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Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night
Part 2 of Heavy Metal Women
This post is not a deep dive into Fleetwood Mac. The TL:DR of the band is that they have been active since the late 1960s, have sold in excess of 120 million albums, and are regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock groups of all time.
This substack was initially created for me to write about my love for Rock and Heavy Metal, and that love basically started in the summer of 1987. That summer I discovered Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Def Leppard and a host of others. In the last post I wrote about how the band Heart made me realise that women could be hard rockers too. I also wrote in that post that I was eleven years old that summer. Correction: I was actually nine years old and madly in love with the Wilson sisters from Heart. I’m glad this happened, because when I later discovered bands like L7 and Hole it felt natural. I never saw those bands as girl bands, or somehow novelty acts. Some hard rock and metal fans today seem to have a hard time with this.
Anyway, in the summer of 1987 Heart released the album ‘Bad Animals’ and it was a monstrously successful rock album. At around the same time Fleetwood Mac released an album called ‘Tango in the Night’. It was the fourteenth studio album by the band and it has gone on to become one of the best selling rock albums of all time. To put some perspective on this, it is only Fleetwood Mac’s second highest selling album (with 1977’s ‘Rumours’ outselling it at a rate of almost 3-1).
‘Tango in the Night’ had several really successful singles and the first one I recall as a precocious nine year old was ‘Little Lies’. As a new fan of Heart I immediately noticed that there were two Female vocalists here and the song was catchy as hell. The lyrical content went right over my innocent little head. But I think I was perhaps old enough to get the idea that you’re often better off not hearing the truth about things. At any rate, I realised it was a deeper song than ‘Alone’ by Heart.
The next single I recall hearing probably doesn’t need any introduction. It has become as much a part of popular music as some of Michael Jackson’s and Madonna’s biggest hits. It’s instantly recognisable intro and refrain, is as well known as the piano slide at the beginning of Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’, or the riff at the beginning of ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC.
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks were the two female vocalists in Fleetwood Mac. The band initially did not feature any women, and have gone through lots of lineup changes over the years. In addition to her multiple stints in Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks has a stellar solo career and her raw vocals are very much Rock N’Roll. Christine McVie had an ethereal quality to her vocals, and her lyrics were very pop. ‘Everywhere’ is a really simple tune about being in love. Lindsay Buckingham (usually guitar), added a sprinkling of magic with synth effects, and the famous tinkling intro is apparently guitar recorded extremely slowly and then sped up. This really simple cocktail results in one of the greatest pop-rock tunes of all time.
The video is a representation of the highly alliterative poem ‘The Highwayman’ from 1906. It was directed by Alex Proyas, who would go on to direct ‘The Crow’, ‘Dark City’, and ‘Gods of Egypt’.
You might think, Fleetwood Mac are great and all, but they’re not exactly Metal, right? They’re not metal, that’s for sure - but they are Rock. And later in this series of posts you’ll see examples of heavier bands that adopted having two vocalists. I’m not saying there is a direct line connecting Fleetwood Mac with Butcher Babies, but… oh hell. That’s exactly what I’m doing isn’t it?
In the next post in the series on Heavy Metal women, things get HEAVY!