This week, Fleetwood Mac released the masterpiece album ‘Rumours’. It was 45 years ago.
The 1977 studio album is one the most beloved and celebrated compilations of pop music history. Tracks such as “Dreams”, “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way” continue to be top-of-the-charts today.
Fleetwood Mac’ meteoric success wasn’t without struggle.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were involved in affairs, bitter feuds and drug addictions that threatened to destroy the band at the peak of their success.
Over forty years ago, ‘Rumours” was first released. There was a crisis at the back of the scenes.
“Drama. Christine McVie describes the album’s recording as “dra-ma” shortly after it was released.
She was correct. During the ‘Rumours era, Nicks had just broken up with Buckingham, her long-term lover and musical partner, while McVie was undergoing a divorce from John McVie, Fleetwood Mac bassist.
Buckingham and Nicks, the musical duo that formed their careers together in the 1960s, met at high school. In 1973 they released their first record, “Buckingham Nicks”.
Bandmates were on and off again in the 70s, with their relationship turbulent from the beginning.
They lived together as a married couple during their first relationship. Nicks cooked, cleaned, and cared for Buckingham.
However, tensions developed when Buckingham, Nicks says, wanted her “all alone” and started to doubt where she was or with whom she was.
Their erratic relationship was officially ended in 1977 when they recorded ‘Rumours.
“We were finishing up 12 songs in Sausalito, for ‘Rumours.’ I said, We’re done. “I think this is over. We both now know that we will keep Fleetwood Mac together, no matter what the cost,” Nicks stated to Oprah.
“Our band is not going to be broken up, and I’m not going quit.
The tension between Buckingham and Nicks caused violent fights during the recording sessions of ‘Rumours. The McVies were not even speaking.
John McVie was also at war with Buckingham at the time. McVie, allegedly, threw a glass of vodka at Buckingham’s head one occasion.
Buckingham wrote the chart-topping song “Go Your Own Way” about his on-again, off-again love affair with Nicks. “Dreams” – which was written by Nicks – was inspired by their horrible breakup.
“Now, there you go again. You say that you want your freedom. Who am I to hold you back? This was an eloquent lyric about Buckingham’s treatment of Nicks.
In 1977, Nicks and Fleetwood were nearing the end the ‘Rumours tour’tour. They began an affair.
Nicks said that Fleetwood and she were “absolutely horrified” that it had happened and kept the affair secret until it “blew out and was over.”
Buckingham said that she and Buckingham had “never, never spoken about Mick.” Ever.”
Buckingham later stated that he didn’t feel betrayed when he learned about the affair, and admitted that he would have been surprised if it hadn’t happened.
Fleetwood Mac continued to be together for many years, but Buckingham and Nicks were known to shoot “eye daggers at one another” in packed stadiums while they sang their separation anthems.
Buckingham left the band in 1980s. Nicks followed suit a decade later, before she launched her solo career.
They would occasionally return to the band on sporadic tours. However, the final breakup was in 2018, when Buckingham was fired unceremoniously from the band.
Buckingham asked Nicks for flexibility in tour dates. Nicks refused. The lawsuit was eventually settled at the end of the year.
“Ironically,” Buckingham stated to The Times that “nothing went on that night that was [as] contentious as the stuff that we’d been through over 43 years.”