By Olivia Waletzke
The infamous Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac was released 44 years ago on February 4th, 1977. The album was Fleetwood Mac’s eleventh studio recording, but was deemed the band’s most emotionally impactful project. In the midst of intoxication, secrets, and the Seventies, all the heartache and pain from the band members blended together to birth Rumours, granting it with the title of being one of the world’s greatest break-up albums of all time.
The album presents a rock style soap opera with a blend of eerie heartache ballads and “moving on” anthems. The songs don’t have to be listened to in a certain order, however each track on the album tells a different story about the band’s dramatic romantic history.
Dreams, one of the more popular songs on the album, served as a lyrical coping mechanism for singer songwriter Stevie Nicks after the tragic breakup between her and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The song was filled with hope and attempted to encourage Nicks to move on from her lover of almost 10 years. Buckingham’s response to Nicks’ track was Go Your Own Way, the fifth track on the album. Despite the upbeat drum sequences and generally uplifting mood, the song’s lyrics reveal a less hopeful Lindsey Buckingham as he masks his mourning for Nicks throughout the song.
Singer songwriter Christine McVie had her own share of relationship issues with the band as well. Guitarist John McVie had been battling an alcohol during the creation of Rumours which had led to trouble with his wife, Christine. To cope with his addiction, Christine turned to Curry Grant, the band’s lighting and stage director. Christine’s affair with Grant had sparked the idea for the eighth song on the album, You Make Loving Fun.
The Chain, Fleetwood Mac’s most popular song on the album aside from Dreams, was a song relating to all the band members. The song was a symbol of the band’s strength and resilliance despite the heartaches they all faced. The making of the song itself was the most unique of all the tracks on the album, in that all band members contributed to the song. This furthered the importance of the song for everyone in the band, as The Chain was normally the first song played at every concert.
Statistically, the album proved insanely successful, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide just shortly after its release. The album was noticed by critics for its immaculate harmonies and careful production. Rumours was awarded for Album of the Year at the 1978 Grammy’s, and has been placed on the official list by The Rolling Stones as a top album for the 1970’s. Throughout the years, Fleetwood Mac has added more content to the album to create Rumours: Super Deluxe. The songs consist of demos and alternate versions of their original songs as well as full-length, unreleased songs like Silver Springs and Monday Morning.