Given the turmoil and upheaval going on within the ranks of Fleetwood Mac while the band was recording Rumours – the relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham was on the rocks, the marriage of John and Christine McVie was coming to a conclusion, and Mick Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings – it’s a wonder that the record was even completed, let alone that it produced so many classic singles.
Somehow or other, though, Stevie slipped off to another studio and…well, we’ll let her tell it, since she offered up the story of writing signature song "Dreams" in Blender:
One day when I wasn't required in the main studio, I took a Fender Rhodes piano and went into another studio that was said to belong to Sly, of Sly & the Family Stone. 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. 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. Right away I liked the fact that I was doing something with a dance beat, because that made it a little unusual for me.
Funnily enough, though, when Nicks took the song to the band, the reaction was less than enthusiastic, with Christine McVie admitting to Q Magazine that she didn’t think much of it at first.
“When Stevie first played it for me on the piano, it was just three chords and one note in the left hand,” said McVie. “I thought, ‘This is really boring.’” She flipped on the matter, however, when Lindsey Buckingham took a shot at saving the song. “He fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different. He created the impression that there’s a thread running through the whole thing.”
The end result: not only did “Dreams” end up on Rumours, but it ended up climbing all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 - their first No. 1 hit in America.
It’s ironic, however, to think that – at least based on McVie’s remarks – Buckingham was the one who helped transform “Dreams” into the song it is today. After all, the song was written by Nicks about Buckingham.
“The night I wrote ‘Dreams,’ I walked in and handed a cassette of the song to Lindsey,” Nicks told The Daily Mail in 2009. “Even though he was mad with me at the time, Lindsey played it and then looked up at me and smiled. What was going on between us was sad. We were couples who couldn’t make it through. But as musicians, we still respected each other – and got some brilliant songs out of it.”
Boy, talk about your understatements...