Great Albums: Rumours

By 1977, Fleetwood Mac had undergone a complete transformation. Ten years earlier, they had formed as a Blues band, driven by the obsessive Peter Green. Their combination of raw blues and unusual instrumental tracks guaranteed them an early following, and when Christine Perfect joined in 1970, they had a female vocal too. But personality issues within the band led to the departure of Peter Green, and in 1974, Americans Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the group, as lead guitar and lead vocal, respectively.

This resulted in a complete change of direction. The Blues roots were discarded for a more commercial pop sound, with Nicks’ vocals as the centrepiece of most songs. An album release in 1975 saw them appeal to a totally new market, and a much wider audience, and this was followed in 1977 by ‘Rumours’.

This new album was an immediate success, all over the world. Not only did it take the number one spot in the UK, it also topped the US charts, as well as in Australia and Canada. They may have changed their style, but they had undoubtedly hit upon a winning formula.

The album just didn’t stop selling. Over thirty weeks in the US charts, platinum and gold discs in many countries, it became a recording phenomenon. In the age of vinyl, it seemed as if everyone you ever met had a copy, including me.

It had something that appealed to almost everyone at the time. If you didn’t like one track, you were sure to like the next one. Selling over forty million copies, and becoming one of the biggest-selling records ever, it earned its place in history.

Perhaps the crowing glory of ‘Rumours’, and still played widely today, this track showcased Stevie Nicks’ vocals perfectly, and sums up the appeal of this unique album.

It has since been released on CD of course, later remastered and reissued, in 2013. Still selling in considerable numbers to this day, forty-one years after I bought it.