Christine McVie: 6 Fleetwood Mac tracks written by late singer-songwriter
Christine McVie, a long-time member of Fleetwood Mac, has died at age 79.
According to a statement from her family, released on Wednesday (30 November), she died of a short illness in hospital.
They added: “We would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally.”
Fans and fellow musicians, including McVie’s bandmate Stevie Nicks, have paid tribute.
After joining Fleetwood Mac in 1970, McVie went on to write some of the band’s most recognisable and commercially successful songs.
Here are six essential Christine McVie-penned tracks to listen to in tribute.
Come a Little Bit Closer (1974)
Album: Heroes Are Hard to Find
Featured on the group’s ninth studio album, Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974), is McVie’s “Come a Little Bit Closer”.
There’s little information regarding the actual song, but the album itself marked the first one the British-American band recorded in the states.
It was also former bandmate Bob Welch’s final record with Fleetwood Mac, before his departure at the end of 1974. He was replaced by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.
Over My Head (1975)
Album: Fleetwood Mac
Quenching the band’s six-year dry spell on the American music charts, “Over My Head” was their first single to land on the Billboards Hot 100, since their 1969 “Oh Well”.
Taking inspiration from her working relationship with bandmate Lindsay Buckingham, who McVie described once in an interview as “that kind of guy, he could be cold as ice, and then he could be great”, she “took that feeling I was feeling, and turned it into a song”.
It went on to be chosen as the group’s lead single from their 1975 LP Fleetwood Mac, a decision made by US label Reprise Records that surprised the band who originally believed the song was the “least likely track on Fleetwood Mac to be released as a single”.
You Make Loving Fun (1977)
Inspired by McVie’s affair with the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant, “You Make Loving Fun” was the fourth and final single on the band’s most popular album, Rumours (1977).
At the time, in an attempt “to avoid flare-ups”, she told her then-husband and fellow bandmate John McVie that the song was about her dog.
“You Make Loving Fun” became a Fleetwood Mac concert staple. They played it during every tour McVie was a part of from 1976 to 1997.
It was laid to rest a year before McVie’s retirement and departure from the band, but later revived for a brief period when she rejoined for their 2014 to 2015 tour.
McVie wrote four songs completely alone on Fleetwood Mac’s biggest album, Rumours. One of these was the haunting and sentimental ballad “Songbird”, which came to her late one evening after a recording session with the band in March 1976.
She wrote the song in 30 minutes, and stayed up all night to ensure she didn’t forget the chord structure and melody before she had someone around to help her record it.
Although it took several tries to get it right, “Songbird” as we know it was recorded live, in one take, at the suggestion of music producer Ken Caillat.
She sings and plays the piano on the track, joined by Lindsay Buckingham on acoustic guitar.
Earlier this year, McVie released a new version of the song, using the original vocal track with a new string arrangement. It is currently nominated for a Grammy Award in the 2023 ceremony in the Best Arrangements, Instruments and Vocals category.
Little Lies (1987)
Album: Tango in the Night
McVie’s marriage to keyboardist and songwriter Eddy Quintela resulted in the creation of several songs – perhaps the most prominent being the 1987 hit, “Little Lies”. She provides the main vocals on the record, assisted by backing vocals from Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.
The song reached number five on the UK charts and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in November 1987. “Little Lies” remains Fleetwood Mac’s most recent top 10 hit in the US.
The song has been heralded as a signature sound of the late 1980s.
Album: Tango in the Night
“Everywhere” was recorded between 1985 and 1986, and was written completely by McVie.
In a 2019 BBC Four documentary, Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird – Christine McVie, McVie talked about the song’s sparkly, unmistakable intro: “[Buckingham] slowed the tape down, really slowly, and played the parts slowly, and then when it came to the right speed, it sounded bloody amazing.”
As one of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular songs, “Everywhere” has been performed widely by other artists including Paramore, Vampire Weekend, Niall Horan and Anne-Marie.