By Christopher Ryan
I’m not what would be recognized as a Fleetwood Mac fanatic, hardcore fan, or, um, even official fan. I’m just a music fan who spent my teen years in the 70’s and 80’s.
And that means Christine McVie’s passing yesterday hit me hard. Because Ms.McVie, like the rest of the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup, have been woven into the lives of an entire generation of music lovers, whether they made our top ten of not.
So much has changed in the world. These days, people stream whatever music they want into ear pods for a highly personal experience. When we were immersing ourselves in culture, it was communal. From plastic Panasonic radios when we were really young to “portable cassette/radios” that looked like small luggage, or even bulkier eight-track players, all of it played through speakers to whomever was in earshot.
That meant when we were just old enough to hang around near the older “cool” people, we heard whatever they were playing. CSNY. Elton John. Zeppelin. Dylan. And then the world changed because Fleetwood Mac Rumors came out.
It was everywhere. Everywhere. Playing throughout the playground, behind the ball field, near the beer, over where those two were making out, and definitely wherever more than three girls were in existence. It was as if those sounds floated around them.
And that album had staying power. We heard it every day, all summer, while we were doing homework that fall, in between holiday songs.
And we still hear those gems today. It is highly likely that a song from Fleetwood Mac Rumors is playing on multiple radio stations across this country, and the world, right now, approximately 45 years later.
Fleetwood Mac added to their presence with hit albums for years, and while many, especially pubescent boys, focused on the increasingly ethereal and alluring Stevie Nicks, as we got older, most of us realized two things: 1) Christine McVie wrote more hits, and 2) her songs resonated more deeply as we matured, ventured into relationships, and, if we got lucky, fell in love. While Nicks remained a mystical star attraction, McVie’s work came home with us, walked in our shoes, hung out, and was there when we least expected and most needed it. For decades.
Christine McVie’s passing is not only the end of the Fleetwood Mac Era, it signals the removal of an elegant part of our generation’s cultural foundation. Like Bowie and Prince and Tom Petty, among others, her loss takes with it a piece of our reliable reality. Our world has grown smaller.
Thank all the spirits who guide us that her, and their, music remains. Take solace in the simple grace of her compositions, the uncomplicated lyrics, the wondrously relaxed and relaxing tones in her singing.
And thank her for being so present in our lives without ever causing a fuss.