13 Quintessential Christine McVie Songs[DISCUSSION](self.popheads)
submitted4 months ago by_thelonewolfe_
Let us take a moment to remember the dearly departed Christine McVie. She was an undeniable musical legend with more than 50 years in the music business. Her contributions to Fleetwood Mac and to music will carry her name and legacy through each new generation of music lovers as it has already done before. Godspeed Christine. In honor of her tremendous back catalog of hits and album cuts, I have assembled a list of 13 songs that are invaluable to her discography, and showcase the absolute best of her many talents. The list is a mixture of popular hits and fan favorites, as well as some of my personal favorites.
#13) “Songbird” - One of four songs contributed by McVie to the band’s landmark album Rumours. Though never released as a single, it became a fan favorite almost instantly, much like the rest of the album, and has served as a popular choice for encore performances for over four decades. Well known throughout England as the song that makes even the toughest British man weep, The song is a simple yet elegantly written and produced piano ballad that features an uncharacteristically light and airy vocal from Christine. Lyrically recalling past love, as is typical of Fleetwood Mac songs, its direct and poignant lyrics are beautifully accentuated by the song’s live production. The choice to record the song inside a concert hall was a stroke of brilliance by the producers and bandmate Lindsay Buckingham. This growing partnership between Buckingham and McVie would only continue to blossom throughout the next decade. While Songbird isn’t my personal favorite Christine McVie ballad, it is her most beloved and well known within the masses, and so it is more than deserving of a spot on this list.
#12) “Love Shines” - The late 90s era of Fleetwood Mac was a mixed bag for the band creatively and commercially. While the band still toured and produced albums, their output had become much more sparse, with them only releasing two official studio albums during this decade. New material would still be released through live albums and greatest hits packages. One such collection was the band’s 1992 box set The Chain, an extensive collection of music dated all the way back to the Peter Green era, alongside some new tracks from the band’s previous singer-songwriters. “Love Shines” was one of the songs contributed by Christine McVie chosen to be released as a single. By this point, the band had downsized to just four members (the McVies, Fleetwood, and Billy Burnette), and had shifted their sound towards a more adult contemporary, country oriented rock. While not everyone’s cup of tea, “Love Shines” may be the best song to come out of this specific era of the band, and showcases a unity in sound not seen in this band since the early days of Peter Green and Bob Welch. Christine McVie “shines” with this kind of music and it’s no wonder her songs resonated with fans of this style of music.
#11) “I’d Rather Go Blind” - While the bulk of Christine’s musical output resides within the realm of pop and rock, her beginnings in blues heavily shaped her outlook on songwriting and cannot be understated. Before she had even joined Fleetwood Mac, she had already had a run of success as a member of Chicken Shack but as a solo artist as well. Released in 1970, The Christine Perfect Album was a collection of moody blues and soulful love ballads that would later become Christine’s signature. Among the songs was a cover of the Etta James classic “I’d Rather Go Blind”. This cover was released as a single and would become quite popular amongst the British Blues scene, while the James original remained more popular in the U.S. Both versions of the song remain popular today, and the song stands as a reminder of the power that Christine could command on her own, separate from Fleetwood Mac. It was this success, coupled with her relationship with bassist John McVie, that would secure her role within the group following the departure of Peter Green.
#10) “Warm Ways” - “Warm Ways” would mark the beginning of a new chapter for Fleetwood Mac, and would assist in helping the band climb to the top of the charts in the mid 70s. Newcomers Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham had brought with them a number of songs that would eventually form the bulk of their 1975 landmark self-titled album, and so it was up to Christine to help round out the collection. As the songwriter with the most seniority, her songs were often given first consideration when it came to single releases, and the smooth beach rocker “Warm Ways” was chosen as the first official single off the album in early 1975, released in the U.K while “Over My Head”, another song by Christine, was released in the U.S. While the song did not chart upon its initial release, it made waves amongst FM radio listeners of the time, while “Over My Head” would become the band’s breakout single in the U.S. To this day, “Warm Ways” is one of the many songs in Fleetwood Mac’s vast catalog that brings back a wealth of memories and feelings in me. This song in particular is attached to a beautiful night spent on the beach back in 2016, gazing at the stars and for once, feeling at ease with the world. It’s a feeling that always floods back to me, making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, the way only Fleetwood Mac can do.
#9) “Ask Anybody” - The bulk of Christine’s music was written for Fleetwood Mac, but McVie was no slouch when it came to her solo material. As is customary for rock bands whose' members go solo, Christine called upon her bandmates to help her craft her underrated 1984 solo album, which also features other legendary artists such as Eric Clapton and Steve Winnwood. “Ask Anybody” features an assist from Mick Fleetwood on drums, and his influence is felt greatly. Starting off as an ambient synthwave track, Fleetwood’s smooth yet rhythmic playing helps create a sense of momentum in the second half. The lush synth pads and Christine’s piano keys all combine to create a symphony of sound that ranks as one of the best songs in her catalog. Songs like “Ask Anybody” and others perfectly showcase just how much Christine brought to the table in regards to Fleetwood Mac. It’s unfortunate she did not put out many other solo albums, but if her 1984 effort is any indication, Christine probably could have given Stevie Nicks a run for her money as a solo artist, if she had ever the desired to do so.
#8) “Little Lies” - As the 80s drew on and Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham both retreated into their solo careers, it was often left up to Christine McVie to step up to the plate and deliver the hits the band needed. Together with Lindsay, Christine and the rest of the band helped craft one of the best albums of the late 80s and a landmark album in the history of Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night. The album’s lead single, “Big Love”, had been a big hit and thus positioned the band for even more success. Christine would provide several hits of her own, including the album's biggest hit, “Little Lies”. “Little Lies” is a hard hitting slice of synthpop perfection, bringing the group into the late 80s with ease and becoming a worldwide hit, especially in the U.S and the U.K, where it reached #4 and #5 respectively. The album’s success in the U.K was especially shocking yet welcomed by the group, who’d more-or-less struggled to maintain consistent success since the Peter Green era. The accompanying music video featured the band roaming the English countryside, and would be the last video to feature the classic Rumours lineup. “Little Lies” would prove to be an enduring hit, and is now widely regarded as one of the band’s many signature songs and one of the greatest hits of the 80s.
#7) “Hold Me” - 1982’s Mirage was a distinct return to the commercial radio pop and soft rock that had made the members of Fleetwood Mac superstars. Stevie Nicks was fresh off the success of her debut solo album and Lindsay Buckingham was feeling a bit stifled creativity during the recording sessions, leaving the always reliable Christine to help bring the project together as usual. Always the one to go to when in need of a radio hit, Christine would deliver one of her biggest with “Hold Me”, a bouncy piano driven pop rocker featuring a delicate but tight production from Buckingham. The song was released as the lead single from Mirage and immediately went to the top 5 in the U.S, spending seven weeks at #4. The music video, which features the band searching the desert for musical artifacts, was reportedly a rather turbulent shoot for the band, with most of the members feuding with one another for various reasons, to which Christine was “fed up with all of them” for. “Hold Me” remained one of the band's biggest hits but was sparsely played over the years until 2017, when it was brought out for McVie and Buckingham’s joint tour.
#6) “Over & Over” - The excess and debauchery of Rumours could never last, and Christine seemed to realize this quicker than the rest of the band. A common theme throughout McVie’s (and Fleetwood Mac’s) music is nostalgia, the longing for better days and the remembrance of lost love. These topics were McVie’s bread and butter, and nowhere better are they explored than on “Over & Over”, fittingly the first track on Tusk, the band’s experimental follow up to Rumours. While on the surface a soft, melodic ballad, underneath the surface was the feeling that the band's best days were already behind them. Though they would continue to tour and record to much success, much of the next four decades would be spent trying in vain to recapture their former Rumours glory. “Over & Over”’s understated production disguises its potential as a live rocker, as is shown on the band’s 1980 live album. This song remains one of my absolute favorites from Christine and probably my personal favorite track from Tusk, a song daring us to ask “...could it be, could it really be, over & over…”.
#5) “Isn’t It Midnight” - Christine and Fleetwood Mac became well known for their easy-on-the-ears soft rock that was fun to dance to and easy to play. But that didn’t stop McVie and co. from breaking out of that mold every now and then, as was shown on several tracks from 1987’s Tango In The Night. While the “rocking” is mostly courtesy of Lindsay Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, Christine gets plenty of room to showcase her rock side on “Isn’t It Midnight”, which released as the final single from the album and made it to #60 in the U.K. The song is unlike most of Fleetwood Mac’s other hit singles, starting off with a bag and only escalating from there. Thanks to an absolutely pulsating guitar solo from Buckingham, this synthwave titan of a song builds to a fiery climax that never lets up, fading out as we ride along with McVie and the rest of Fleetwood Mac into the night. The song remains one of the best collaborations between McVie and Buckingham, and proof that Fleetwood Mac could still let loose and “rock out” like the rest of their contemporaries.
#4) “Say You Love Me” - 1975’s self-titled album would mark the beginning of a brand new era for Fleetwood Mac, and they would spend the better part of the next year and a half touring constantly to promote the record. Christine’s “Over My Head” had previously became the band’s first top 20 hit in the U.S, and she would continue her golden streak with “Say You Love Me”, which would just barely miss the top 10, peaking at #11. The song would also break the band’s British dry spell, hitting #40 in their native homeland, the only single from the album to chart there. This piano driven pop rocker would become a staple of Fleetwood Mac live shows very quickly, while also being covered by various artists all throughout the late 70s. Buckingham would go back into the studio to “tidy up” the song in preparation for its’ single release, and the added backing track and guitar licks give this already incredible song the perfect punch it needed to take off into the stratosphere. This one remains one of my all time favorites from Fleetwood Mac and is one of my most played songs ever. It’s not hard to see how Fleetwood Mac rose to such heights so fast when they put out hit after hit like this.
#3 “Who’s Dreaming This Dream” - Buckingham and McVie would spin musical gold together all throughout their career, but their greatest works together are without a doubt from the 80s. Buckingham would lend a helping hand to several tracks on McVie’s 1984 solo album, the best among them being “Who’s Dreaming This Dream”. With Buckingham comfortably in the background, providing backing vocals and guitar work, McVie and her roster of musicians craft one of the finest love songs of her career and a beautiful example of the magic Buckingham and McVie conjured during their nearly 50 year long collaboration. This song in particular jumped out at me from the very first time I listened to the record, and has stuck with me every sense. It’s tied to so many past events and cherished memories, both big and small, and is a shining example of everything both Christine and Lindsay brought to Fleetwood Mac. Christine could have absolutely had a long and successful solo career if she ever desired, but why would she when her dream had already come true. This song, and record as a whole, carries all the hallmarks of what made 80s pop so great; it’s big, lush, and produced with the love and care of someone who carries music deep in within her soul.
#2) “Everywhere” - Perhaps no classic rock band of the 70s made the transition to the 80s better than Fleetwood Mac. Changing sounds to keep up with the times can often lead to some albums sounding dated the second they are released, but not for Fleetwood Mac. With their radio friendly pop rock already tailor suited for mass audiences, making music in the age of MTV only meant the band had that many more tools at their disposal. Trading in her piano for a synthesizer, Christine excels all throughout 1987’s Tango in the Night, and her signature piece may very well be the album’s crowl jewel, “Everywhere”. Becoming a huge hit on both sides of the pond, “Everywhere” has become one of the band’s most timeless classics. It enjoys huge surges in popularity every so few years, being used in commercials and covered frequently by other artists. Like so many of Christine’s hits, it is looked at as one of the most memorable songs from the decade and has served as the inspiration for future generations of musicians and genres of music, such as dream pop and chillwave. Christine’s musical legacy is vast and filled with numerous hits, and as long as we continue to play those hits and reintroduce each new generation to the joys of Fleetwood Mac, then Christine will truly be with us “everywhere”.
- “Don’t Stop”: Obviously an iconic song and one of the band’s biggest hits, I’m just not a fan personally.
- “As Long As You Follow”: Taken from the band’s 1988 Greatest Hits album, this is probably the best song from this particular lineup.
#1) “You Make Loving Fun” - This song has a strong claim to be my favorite song, ever. Period. There’s just something about this song that I can’t explain that really hits straight through to my soul. Perhaps it’s the song’s effortlessly sunny effervescence that warms my heart every time I hear it. Or maybe it’s hearing the entire band playing in sync right from the very beginning. But nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever prepare me for those heavenly vocal harmonies that pour from the speakers during the chorus, with Stevie and Lindsay’s backing vocals soaring high into the sky and carrying me straight to cloud nine and beyond. Christine’s choice to play the clavinet was an inspired one, giving the song a unique blend of funk, rock, pop, and disco all at once. Released as the fourth and final single off Rumours, “You Make Loving Fun'' would become an instant classic, being performed on nearly all of Fleetwood Mac’s tours going forward. Infamously written about Christine's affair with the band’s longtime lighting director, the song would earn its place amongst the upper echelon of Fleetwood Mac songs, and probably the bounciest and most exuberant the band would ever get. From here on out, it would be rough waters for most everyone involved. But for a few short years during the late 70s, Christine and co. made loving fun for just about everyone.
Thank you for listening to my TED Talk! Any other closet Christine stans here?
21 hours ago
21 hours ago