“Fleetwood Mac” is Better Than “Rumours” – The Buckingham/Nicks Era

“Rumours” is a recognized classic. Critics fall all over themselves, citing the inspiration of a sexually charged atmosphere within the great Fleetwood Mac, tearing the band apart while propelling them to their greatest commercial success. Rumours is a fine album, but the first album with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, titled Fleetwood Mac, is clearly the better of the two. Buckingham and Nicks brought some very strong songs from their previous work, not to mention Christine McVie’s “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me.” The overall tone of a record is happier and livelier.

I’m a huge fan of Lindsey Buckingham. Both he and Stevie Nicks went to Menlo Atherton High, just a few years before I graduated from Palo Alto High; I feel a special kinship for those who grew up near me. I have reason to believe Mr. Buckingham may have been a difficult fit for any band, introverted, demanding, and driven. Although Ms. Nicks deserves plenty of credit, it is the less popular Buckingham who drives the band to success in these two great albums. His guitar work occupies the background of most songs, and is often multi-layered with overdubbing.

I also admire bassist John McVie and especially drummer Mick Fleetwood, whose sense of rhythm in these pop songs is unmistakably his own:

Mostly I dig Buckingham in all his paranoid glory:

I don’t this as a close race, if we measure each album by song. Here’s how I see it:

“Fleetwood Mac”

Monday Morning, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Warm Ways, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
Blue Letter, Fleetwood Mac
Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭
Over My Head, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭
Crystal, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭
Say You Love Mde, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
Landslide, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
World Turning, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
Sugar Daddy, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
I’m So Afraid, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭

Say You Love Me (alternate mix), Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
Rhiannon (single version), Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭
Over My Head (single version), Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭

“Rumours”

Second Hand News, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Dreams, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Never Going Back Again, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
Don’t Stop, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭
Songbird, Fleetwood Mac (not included in collection)
The Chain, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
You Make Loving Fun, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
I Don’t Want To Know, Fleetwood Mac (not included in collection)
Oh, Daddy, Fleetwood Mac (not included in collection)
Gold Dust Woman, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
Jam #2, Fleetwood Mac

Other Fleetwood Mac songs from the Buckingham/Nicks era in the collection:

Big Love, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Everywhere, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Sara, Fleetwood Mac
Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
Silver Springs, Fleetwood Mac
Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac
Tusk, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭

Rhiannon (live 1975), Fleetwood Mac
Landslide (live 1975), Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
I’m So Afraid (live 1975), Fleetwood Mac ✭✭
I’m So Afraid (live, from “The Chain” compilation), Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭
World Turning (live 1975), Fleetwood Mac

The alternate versions of “Say You Love Me”, “Over My Head”, and “Rhiannon” have clearly different guitar backgrounds and are very worthwhile.

Coincidentally, all three song titles in the collection starting with “Crystal” are four stars:

Crystal, Fleetwood Mac ✭✭✭✭
Crystal Blue Persuasion, Tommy James and the Shondells ✭✭✭✭
The Crystal Ship, The Doors ✭✭✭✭

The following Lindsey Buckingham songs are in the collection. Four are more recent live performances:

Time Precious Time (KBCO sessions), Lindsey Buckingham ✭✭
Trouble, Lindsey Buckingham ✭✭
Holiday Road (live), Lindsey Buckingham ✭✭
Big Love (live), Lindsey Buckingham ✭✭

Stevie Nicks is represented by two songs:

Edge of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks
Stand Back, Stevie Nicks

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