Posts Tagged ‘Mirage’


Fleetwood Mac is one of those bands that loves to experiment with new sounds. Sometimes it works for them – such as the stylistic change they experienced with the addition of the two Americans in 1974 [guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his then-girlfriend, Stevie Nicks] to a then-all British blues band. Other times the band experiments a little too much, such as they did with the addition of Bekka Bramlett in the 90’s due to the absence of singer Stevie Nicks.

Cool Water is the b-side to their hit 1982 single Gypsy from Mirage. Thankfully, it was left off the album. It’s stylistically more fitting for a Lindsey Buckingham album, not Fleetwood Mac.

The verdict: don’t waste your time with this track.

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Fleetwood Mac has many facets in the form of their lead singer-songwriters. Lindsey Buckinghamis the serious “come-back-to-

Late Beach Boy Dennis Wilson and Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie

me-lover-I’m-desperate” songwriter. Stevie Nicks is the “let’s give people a window into my life” songwriter. Christine McVie, is, for the most part, “the balladeer” of the bunch.

Once again, Christine outdoes herself on Only Over You from  1982’s Mirage. It’s a ballad inspired by then-boyfriend Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.

McVie’s use of keyboards coupled with the background vocals of the rest of the band are nothing short of beautiful. However, what makes Only Over You shine is it’s beautiful lyrics: “People think I’m crazy/ But they don’t know/ Thought love had failed me/ But now they’re watching it grow/ Angel please don’t go/ I miss you when you’re gone/ They say I’m a silly girl/ But I’m not a fool.”

Unfortunately their relationship did not last due to Wilson’s heavy drinking. They broke up in 1981 and 2 years later, he drowned in the Pacific Ocean in Marina Del Rey, California.

 


On July 27, 1981 Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks released her landmark solo album Bella Donna. That album with songs

30 years of entertainment and white-winged doves

like Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Leather and Lace – both duets with Tom Petty and Don Henley respectively, and the ever-popular Edge of Seventeen launched her enduring solo career. Though its a belated birthday, I, would like to present you with the 10 facts that you probably didn’t know about Bella Donna.

  1. The most well-known single from this album is, of course, Edge of Seventeen. Nicks has said that this song is about the death of her uncle and the death of John Lennon. She explained in her Live In Concert video that “I was in Australia when John Lennon was shot. Everybody was devastated. I didn’t know John Lennon, but I knew Jimmy Iovine, who worked with John quite a bit in the ’70s, and heard all the loving stories that Jimmy told about him. When I came back to Phoenix I started to write this song. Right when I got to Phoenix, my uncle Bill got cancer, got very sick very fast, and died in a couple of weeks. My cousin John Nicks and I were in the room when he died. There was just John and I there. That was part of the song when I went running down the hallways looking for somebody – I thought where’s my mom? Where’s his wife and the rest of the family? At that point I went back to the piano and finished the song.”
  2. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around was one of the earliest videos to air on a new network that debuted on August 1, 1981 at midnight called Mtv. Mtv ended up being massively popular with teenagers and young adults and introduced both Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Nicks to a younger audience.
  3. Producer Jimmy Iovine (who has since worked with rap artist Eminem, Dr. Dre and R&B singer Mary J. Blige among others) produced the album. Iovine and Nicks ended up moving in together during the making of the album.
  4. Bella Donna is an italian expression for “beautiful woman.”
  5. Some tracks did not make the final cut of Bella Donna, but were included on other albums. Some of these tracks were “I Sing For Things (which was eventually re-recorded for her 1985 album Rock A Little), Gypsy (which was included later on Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage album in 1982), Sleeping Angel (which was included on the soundtrack to the hit film Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Blue Lamp (which was included on the Heavy Metal soundtrack) and Gold and Braid, which Nicks has performed live for the Bella Donna tour.
  6. The Bella Donna tour kicked off in Houston, TX at the the Summit, which was also where fellow rockers Journey recorded their 1981 Live In Houston – the Escape Tour video. Nicks herself would later return to The Summit in 1989 for her The Other Side of the Mirror tour and film the video for Whole Lotta Trouble at said concert. The Summit was the home of the Houston Rockets and later became known as the Compaq Center. It now currently houses bestselling Christian author Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.
  7. There are many tracks that still remain officially unreleased but have become popular on sites like youtube and other peer-to-peer sites. Some of these tracks include “Castaway,” “Lady From the Mountains,””China Doll”, “Christian (Spinning Wheels)”, another duet with Tom Petty, and “Stay Away.”
  8. Bella Donna hit #1 on the US Billboard charts in September 1981 and was awarded platinum status 2 months later. It has since gone 4x platinum.
  9. This was the 1st recording to feature Nicks’ longtime backup vocalists Sharon Celani and Lori Perry Nicks.
  10. Nicks wrote Leather and Lace for a duet album for country singer Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. However it wasn’t used by either singer so Nicks recorded it as a duet with Don Henley. The song itself hit #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1982.

Fleetwood Mac is one of the great blues, pop/rock bands that spawned the successful solo careers of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie

Happy Birthday!

Nicks. However, there is one rather underrated vocalist/keyboardist that almost never gets the attention that she deserves. I am speaking of Christine McVie. Since it is her birthday, I figured we would celebrate and countdown what the Wild Heart thinks are the 10 greatest songs she has written with Fleetwood Mac.

  1. Isn’t It Midnight. Christine, overall, wasn’t considered the rocker chick of the band. That was Stevie’s job. However, she proves on this song, which hit #14 on the US rock charts, that she can rock as hard as Lindsey and Stevie.
  2. Only Over You. Christine was definitely the balladeer of Fleetwood Mac. Even during some of the worst times of her love life she wrote some of the greatest love songs. According to the linear notes of Mirage, this was inspired by her then-boyfriend, Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.
  3. Songbird. Like I said earlier, Christine is the balladeer of Fleetwood Mac. This heartfelt ballad however, was viewed as somewhat of a promise that things would be okay amongst them during the tumultuous relationships that were disintegrating during the recording of Rumours. Even her ex-husband, fellow band member John McVie, said on their Classic Albums episode that this song would bring tears to his eyes everytime she would sing this song at the end of their shows.
  4. Hold Me. This was another song that was, according to some, written for Dennis Wilson, McVie’s then-boyfriend. Sadly he drowned while trying to recover stuff he threw into the ocean in California over a year after this song was released.
  5. Little Lies. Written with her then-husband Eddy Quintela, this song was covered by American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert.
  6. Everywhere. This popular song from both 1987’s Tango In the Night and 1997’s live album The Dance. It was covered by Vampire Weekend in 2008.
  7. You Make Lovin’ Fun. Perhaps one of the most recognizable tracks of McVie’s career, it was actually about the man that she was having an affair with, Fleetwood Mac’s lighting director, during her tumultuous relationship with Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie. This happened during the making of the ever-popular Rumours album.
  8. One More Night. Christine has an amazing voice. What can I say? However, this is a brief return to the roots of Fleetwood Mac before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined – when it was a British blues band.
  9. Love In Store. From 1982’s Mirage album.

Ahhhh Fleetwood Mac. A band where you know who dated who and who broke up with who. However, when they make music together, it’s completely sheer magic. On Tango In the Night, this magic once again doesn’t fail them.

On this album, the band members take a more stylized production approach – a slick pop approach that still stays true to the style and music of Fleetwood Mac. Mirage and Rumours were more organic in both their sound and lyrics. Tango In the Night is, but with more production overdubs and a more pop approach. It sounds like they took more production cues from their most popular band member, Stevie Nicks, whose latest solo release at the time was Rock A Little (1985)

The greatest thing about this album is that there is no weak track. Each is a great standalone track. But perhaps one of the greatest tracks is Big Love due to the creative guitar-playing and “love grunting” of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

One thing to notice about the album is that the presence of Stevie Nicks is a little less. While she sings backup on many of the songs such as Little Lies, she has less songs where she is the lead vocalist, or even the main songwriter. The reason is due to the fact that she was in rehab for a cocaine addiction. On the other hand, Seven Wonders, though it’s not Gypsy or Gold Dust Woman, is still a viable (and underrated) classic. One surprise great track is Welcome to the Room…..Sara. It almost is a foreshadow of her later work including her latest single Secret Love from her latest album In Your Dreams.

Overall this is one of the most under appreciated albums of Fleetwood Mac. It is definitely a good listen, even though it is a deviation from the normal bluesy-pop/rock that has become beloved among Fleetwood Mac fans.

 


In keeping with the fact that Rumours will be the theme of next weeks episode of Glee, I thought it would be fun to post some videos of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks behind the scenes and live. Enjoy!

Stevie Nicks rehearses a demo of “The Wild Heart” while applying makeup

Behind the scenes footage of the video shoot for “Hold Me.”

The first performance ever of Nicks’ iconic hit Stand Back. Unfortunately she is a bit coked up  on this performance at the Us Festival – however she is really funny throughout this performance which is what makes it a classic. 

I love it when Stevie performs with Tom Petty! It always is a great performance!

And now for some DEMOS!!! Some of the demos sound better than the released versions! Every Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks fan needs to hear them!

Demos for “Little Lies”  

Demo for “Seven Wonders.” Though this is one of my favorite songs off the “Tango In the Night” album, thank goodness they made it better!

Demo for “Hold Me.” This is probably one of my favorite demos and even the finished song is a favorite.

Honestly I think the “Tango In the Night” recording is much better.

Lesson to be learned: don’t make Stevie mad at you. This is a great demo of “Smile at You.”

One of the most underrated tracks from “The Wild Heart:” “Nothing Ever Changes.” Good thing is that this track did change – at least on the chorus.  

I am kinda liking this demo of “Talk to Me.”
What collection of demos would be complete with a few takes of “Edge Of Seventeen?” None!


Band fights: Almost every single band goes through this. Fleetwood Mac was no

Mirage is another example of what can come from pain: beautiful music.

exception with their release of 1982’s Mirage. There was much in-fighting within the band that seems to stem from the time during when Rumours was released in 1977.

One of the best tracks on the album is the Lindsey Buckingham-penned Can’t Go Back. It’s made even better by the beautiful piano playing and finger-picking guitar combination of Christine McVie and Buckingham. However, the melody of the song does not seem to match the overall lyrics. The overall lyrics are about lost love.

On the country-tinged That’s Alright, Stevie Nicks talks about a mutual breakup. Overall, it doesn’t seem to stand the test of time as the other great Nicks-penned track. Gypsy. Gypsy is a beautiful track that has a beautiful piano highlighting the entire track with Buckingham on backup vocals. Also, the lyrics are completely impeccable when Nicks says “So I’m back to the velvet underground/ Back to the floor that I love/ To a room with some lace and paper flowers/ Back to the gypsy/ that I was/ To the gypsy/ that I was.” She only gets better on Straight Back – which seems like a deeper version of Dreams. It keeps getting better when she starts singing with McVie.

Keyboardist Christine McVie never seems to disappoint with her contributions to Mirage. Only Over You, a love song written to her then-boyfriend and late member of the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson. McVie’s voice is often underestimated and it should not be because it is the thing that makes this track absolutely beautiful.

However, one of the most annoying tracks is Book of Love, where Lindsey Buckingham cries throughout the chorus “Oh tell me who wrote the book of love/ Was it somebody from above/ Surely he must know all the rules.” Overall, the writing is on the wall about whom the song is about: Stevie Nicks.

Hold Me has to be the best album track overall due to McVie and Buckingham’s almost duet-like singing. McVie and Buckingham blend very well vocally.

B+