There’s a temptation to dismiss Rumours as an opiate of the masses, as it spent six months on the top of the U.S. charts, while ‘Don’t Stop’ also served as Bill Clinton’s campaign song in the 1992 elections. Rumours is catchy and lushly produced, but is filled with emotion; recorded at a time of emotional turmoil for Fleetwood Mac; Buckingham and Nicks split up, and the McVies divorced. All three songwriters channelled their feeling into their songs, while the group wrote ‘The Chain’ as an exercise in emotional rehabilitation.
Pain generated tremendous artistic results; Lindsey Buckingham’s powerful ‘Go Your Own Way’ seethes with pain and aggression, while John McVie’s self esteem must have plummeted recording ‘You Make Loving Fun’, his former wife’s tribute to her new lover. Nicks’ spooky ‘Gold Dust Woman’ also has a trace of nastiness, although ‘Dreams’ is tinged with hope. Buckingham contributes the wonderful opener ‘Second Hand News’, with the memorable line “just lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff,” while McVie contributes the beautiful ‘Songbird’.
As a measure of just how strong Rumours is, Fleetwood Mac were able to omit Stevie Nicks’ impressive ‘Silver Springs’ without ill effect, although it’s restored to the album’s 2004 remaster.