Photo via Sonic Editions
In 1977, Fleetwood Mac released their album Rumours. Ever since then, it has been — and still is — lauded by listeners worldwide for its sometimes unearthly and metaphorical, sometimes down-to-earth tracks that seem to be at once magical and gritty. More recently, though, the band made the demos and outtakes from Rumours available to the public, and it’s in listening to these recordings that an appreciation for these works can truly be felt.
It’s often easy to assume that talented artists of any kind come up with their masterpieces and biggest hits effortlessly, but here, it’s proven in the best way that this isn’t true. The original recordings of some tracks off of Rumours, while still beautiful, are so unlike their final versions that it’s almost hard to tell they’re the same song- a much-needed reminder that the search for excellence doesn’t end with the first satisfactory result.
I particularly love the demo of “The Chain”, where Stevie Nicks records alone with only an acoustic guitar to accompany in the background; it’s evocative and lonesome and not at all like the final cut. With time, the band modified its lyrics using interwoven discarded lines from other projects and then performed them together, ultimately making it the only song on Rumours that every one of the five members had a hand in creating. From quiet start to electrifying finish, both versions are great, but what I find most admirable is the collaborative effort to make something already amazing even better. Rock on, Fleetwood Mac.