Monday, December 12, 2022

Christine McVie Tribute

 I love Christine McVie.

Most people only know of Christine McVie from the most famous years of Fleetwood Mac with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham starting in 1975 and through the 80's. 

Before the mega-rock-star years, Christine Perfect had burst onto the music scene in 1967 joining the British Blues band, Chicken Shack. As fortune would have it, another British Blues band called Fleetwood Mac often played the same gigs as Chicken Shack. In time, Perfect started playing with Fleetwood Mac as a contract session player in 1968. 

That all changed in 1970 when Christine married bass player John McVie and joined Fleetwood Mac full-time that same year. 

As a side note- The founder of Fleetwood Mac was guitarist Peter Green. Green named the band Fleetwood Mac after drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass player John McVie by simply combining their two names together. In the annals of rock and roll history, I find this to be one of the most generous offerings ever by a leader of a rock 'n' roll band. Sadly, Peter Green would leave Fleetwood Mac in 1970 with a steady decline in his mental health.

I became a fan of Fleetwood Mac in 1971 with the arrival of their 5th album, Future Games. The album includes several songs written by Christine, but the one that kind of got me attracted to her as a singer-songwriter is Show Me A Smile. The song's indicative of what would become McVie's writing style of tight pop classics always surrounded by the wonderful guitar playing of Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch, and later of course with Lindsey Buckingham.

In 1972, Fleetwood Mac released, Bare Trees one of my all-time favorite albums, the cover is even exquisite. Christine would contribute Homeward Bound, basically her dislike of touring, and the song that send me over the moon with my love for this woman, Spare Me A Little Of Your Love. Such a wonderful song that I never get tired of listening to, a complete gem by the band. Christine's voice is so understated and evenly beautiful and I became a big fan of her and the band. To have this woman in your band would be like having Lou Gehrig in your baseball lineup. Christine McVie simply took a 60's British Blues band to another level, a more popular level. 

The enduring thing I want to say about Christine McVie is her great ability to be a team player. In 1975, how many lead women would openly accept another beautiful woman and the dynamo of Stevie Nicks in their band? I would say, not many. Christine's openness to accept Stevie and let her fly in Fleetwood Mac is just another reason to love Christine McVie. 

Christine McVie stayed with Fleetwood Mac through thick and thin from 1968-1998. She then took a 15 year retirement and came back rested and strong in 2013 for even more band drama. Now that's rock 'n' roll stamina and a testament to my unwavering admiration for the greatest generation of musicians born in the 1940's.

In August of 1975, I saw Fleetwood Mac for the first time with my girlfriend, Mary Kit Smith and what would be a lifelong friendship with dorm mate, Mark Hunter.  It was their first tour of the NEW Fleetwood Mac with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Mick Fleetwood needed a new guitarist and wanted Buckingham alone. Lindsey insisted that his girlfriend Stevie join the band or he wouldn't. Fleetwood Mac played at the old Balboa Stadium in San Diego. They played songs from their newly released, self-titled album, Fleetwood Mac (almost like telling the public it was their first album). That album would be the soundtrack of my 1975-76 dorm year at San Diego State. At Balboa Stadium, on a clear summer day, Christine McVie and her band were making history and I will never forget seeing her singing at her station at the electric keyboard.

Mary Kit and I saw Fleetwood Mac several more times over the years and on December 8, 2018 we saw them for the last time with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn in the band. That was a great show with the band still rolling after all the their changes. I end the playlist with a fan's video in Pittsburgh on that same tour with Chris and Stevie closing the show with a duet of a Christine McVie song, All Over Again.

The playlist is mostly a chronological order starting with Christine in Chicken Shack, her first solo album in 1970, and then through her songs in Fleetwood Mac. In the end, I added a few solo album hits, and her wonderful 2017 duo album with Lindsey Buckingham including, and not to ever forget, the rock solid percussion section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie always driving the band. 

Enjoy this selection of this truly gifted woman's songs to the world, as I'm sure, you love her too.
Rest in peace Chris.

1 comment:

  1. I first saw Fleetwood Mac in 75 as well. I was attending Fresno State at the time.Gary Wright opened for them. Fleetwood Mac was on top of their game. I learned more about Christine McVie this morning from reading your blog. As usual. Thank you for sharing these tid-bits. I look forward to delving into the playlist.


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