With "You Make Loving Fun," Fleetwood Mac Made Rock History

Christine McVie in 1977
Photo Credit
Pete Still/Redferns

Maybe it's her comparatively low public profile, or her time spent in and out of Fleetwood Mac, but you could argue that Christine McVie doesn't get the credit she deserves.

From the "classic" five-piece line-up of the band, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie shine as the enduring rhythm section that co-founded the group. Lindsey Buckingham's dazzling guitar and impassioned singing/songwriting brought a singular voice into stadiums everywhere, as did his one-time flame Stevie Nicks, with her witchy cadences and hypnotic low voice. McVie, a keyboardist with a clarion voice who was part of the Mac since 1970, seems comparatively understated - and yet, it's her who helped tip Rumours, the band's 1977 blockbuster, into untold heights of pop glory. And to think - it was a song she had to lie about to her ex-husband.

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Indeed, with everyone in the band's relationships falling apart during the sessions for Rumours - Buckingham and Nicks, the McVies, and Fleetwood and his wife - it might've seemed a bit suspicious when Christine brought in a fiery, passionate song like "You Make Loving Fun" to the proceedings. Indeed, she'd written about it about someone else she was seeing at the time: Curry Grant, the group's lighting director. By several accounts, Christine lied and told her estranged bandmate that it was written about her dog!

"You Make Loving Fun" particularly shines as an example of each of the five bandmates firing on all cylinders: Christine's soaring vocal works perfectly against the propulsive Fender Rhodes and clavinet licks she leads the band with. McVie and Fleetwood's hard-driivng rhythm is in perfect sync. Nicks' backing vocals glisten across the choruses and final segment like diamonds, and Buckingham's howling guitar riffs add fuel to the flames. (A rough early version released in 2004 is one of the more exciting outtakes from this period, offering a proper harmony vocal from Nicks and a center stage for a solo from Lindsey as Fleetwood changes up his drum pattern.

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The track was more than just an artistic high point on Rumours, too: in December of 1977 - ten months into the album's shelf life, by which point it had topped the Billboard charts for a staggering 29 non-consecutive weeks - "You Make Loving Fun" reached No. 9 on the Hot 100. It was the fourth Top 10 hit from the album, an unprecedented feat that still sets this album - and this band - apart from the rest.

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