(RSD Special) Fleetwood Mac – The Alternative Rumours

For this years first Record Store fantasy release, I thought I would take a look at one of the most successful albums ever released. That album is ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac which celebrated its 45th Anniversary in February of this year. The figures connected to this album are truly astounding. 40 million units sold which has earned it a Diamond certification in several countries, number one in numerous countries on its initial release, over 800 weeks on the UK album chart, winner of the 1978 Grammy for album of the year and it was the biggest selling vinyl album in the UK in 2020. Not bad for an album that details the break up of the relationships between four of the band members, three of whom wrote the songs.

Plenty of words and hours of films have been dedicated to the making of this album and the stories behind the songs. I am going to take a slightly different slant on this and using the 2013 Deluxe Edition of the album, I wondered what this album could have sounded like it if those involved had chosen different songs or takes. Before I go any further, I thought it would be good to stick as closely to the original album as I could. That meant having eleven tracks, five on Side A and six on Side B. I would also look to have an outtake as a single B-Side, much in the way the ‘Silver Springs’ was used. I would also look to have a minimum of three songs each for the three principle song writers. 

So what do we have. 

Second Hand News (Buckingham) – It was the opening track on the oregional album and it retains its place here. This is an early take of the songs but the structure is already in place. 

Keep Me There (McVie) – An outtake that did see the end section and some of the song structure recycled for the group composition, ‘The Chain’. Pretty much the finished article and if this had been released, it would most probably have had some additional production before seeing the light of day.  

The Chain (Nicks) – Not the more famous version released on the original ‘Rumours’, but the original Stevie Nicks demo. Nicks felt that some lyrics from this song fitted quite nicely over the bass section of ‘Keep Me There’. This would lead to the version of ‘The Chain’ that we know today, but here is the original version that could have been fleshed out if Nicks (and the rest of the band) hadn’t produced a completely co-operative song instead. 

Songbird (McVie) – A different version of this song, where the acoustic guitar is a lot higher in the mix all the way through

Silver Springs (Nicks) – Described by album co-producer Richard Dashut as the best song never to make it to a record album, this was regionally released as the B-Side to ‘Go Your Own Way’. The song was originally slated to appear on ‘Rumours’ but was dropped as it was as it didn’t fit with the sound of the record and for timing reasons. It is a nice way to finish Side-A though.  

You Make Loving Fun (McVie) – A different version of this song. The production is a lot more basic as though this was a run through before another take was attempted or embellished with additional production. 

Go Your Own Way (Buckingham) – An early take of this song. Missing some of the guitar overdubs and my ears might be deceiving me, but I am sure there is an absence of keyboards. 

Don’t Stop (McVie) – A different version of this song. The duet between McVie and Buckingham is here, but once again, this lacks some of the instrumentation of the version that would come out on ‘Rumours’. The guitar solo is missing completely. 

Never Going Back (Buckingham) – The original version was just Lindsey Buckingham singing and playing guitar. This version though has a lovely duet between him and Stevie Nicks. It also includes some embellishments with precision, piano and a lead guitar part. This is arguably better than the version on the original album. 

Think About It (Bittan/Nicks) – Co-written with Roy Bittan (who is most famous as being a member of the E-Street Band), even though the section he is credited with is the middle eight that was absent from this version. The song would later appear on Nicks’ debut album ‘Bella Donna.

Oh Daddy (McVie) – Either written about Mac drummer, Mick Fleetwood (who pretty much managed the band as well as being the person who kept it all together during the wilderness years before the era of Buckingham/Nicks) or Mac’s Lighting Director, who McVie was seeing at the time. This is a different version of the song. 

Planets Of The Universe (Nicks) – Just to show that Stevie Nicks never seems to waste a song idea, this would be re-recorded for her 2001 album ‘Trouble In Shangri-La’. 

Nicks certainly brought a lot of material to the table with this album that would not be ultimately used. There was two songs that would be re-recorded later and one that had elements sacrificed for ‘The Chain’. McVie also had one song that was sacrificed for ‘The Chain’ but other than that, all the songs here were released on ‘Rumours’. I was most surprised by Buckingham, because the outtakes of ‘Rumours’ show is that he did not bring a lot to the album. Even his contribution to the chain was borrowed from the introduction of ‘Lola (My Love), a song on the ‘Buckingham Nicks’ album from 1973. Only a snippet of a song called ‘Nothing Ever Lasts’ was included with the other outtakes. Whatever the reason, this album is still pretty solid and what could have been if certain decision (the production of ‘The Chain’) and other songs had not been available.   

Side A

  1. Second Hand News (Early Take)
  2. Keep Me There (Vocal Version)
  3. The Chain (Demo)
  4. Songbird (Session)
  5. Silver Springs (Outtake)

Side B

  1. You Make Loving Fun (Session)
  2. Go Your Own Way (Early Take)
  3. Don’t Stop (Session)
  4. Never Going Back Again (Acoustic Duet)
  5. Think About It (Outtake)
  6. Oh Daddy (Session)

B-Side

Planets Of The Universe (Demo)

Cover comes from https://www.monkeon.co.uk/albumcoveralsorans/

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