The Beatles' stuff because I've heard it so much (and let's not even mention the Stones or Zeppelin). Even though I play Tusk a lot more because it's never played on the radio, by any reasonable standard this is still the band's peak, and if you were in coma during the 1970's or hadn't been born yet, then check out a great pop band at the peak of their powers, before all that cocaine and ego messed with their heads.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise (blogging at Creative Noise)

Rumours may be fantastic soft-rock, but that's a two-edged sword - whilst the album sounds impeccable and fun, it mostly lacks grit and emotion.

The unlikely exceptions are Lindsey Buckingham's three awkward songs - especially the harrowing "Go Your Own Way" - which are gut-wrenching in a way that the more structured songs don't allow. Maybe it's in the vocals - Buckingham is more about naked emotion than nuanced cooing, so his are the tracks I keep coming back to.

Everything else is catchy, with the exception of Christine McVie's two piano ballads, which are pretty but not profound. Stevie Nicks' "Dreams" is pleasant and livened up by a generous rhythm part, but she'd already covered the same ground with "Rhiannon". And McVie's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" and "You Make Loving Fun" are brilliantly infectious, if a bit too glossy.

Rumours contains some great songwriting - enough to keep me coming back for a guaranteed fun listen - but it's too self-consciously pristine to be really satisfying.

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by Reviewer: Cosmic Ben

As a critic there's a temptation to dismiss Rumours as the opiate of the masses. The album spent six months at the top of the U.S. charts, and is one of the highest-selling albums of all time. "Don’t Stop" also served as the campaign song for Bill Clinton’s campaign in the 1992 U.S. elections.

Rumours is catchy and highly-produced, but also filled with passion. Passion is a vital ingredient in popular music - if passion is taken away, the human element of music disappears and the record may as well have been made by a computer.

As is well documented, Rumours was recorded at a time of emotional turmoil for Fleetwood Mac ... Buckingham and Nicks split up, the McVies divorced, Fleetwood divorced his wife and had an affair with Nicks, and Christine McVie had an affair with the lighting director.

All three songwriters channelled their feelings into songs, while the band wrote "The Chain" as an exercise in emotional rehabilitation. And - as is often sadly the case - pain generated tremendous artistic results.

Stevie Nicks arguably emerges from Rumours as the nicest of the three songwriters - only "Gold Dust Woman" has a trace of nastiness, while "Dreams" and "I Don’t Want To Know" are non-confrontational.

Lindsay Buckingham’s powerful "Go Your Own Way" seethes with pain and aggression, while John McVie's self-esteem must have plummeted recording "You Make Loving Fun", his former wife’s tribute to her new lover.

Apart from "Don’t Stop" and "I Don’t Want To Know", which are a touch pedestrian musically, Rumours is just one great song after another. Buckingham contributes the wonderful opener "Second Hand News", with its memorable line just lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff, and also "Go Your Own Way", the very epitome of classic rock.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])

Fleetwood Mac might best be described as the Mamas & Papas of the 1970's because - like the Mamas & Papas, the band's internal soap opera-ish love affairs were often just as interesting as the musical product they produced ...

At the time Rumours was being made, bassist John McVie and keyboardist Christine McVie were in the middle of a separation. Not only that, but guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks (oddly enough, Lindsey is the guy and Stevie is the girl) were breaking up at the same time. Add to that that drummer Mick Fleetwood was snorting as much cocaine as his large nose could handle, and you've indeed got quite the soap opera.

And it's that soap opera flavour that dominates this album. Right off the bat there's Buckingham singing I know there's nothing to say - someone has taken my place. When times go bad, when times go rough, won't you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff in "Second Hand News" with Nicks responding Now here you go again. You say you want your freedom - well who am I to heep you down. It's only right that you should play the way you feel it in "Dreams". And so on and so on - the lyrical content is all very much in the 'broken relationship' vein, with Nicks, Buckingham, as well as McVie, dominating the songwriting.

Aside from the lyrical battles going on, musically the album is a pop masterpiece. Almost. Occasionally, the album gets a little too commercial, particularly on McVie's sappy "Songbird". Otherwise though, the combination of catchy pop melodies and smart snazzy arrangements make for a great listening experience.

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by Reviewer: Marco Marco

Mick Fleetwood came across Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham while visiting a Los Angeles recording studio in 1974. Impressed by the duo, he invited them to join Fleetwood Mac. They accepted his offer and became part of the line-up that would go on to record what is an alltime classic ... Rumours.

There's a good mixture of emotions running through this album, the turmoil and bitterness within the band at the time being what fuels many of its songs. And although four singles were released from the album, none of them did anything on the UK charts ... they all hovered around the Top 50, then disappeared.

That's very unusual considering Rumours sold in such vast quantities. Perhaps it's because the songs are best heard together, rather than as the odd single now and then.

Rumours spent an amazing 443 weeks on the UK chart, and 130 weeks on the US chart, reaching No.1 on both, that translating into over 26 million copies sold worldwide.

Try as they would though, Fleetwood Mac would never repeat that enormous success, so Rumours proved to be an artistic and commercial peak for the band, with everything they released afterwards measured against it as a benchmark.

Rumours really is a perfect pop/rock album, and the only essential Fleetwood Mac album.

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by Reviewer: Paul Mouse