All-Time Albums: #14



1 Second Hand News 2:43
Dreams 4:14 (UK single, #24)
3 Never Going Back Again 2:02
4 Don’t Stop 3:11 (UK single, #32)
5 Go Your Own Way 3:38 (UK single, #38)
6 Songbird 3:20
The Chain 4:28
8 You Make Loving Fun 3:31 (UK single, #45)
9 I Don’t Want To Know 3:11
10 Oh Daddy 3:54
11 Gold Dust Woman 4:51

Along with Thriller and Bat Out Of HellRumours is arguably the most famous and commercially evergreen album from the pre-Adele world. Nothing, certainly not time itself, seems able to halt its relentless grip on the charts. So, what is it about this record which keeps people coming back to it, decade after decade?

Hmmm, good question. It’s got extremely well-known, and much-used songs (Dreams, Don’t Stop, Go Your Own way, The Chain). The musicianship and songwriting is superb, but then this is Fleetwood Mac we’re talking about. Is it the oft-touted fascination the public have with an album cataloguing the breakdown of relationships between band members, and the soap opera shenanigans surrounding its creation? Well, I don’t see Super Trouper selling millions for 30-odd years. Is it a case of a hugely-popular album taking on a life of its own, as people see something that a lot of other people like, and feel they have to check it out?

For me, it’s just another (very fine) Fleetwood Mac LP, one of their very best and one which stands up to an awful lot of exposure (just as well, then). Rumours actually used to be way behind Tusk, Mirage and Tango In The Night in my list of favourite Mac albums, but since the 2CD remaster in 2004, I’ve begun to appreciate it a lot more. There’s no doubt its complete ubiquity can count against it, listening to these 11 songs does feel less like the private experience it usually does with personal favourites and more like tuning back into some sort of global jukebox where it’s on repeat for eternity. That’s the thing with music that just sells and sells, and remains in the public consciousness for so long (despite – trivia alert – never producing a UK Top 20 hit single).

The first time I ever (properly) listened to it would have been April 1987, not long after Tango In The Night’s release. That “new” album inspired me to go and pick up the rest of their catalogue at mid-price from such esteemed retailers as Woolworths and WH Smiths. Obviously, the Stevie Nicks contributions caught my ear the most, sublime as they are. Those remain my favourites on an album which doesn’t really have a weak moment, even Christine McVie comes up with two of her finest-ever efforts (You Make Loving Fun, in particular, is pure magic). Lindsey is, well, Lindsey….with added bitchiness, as his faltering romance with the witchy one serves as inspiration for some of his most withering lyrics (“packing up, shacking up, is all you wanna do”).

So yes, Rumours is a classic. And the Pope is a Catholic, and bears of a brown persuasion like to defecate in woodland. But it can’t be ignored!

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