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Great B-Sides: Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours was a sales behemoth, jam packed with hits written by the group’s three songwriters, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham. But there was at least one great song that didn’t make the album – Nicks’ ‘Silver Springs’. It was excluded from Rumours because it was considered too long and too slow to fit, and was instead released as the b-side of ‘Go On Your Own Way’.

But the song underwent rehabilitation in 1997, when it was included on the band’s reunion live album The Dance. Buckingham and Nicks had both rejoined Fleetwood Mac after time away, and ‘Silver Springs’ was one of several songs in the set that showed the former couple’s uneasy live chemistry – the song was regarded as a response to Buckingham’s kiss-off ‘Go Your Own Way’.

In a 1997 documentary on Rumours, Richard Dashut, the group’s engineer and co-producer, called it “the best song that never made it to a record album.” It’s been added to the middle of later versions of Rumours – usually altering a classic album to include an extra song would feel like sacrilege, but in that case it’s fully justifiable.

‘Silver Springs’ is an interestingly structured song – it spends a long time meandering through multiple verses, before getting to the gloriously harmonised chorus. Half of the chorus is heard, then a spindly Buckingham solo, before the song hits its payload, the repeated two halves of the chorus.

Here’s the live version from 1997:

 

You could be my silver spring
Blue-green colors flashing
I would be your only dream
Your shining autumn ocean crashing

Don’t say that she’s pretty?
And did you say that she loved you?
Baby, I don’t want to know

So I begin not to love you
Turn around, see me running
I say I loved you years ago
But tell myself you never loved me, no

Don’t say that she’s pretty?
And did you say that she loved you?
Baby, I don’t want to know

Oh no, and can you tell me was it worth it?
Baby, I don’t want to know

Time cast a spell on you
But you won’t forget me
I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me

Time cast a spell on you
But you won’t forget me
Well I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me

I follow you down until the sound
Of my voice will haunt you
(Give me just a chance)
You’ll never get away from the sound
Of the woman who loves you
Was I just a fool

I follow you down until the sound
Of my voice will haunt you
(Give me just a chance)
You’ll never get away from the sound
Of the woman who loves you
(Was I just a fool)

Time cast a spell on you
But you won’t forget me
I know I could have loved you
But you would not let me

I’m planning to look at some notable b-sides over the next few weeks. Do you have any favourites.

 

17 thoughts on “Great B-Sides: Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac Leave a comment

  1. Looking at possibly underappreciated B-sides is an interesting idea, and I’m curious to see what you come with.

    Frankly, while I know and even own The Dance (on CD), I didn’t remember this particular tune. I think it’s fair to say it’s overshadowed by what otherwise pretty much is a greatest hits compilation played live. While perhaps not as “spectacular” as many of the other tracks on the album, it’s definitely not a bad tune.

    Speaking of the Mac, how do you feel about the new line-up?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Lindsey Buckingham is pretty irreplaceable. It’s better than last time he left, since his replacements are very capable -both guys where I love their parent bands – but Buckingham still feels very tough to lose, the guy who brings the most instrumental skill, and the passion and interplay with Nicks, and who did a great job of producing tracks in the studio that have stood the test of time.

      I’m actually working through his solo albums at the moment, and I’m really enjoying most of them. Out of the Cradle from 1992 is my favourite.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’re right Fleetwood Mac are a different band without Lindsey Buckingham who has both a distinct voice and a signature guitar sound.

        On the other hand hand, as a longtime fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I also think very highly of Mike Campbell. I’m also encouraged by YouTube clips I’ve watched from the opening show of Fleetwood Mac’s new tour. I find it intriguing that they are now mixing some tunes from the band’s earlier period, such as Black Magic Woman and Hypnotized, with their usual songs from Rumours and other hits.

        I guess ultimately it’s a matter of getting used to the new lineup, That being said, having seen them once a few years ago a few months prior to Christine McVie officially returned is probably good enough for me,

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess you could say Silver Springs is kind of like Moonbeam Levels by Prince, a great song that should have been on a studio album. I l hope you could doing this series of great B-sides.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can think of a couple of great b-sides that, much like this one, stayed hidden in the shadow of the single.

    Looking forward to seeing if any of those crop up here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not sure it’s up your alley but the b side of Springsteen’s Born in the USA is a great song called Shut Out the Light. While BUSA is loud and rocking and addresses the plight of Vietnam Vets returning home in a general sense Shut Out the Light is more subdued and tells the story of one veteran trying the adjust to be big home after all he’s seen and the PTSD. Great example of Springsteen’s ability to tell a vivid story with just a few details. IMHO a nice complement to BUSA

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like Springsteen, although I’m primarily a fan of his 1970s work. I have the 18 Tracks condensed version of the box, and I like some of the other Born in the USA outtakes and b-sides like ‘My Love Will Not Let You Down’ and ‘Daniel in the Lion’s Den’.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually have a Jukebox and acquired a bunch of 45’s over the years. And filled it up with songs I dug. When Springsteen first came on the scene buying a 45 was the only way to hear his rare songs. I got every one I could. The Zep was a good find. I’m trying to remember a few. I think Booker T and the MG’s ‘Time is Tight’ was a b-side. Maybe not Love that tune. Perfect Jukebox record. Off the beaten track idea. Good one.

    Liked by 1 person

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