Fleetwood Mac: “The Chain”

March 5, 2017 • 3:15 pm

I forgot that it’s Fleetwood Mac Week, so please accept this belated live version of “The Chain” (from the concert and record The Dance, with the album celebrating its 20th anniversary). I may in fact take all the cuts from that concert, for it was superb.

The Chain” is the only song on the Rumours album (where it first appeared in 1976—41 years ago!) whose writing was credited to everyone in the band. Some background from Wikipedia:

According to interviews on the writing of Rumours, the final section of “The Chain”—beginning with a bass progression—was created by John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Stevie Nicks had written the lyrics separately and thought they would be a good match; she and Christine McVie did some reworking to create the first section of the tune. Other elements were worked in from an early project of Christine’s called “Keep Me There”. The blues-style piano motif was removed, and the remainder combined with a bridge from yet another piece manually using a razor blade to cut and splice the tapes. To complete the song, Buckingham recycled the intro from an earlier song from a duet with Nicks, “Lola (My Love)”, originally released on their self-titled 1973 album.

Due to the spliced nature of the record (the drums and guitar were the only instruments actually recorded in each other’s company) and its sporadic composition and assembly from different rejected songs, “The Chain” is one of only a few Fleetwood Mac songs whose authorship is credited to all members of the band at the time. The finished song itself has a basic rock structure, although it has two distinct portions: the main verse and chorus, and the outro. The song shows influences of hard rock, folk, and country, using a dobro to play the guitar riff.

The version from Rumours is here.

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18 thoughts on “Fleetwood Mac: “The Chain”

    1. Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack with Christine Perfect [McVie]!

      I was surprised to discover just now that Christine is 73 years old – how time flies

  1. I haven’t been able to listen to Fleetwood Mac the same since being subjected to the sight of Bill & Hillary and Tipper & Al dancing to “Don’t Stop” at the ’92 Democratic Convention — now that was a racist affront to rhythmically endowed white folk everywhere.

  2. Saw them in Chicago, February ’15. I was most impressed that Christine McVie can still sing Songbird.

  3. Fleetwood Mac started my life to everything that was and is GREAT! They are the BEST! Always have been and will go down in history! God made this group! And blessed the world with their music! I love them with everything I am! Times change,people change,but Fleetwood Mac remains the same! The greatest band of all time!

  4. For the curious, the huge commercial success of Rumours let Fleetwood Mac spend more money on their next album than had ever been spent on a record up to that point: over one million dollars (raises pinkie archly). Lindsay Buckingham was determined to make it sound different, and his success in that regard led to relative failure in profits (it still sold 4 million copies, Romours had sold ten million) and was a factor in yet another breakup for the band. The title track required a sports stadium and a university marching band:
    https://youtu.be/InjF8xj93LU
    It might be derided, but I’d be proud of having made it if I were a musician.

    1. Definitely my favorite FM album (Tusk). When it first came out, I was the height of my fandom — and the first single release (title track) really threw me off.

      But the album is still my favorite.

  5. Interresting, I used to listen to them before going to work as a young man, now, 40 years later I see this, great.

  6. I understand the feelings for the Peter Green era — he was (is?) a great blues guitarist. But the band was a completely different band then: A blues band, straight up.

    Mick and McVie were casting about for a new guitarist (after Bob Welch left, ~1973) and heard some cuts from the Buckingham Nicks album at a studio. They hired Buckingham and Nicks, turned pop, and never looked back (well they were fairly pop with Welch as well).

    The band had a few major lives (As I see it):
    1. Peter Green era
    2. Kirwan-Spencer after Green left
    3. Bob Welch era
    4. The Buckingham-Nicks era
    5. Post Buckingham Nicks
    6. Reunion

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