All-Time Albums: #8


FLEETWOOD MAC Tango In The Night

Big Love 3:40 (UK single, #9)
2 Seven Wonders 3:43 (UK single, #56)
3 Everywhere 3:47 (UK single, #4)
Caroline 3:55
Tango In The Night 4:02
6 Mystified 3:10
7 Little Lies 3:41 (UK single, #5)
8 Family Man 4:07 (UK single, #54)
9 Welcome To The Room…Sara 3:42
10 Isn’t It Midnight 4:14 (UK single, #60)
11 When I See You Again 3:49
12 You And I, Part II 2:38

This is, in all likelihood, the most-played album/CD in my collection. Ever since its release on April 13th 1987, I’ve been hooked on Tango In The Night. Long before it became a UK chart-topper and sold more than 1.5 million copies over an 18 month period, I knew this was a special album to me. Its belated commercial ubiquity came as a bit of a shock, however.

In my mind, this was a dark, intoxicating album driven by Lindsey Buckingham’s creative and aesthetic hand (from the specially-commissioned sleeve to the intricate arrangements and beyond). The key songs were Caroline, Big Love, Family Man and the title track. Stevie Nicks was almost a bystander on the record, although two of her main contributions were passably authentic Mac gems. The pretty Christine McVie tracks felt a bit lightweight and frothy by comparison to everything else, but Isn’t It Midnight showed some refreshing bite and drama. Little did I know that it would be the frothy McVie songs which would become most synonymous with Tango In The Night and drive its sales into the stratosphere.

Which is okay, really, as it was still satisfying to see one of my favourite albums of 1987 do so well. There was an irony to Buckingham actually no longer being part of the promotional and touring campaign in support of an album that was originally drawn from a solo project he was working on, but which he turned into a full Mac album to help the greater cause (Fleetwood’s bankruptcy, Nicks’ addiction woes, Warner Brothers demanding new material after a 5 year gap). His departure buggered up the dynamic of the group, unsurprisingly, and the Tango line-up has still never released another studio album in the years since.

Warner Brothers quite cleverly managed to ride the storm, and reposition the album as a predominantly McVie-led vehicle with three of the last four singles being hers, and then the subsequent tour and line-up changes put her even more in control. An excellent Greatest Hits set followed soon after, again planting a new McVie ballad centre stage, which further minimised the potential fall-out of Fleetwood Mac losing their wayward genius.

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