My parents introduced me to Fleetwood Mac at a very young age. Their 1997 live album, “The Dance,” was regularly played in my mom’s car on long roadtrips, and I immediately became enamored with the five-piece band. I thought it was so cool that the group had three lead singers, each with their own style and unique sound.
Lindsey Buckingham’s songs are guitar heavy, fast and always full of energy. Stevie Nicks was mysterious and etherial, just like her songs. She also played the role of front woman, and played it well. Then there was Christine McVie, the keyboardist with a soaring voice singing some of the most melodic songs ever written in rock music.
From hearing the chorus of “Everywhere” from the group’s album “Tango In The Night,” I became an instant fan of McVie, and my adoration only grew and I got older and learned more about Fleetwood Mac’s long history.
Discovering her songs like “Over My Head,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Say You Love Me” and the forever iconic “Songbird” only cemented my love for McVie. While Buckingham and Nicks’ songs are often dramatic and layered, McVie’s songs were simple little love songs that sounded timeless.
Fleetwood Mac is known for pioneering California rock music, and McVie undoubtedly helped shape that sound. Her songs are built around British blues music, but it’s her melodic keyboard chords and bright voice turn it into steady, soft rock that Fleetwood Mac was known for.
Just look at “You Make Loving Fun” from the band’s iconic album “Rumours” for further proof. The rhythm section is tight and funky, but it’s McVie’s keyboards that push the song along. The other songs from the group are raw and edgy, but McVie added soul to the band, something that is hard to capture.
The harmonies she added to her bandmate’s songs was equally impressive. She and Nicks’ voices together was magic, and then add in Buckingham to fill out the lower notes and it’s lightening in a bottle. The three of them were meant to sing together.
Another thing that made McVie so endearing was her modesty. When you think about Fleetwood Mac, you instantly thing about the drama between Buckingham and Nicks. The duo wrote songs about each other and always sing them looking at one another. It’s one of the best things about Fleetwood Mac. McVie, on the other hand, just did her own thing.
Buckingham and Nicks certainly wrote some of the most famous Fleetwood Mac songs. Nicks’ “Dreams” was the group’s only song to go No. 1 on the charts, and Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way” is one of the greatest rock songs ever written, but that still doesn’t take away just how good McVie’s songs were. They may not have climbed the charts (although her hit “Don’t Stop” did break the top 10 on the charts), but it didn’t take away from just how good her songs were. Fleetwood Mac wouldn’t be the band they are if it wasn’t for McVie’s contributions.
It’s beyond devastating to think that a member of Fleetwood Mac is no longer here. The group has been through so many ups and downs, and until recently, were finally touring with the five members that pushed the band to stardom.
It’s hard to imagine the group without McVie in it anymore. She took a very long break from touring with the band in the early 2000s, but her presence still felt very much there. Now that she’s gone, it’s hard to think what the band will do, especially since Buckingham and Nicks are on the outs once again.
I was lucky enough to see Christine McVie perform twice with Fleetwood Mac, and another time with just her and Buckingham, and I will treasure those memories forever. Regardless of whatever happens, I’m thankful that we still have her music. She truly was the songbird of one of the greatest rock bands to ever perform, and we’re all so lucky that we got to experience her talent and gifts.