Yes, you read correctly. Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter in the band from 1970-1998, (give or take a few bumps on the timeline road), turns 67 years old today. Hard to believe that, in fact, the band had its inception releasing their self-titled debut album back in 1968, and have sold over 100 million albums to date.
Fleetwood Mac showed promising success until the band moved to Southern California in the mid-70s and went on to release “Rumours” in 1977, which became one of the biggest-selling albums of all time spawning the mega classic tunes like “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” and “You Make Loving Fun.” This album alone went 19+ Platinum status.
The band’s core line-up was, in addition to McVie, made up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. And with three albums released in the 80s decade, “Live” in 1980, “Mirage” in 1982, and “Tango In The Night” out in 1987, which was this one that was the band’s next best seller since “Rumours.”
I remember in high school we’d lavish over the Fleetwood Mac album covers, reading the names and comparing the photos, never really sure who was who, which ones were married to each other, what actually was happening within this hippie-gone-rock-popular band that literally ruled the airwaves back in the late 70s/early 80s. The harmonies and shared vocals, along with combined writing prowess and truly “group” dynamics were something unheard of, dare I say, since The Beatles.
As for the women, Stevie was seen as the more feminine and whimsical, while Christine as the more pensive and earthy, sort of creating a choice of identification for us out here who were ourselves growing into our identities.
Years later in 1991 I found myself at a friend’s house who was having a tiff with her then-boyfriend. I remember her grabbing my hand and insisting I go to a party with her since her rock-star man wanted to stay in that night. Okay, let’s go. Following her car up a winding road in the California hills, we pull into a spiral driveway, lights lining the path which led to a beautifully charming home with people sort of trickling out like a creek of mellow revellers.
Walking up the wildflower lined path to the house, two story stained glass windows ahead, I passed a man sipping a glass of wine with a green parrot perked on his shoulder. A nod of the head and a smile from him, I look ahead and enter the front door, wide open with bright lights and music streaming out. Left is the kitchen, long hall in front. Following my friend in, we turn into the living room, grand piano down a few steps into a crowd of smiling, laughing, wonderfully hippie chic people. In awe but trying not to show it, I sit down on the bottom step and look at this swirling magical woman across the room glass in hand smiling and laughing as she looks up and begins to sing. Stevie Nicks was the host of this sparkling lavish party.
It was surreal. Watching this woman sing, mellow and clear. In typical garb of flowing satin and lace. In her element, albeit a bit … well, I won’t even get into that.
Bringing this icon over to meet me, smile and hug later, I’m at a loss for words trying to act with a sense of belonging with a tiny bit of awe and admiration. Grabbing my wine, I take a deep breath and escape into the kitchen across the way trying to get a sense of this pinch-yourself moment. A breath of fresh air looking out her kitchen window at a lavish and whimsical garden outside, I spot at a statue of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz perched facing out. Someone laughs, Stevie leaves it turned facing the garden so it can keep an eye on the beauty. Turning myself, I see a man sitting perched on a stool with a smile as I realize I know him. Mick Fleetwood.
After a glorious exit down that winding path I pause by a friend of hers who is giving iris fortune readings. I sat with this wonderfully quirky woman as she looked me in the eyes and foretold my future, and have no idea what she told me, except for the fact that I’m sure she could see what I was feeling. Joy and awe and a feeling of full-circle.
Happy Birthday Christine. And 19 years later, thank you Stevie. For sharing an evening that I will cherish forever in my Gypsy heart.
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