When Fleetwood Mac started in 1967, they were a British Blues band that ended the decade outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. After numerous line up changes and relocating to the USA, the band released ‘Rumours’, one of the greatest and biggest selling albums of all time. With an album, how do you follow it up. Lindsey Buckingham, the man who pretty much kept the sessions for Rumours going even with a mountain of cocaine and the collapse of the inter band relationships trying to get in the way, through that ‘Tusk’ should be competing with the New Wave acts dominating the charts at the time. ‘Tusk’ sold well, but nowhere near a much as ‘Rumours’.
Then there was ‘Mirage’, the forgotten album from the classic Buckingham/Nicks era of the band. This album did something ‘Tusk’ and ‘Tango In the Night’ did not, which was to make Number 1 in the USA but in terms of singles, none really cut it in either the US or UK charts. Well, ‘Hold Me’ made the top 5 in the US but that was about it. Listening to the ‘Mirage’ album though, it could be argued that the band members who wrote the songs were not producing their best work for the band at this time. Stevie Nicks has realised ‘Bella Donna’, her first solo, which had reached Number 1 on the US Billboard chart and was very successful in other territories as well.
Lindsey Buckingham had also release this first solo album in the shape of ‘Law & Order’ which was not in any way shape or form as successful as Stevie Nicks. Mirage came out a year later and then there was five year gap before the next Mac album, ‘Tango In The Night’. In-between ‘Mirage’ in 1982 and ‘Tango In The Night’ in 1987, each of the band songs writer released a solo album. In fact, ‘Tango In the Night’ started life as a Lindsay Buckingham solo album until he was convinced otherwise, but what would have happened if the band had decided to have release another record in 1985 instead of the solo albums. Well, here is an attempt at answering that question.
- Go Insane – Go Insane
- Who’s Dreaming The Dream – Christine McVie
- Gate & Garden – The Wild Heart
- I’m the One – Christine McVie
- Stand Back – Stevie Nicks
- Slow Dancing – Go Insane
- Loving Cup – Go Insane
- Nothing Ever Changes – The Wild Heart
- The Smile I Live For – Christine McVie
- Bang The Drum – Go Insane
- Beauty & The Beast – The Wild Heart
- Enchanted – The Wild Heart
- Nightbird – The Wild Heart
- Ask Anybody – Christine McVie
- D.W. Suite – Go Insane
I thought that being democratic with each of the three song writers receiving four songs each, taking the total songs on the record to 12. However, unless we did what Dire Straits did at the time which was was to do some editing here and there so that the album would have a different run time on vinyl and CD, then this was not going to happen. The songs are quite long apart from Stevie Nicks, who only seems that have one way of writing songs. Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham produced records that did not sound as though they would fit on the Mac album. Anyway, I digress. McVie would only have three songs on this record with Buckingham and Nicks having four each.
I may have been critical of Stevie Nicks, but when putting this album together, her songs were the most commercial and are arguably the best ones on this record. Her album, ‘The Wild Heart’ is pretty good and she had so much material knocking about that she was able to release another album in 1985, which was called ‘Rock A Little’. As albums go, I feel that this would have been a stronger collection than ‘Mirage’, but still not up there with the best albums this line up produced.
This record was geared to a the length of a vinyl LP, so there were a number of good songs left over. I felt that it would have been a shame to lose them so in this time line, these would have been used a B-Sides. The Stevie Nicks songs, like those used on the main album are the strongest here. If this had been, I am sure that Nicks would have been rather annoyed that she had produced so many quality songs that were not allowed to be on the parent album. I can hear her arguing with Buckingham about the inclusion of Nightbird, which is a good song. However, I can hear Buckingham saying ‘We cannot have Nightbird on the album as it sounds too much Gypsy form the last album’, which would no doubt get Nick’s back up.
By this point in music history, Mac were releasing 12” singles so there was room for some of the longer more experimental songs on the B-Sides. Whatever the A-Sides would have been, there are four B-Sides for you to enjoy. In reality, there is no way on God’s Earth that this album would have been released. It is amazing that they actually managed to get their act together to release ‘Tango In The Night’. That album came out in 1987 and in thirty four years since then, they had produced three albums of new major. To put that into context, before that, they had released fourteen albums. The band essentially finished in 1982 and ‘Tango’ aside, they have become like the Beach Boys. Releasing the odd album here and there but essentially going out on the road to perform old hit for ever increasing ticket prices. Fleetwood Mac are one of the greatest bands of all time but they have never been the same since.
The front cover is adapted from the promo CD release of the Stevie Nicks box set compilation, Enchanted. They band name is at the base of the quill to have the effect that the person has just written it. There are no band pictures from 1984 so I went with this image instead. Fits quite nicely I think.