And then, one song that didn’t make the original Rumours release was the Nicks-penned “Silver Springs”, a tale of her feelings about Buckingham. While being a standout track, it didn’t make the record because there wasn’t enough room, but Fleetwood Mac first released it – appropriately – as a B-side to the “Go Your Own Way” single. In “Silver Springs” the magic comes from Nicks belting out how she’ll “follow you down till the sound of my voice will haunt you. You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.” You can see that in concert, every time she looks over to her left and sings to Buckingham. She’s bitter and angry, with her heart on her sleeve in that song. It’s so poignant, there’s a video of Fleetwood Mac playing it live in 1997, and Nicks clearly breaks down, hugging Buckingham at the end of the song.
It’s Christine McVie, a great songwriter in her own right, who brings the happy, optimistic light to the Rumours album with her songs “Don’t Stop”, “You Make Loving Fun” and “Songbird”.
Interestingly, the only track where every band member gets writing credit is “The Chain”, which paradoxically has the band writing “Chain keep us together….”. So there’s also a notion of holding it together in the midst of all the relationship and emotional turmoil. It was also the last recorded track on the album and stands today as the only song the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup wrote together.
Making Rumours: Working on Songs
Every track on the album was written in the studio, with band members coming and going at all hours. While McVie and Nicks stayed in two condos in town by the harbour, John McVie, Buckingham and Fleetwood were at the studio apartments, so one of them was always present during recording. Christine McVie recalls how “The sessions were like a cocktail party every night—people everywhere.” But the band members did not socialize outside of the studio together, so the drinks and drugs were the tonic to help them function around each other when they were writing songs.
Even though it took a year to create, there was never any pressure from Fleetwood Mac’s Label, Warner Bros. The label gave the band free reign and as much time as they wanted to get it done because the previous albumFleetwood Mac reached No. 1 in August of 1976 (it was released in 1975), as Mac was working on Rumours. So there was no “hurry up and get it done. This is costing us a fortune” or “We need a hit single. Now.” from the record company.
Rumours is the epitome rock and roll in the 1970s: from three-part harmonies to the excessive, hedonistic lifestyle, with cocaine being the go-to drug. Co-producer Ken Caillat, who worked on the album with members of Fleetwood Mac and Richard Dashut, recalls there being a “group bag” of cocaine on the studio mixing console, but adds things weren’t as out of control as they would become when the band recorded Tusk, the follow up to Rumours, a couple of years later.