Monday, August 8, 2011

The #2 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac

Inside the Rock Era has featured one album per day in The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era*.  To recap the Top 10, AC/DC was at #10 with Back in Black, Pink Floyd took us to The Dark Side of the Moon, #8 was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, position 7 was taken by Tapestry, the great album from Carole King, #6 was Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette, Led Zeppelin IV was #5, Stevie Wonder had #4 with Songs in the Key of Life, Boston by Boston was #3 and now we are just one step away.

The group at #2 didn't score a monumental achievement with the album, hell they did great just to stay together.  Two relationships (those of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and the marriage between John & Christine McVie) were both falling apart.  In the midst of all that, they managed to record the #2 album in the history of the Rock Era*.

Nicks and Buckingham had just been brought into the fold in 1975 after a flurry of personnel changes that left the group's stability in question.  When the California duo was hired, though, the band took off as the combination gave them not only two new lead singers but two excellent songwriters as well and Buckingham's guitar playing and energy gave them the spark they needed.  Nicks, of course, went on to become one of the top women in the Rock Era with her unique style and mystical lyrics and manner.

The album registered 31 weeks at #1 with another astonishing 11 weeks at #2.  Rumours remained in the Top 10 for 51 weeks and on the chart for 134 (nearly 2 1/2 years).  But if there's one thing you can leave with from this web site, it is that raw numbers mean nothing--they can be twisted however the person using them wants to twist them.  You always want to evaluate the numbers and look closer at them.  How were they achieved?  What other albums were out at the time?

At the time of its release, five gigantic albums, that are also among the best ever recorded, were out.  The Eagles had already hit #1 with Hotel California; Stevie Wonder had done the same with Songs in the Key of Life.  Three other albums--Boston's debut, Night Moves from Bob Seger and Fly Like an Eagle by Steve Miller, were in the Top 10 when Rumours was released.  You will note that the first four mentioned landed pretty high in The Top 100 Albums of the Rock Era*.

Those albums all help each other out, but to rise above those five and achieve the historic feats (both chart numbers and album sales) that Rumours did, earns Fleetwood Mac its lofty perch.  People ask me all the time what album would I place at #1 and my answer is always this one.  It has all the statistics and sales you would expect in a #1 album and I believe it also has better consistency than the #1 album that Inside the Rock Era will reveal tomorrow.

In fact, Hotel California had been #1 for three weeks when Rumours came along and toppled it on April 2, 1977.  Over the next eight weeks, those albums would change places between one and two, before Rumours finally took over for good on May 21.  Rumours would register 27 more weeks at #1 before its reign was over.  

To this day, it continues to sell extremely well and has now topped 19 million.  Rumours is now over 40 million in sales worldwide.The album boasts one of the highest Track Ratings* in the Top 100 of 9.55.  The album also reached #1 in the U.K., Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and New Zealand.

Rumours has four of the biggest hits any album would ever want to have--"Go Your Own Way", "Don't Stop", "Dreams" and "You Make Loving Fun" are all in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  As you can imagine, these four helped the album explode past some pretty great ones at the time.  The airplay that those four generated on their own is staggering.  But of course the story doesn't end there. 

Very few tracks on this album have not been played on the radio and most are still played to this day.  "Gold Dust Woman", "The Chain" and "I Don't Want to Know" are super tracks that are among The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.  The lead track on the album, "Second Hand News" and "Songbird" are also excellent.  "Never Going Back Again", at least for me, is the only one that could be called average but the rest of the tracks are so outstanding that the album is essentially a home run from start to finish.

All three major trade magazines at the time, Billboard, Record World and Cash Box, named Rumours the Album of the Year, this despite the debut from Boston being released at the time.

Fleetwood Mac also won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards and were nominated for Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Group, Best Arrangement for Voices and Best Engineered Recording.  They were nominated for Favorite Rock Album and Favorite Rock Band, Duo or Group in 1977 at the American Music Awards; they won both Favorite Rock Album and Favorite Rock Band for their work on Rumours in 1978.  The group also won a Juno Award for Best International Album.


Side one
1.  "Second Hand News" (Lindsey Buckingham) --2:43
2.  "Dreams" (Stevie Nicks) --4:14
3.  "Never Going Back Again" (Buckingham) --2:02
McVie) --3:11
5.  "Go Your Own Way" (Buckingham) --3:38
6.  "Songbird" (C. McVie) --3:20

Side two
7.  "The Chain" (Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Nicks, John McVie, C. McVie) --4:28
8.  "You Make Loving Fun" (C. McVie) --3:31
9.  "I Don't Want to Know" (Nicks) --3:11
10.  "Oh Daddy" (C. McVie) --3:54
11.  "Gold Dust Woman" (Nicks) --4:51

All the members of Fleetwood Mac provided tight vocal harmonies except leader Mick Fleetwood; all he did was provide one of the great beats for all-time.  Fleetwood played drums and percussion while Lindsey Buckingham was on guitar, John McVie played bass and Christine McVie played keyboards.

Rumours was recorded in 1976 at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, The Record Plant in Sausalito and in Los Angeles, at Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley, Wally Heider Studios in L.A. and Davien Recording Studio in North Hollywood, California.  Fleetwood Mac, Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut produced the album; Caillat and Dashut engineered it and Caillat mastered it.  Ken Perry and Charlie Watts also assisted Caillat in mastering the project.  Desmond Strobel was in charge of design for the album, Larry Vigon contributed calligraphy and Herbert Worthington was the photographer.  The album was released February 4, 1977.  

And Fleetwood Mac takes us to within one of the top album of all-time.  Rumours is at #2*.

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