Drama, drugs and divorce: the essential ingredients to the raging success of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours, often heralded as the band's magnum opus.
On this day in '77, the legendary 'Rumours' took ahold of the No. 1 throne, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. From the drama, drugs and divorce that fueled the album to why "Silver Springs" didn't make the cut, here are seven things you should know about the album. What's your favorite song off the landmark album?
The recording of the album was undeniably propelled by the band members' rampant use of cocaine. “You felt so bad about what was happening that you did a line to cheer yourself up,” Stevie Nicks told Mojo in 2012.
Cocaine was such a contributing force to the album's production that Fleetwood Mac seriously debated whether to credit their drug dealer in the album credits. “Unfortunately, he got snuffed – executed! – before the thing came out,” Mick Fleetwood wrote in his first memoir, 1990’s Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac.
A materialization of both the behind-the-scenes drama between the bandmates and the spirit of the 70's, this 11th album infused the complicated personal lives of the musicians into the music.
Stevie Nicks had just parted ways with her longtime partner Lindsey Buckingham, while Christine McVie was mid-divorce with her husband and bassist John. Mick Fleetwood's marriage was experiencing road blocks of its own, which lead to an affair with Nicks that same year.
“We refused to let our feelings derail our commitment to the music, no matter how complicated or intertwined they became,” Fleetwood later wrote in his 2014 memoir. “It was hard to do, but no matter what, we played through the hurt.”
5. Four Hit Singles
For all the inner turmoil and lines of cocaine mixed into the album, Rumours spawned four hit singles while becoming a fitting symbol of the excessive glories of 70's rock 'n' roll. The radio-friendly singles "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," "Don't Stop," and "You Make Loving Fun" all charted as American Top 10 hits. These epic singles helped cement Rumours as a musical masterpiece and further launched the album into its status as one of the highest-selling albums of all time, with more than 45 million copies sold worldwide.
While the bandmates took to recording down at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, Nicks often took to the unused studio down the hall built for funk frontman Sly Stone. There, Nicks found refuge and her inspiration; within the comfort of pillows and sheets, she penned "Dreams" - the band's only No. 1 single in the states - in Sly Stone's bed.
“It was a black-and-red room, with a sunken pit in the middle where there was a piano, and a big black-velvet bed with Victorian drapes,” she recalled in Blender. “I sat down on the bed with my keyboard in front of me. I found a drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote ‘Dreams’ in about 10 minutes.”
3. "Silver Springs"
The bittersweet song "Silver Springs" was left off the album to ensure the album's work of body would be conceived as a lean, potent mix of smashing hits. As vinyl was only capable of holding 22 minutes per side, the soon-to-be classic song fell to the chopping block for this particular record release.
2. Mick's balls
The balls proudly hanging between Mick Fleetwood's legs on the album cover were actually toilet chains stolen from a club from one of Mac's earliest gigs. Lest the world forget, Fleetwood often put them on display during their live shows. "Suitably, I walked out on stage with these two lavatory chains with these wooden balls hanging down, and after that it just stuck.” Mac told Maui Time in 2009.
Permanently solidifying the album's legacy as a milestone of late Seventies rock, Rumours took home the coveted Grammy Award for Album of the Year in February 1978. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003. "We had no idea what we had. We were so tired," says the album's co-producer and co-engineer Ken Caillat. "Most weeks, we worked seven days a week. … You never know when you're going to do something great."
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