There is a reason why the album struck such a chord with the baby-boomer generation.
Warner Bros. Records Inc.
MOR, AOR, dinner party-friendly, expertly produced and beloved by millions, international super-seller Rumours was seemingly a feature of every home in the late 1970s. It is also an album that evokes, even today, strong emotions from those who see it as everything that was wrong about The Music Business in the 70s; it is MOR, AOR, it is dinner party-friendly, etc.
It topped the US charts for 31 weeks.
Recorded in 1976, largely in Los Angeles, by four-piece Fleetwood Mac, which had up until that point, enjoyed mixed success with their blue-grass, hippy unchic folk rock, Rumours is essentially a mediation on particular kind of sound. Very much a product of the thoughts and emotions of the two women in the band, Stevie Nicks (of the distinctive vocals) and Christine McVie (of the whacked-out lyrics) Rumours reflects a syrupy, dreamy easy listening worldview. It also reflects the urgent and highly charged collapse of the two relationships that had been the heart of the band at the point of the album’s recording (John and Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, as well as what Mick and Jenny Fleetwood were going through at the time).
The 11 songs on Rumours chart these tensions, the deceits and the disappointments that are part of many grown-up marriages, regardless of the pretty-pretty guitars and the comforting keyboards which envelope every song on the album. It is all here; rejection, hurt, anger, envy, bitterness, and what’s great is that you can sing along to all of it.
It’s like Abba, but even smoother on the ear.
Rumours is also one of the favourite albums of the Clintons.
Middle of the road ephemeral rocker Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow was even chosen as the theme song for the Bill Clinton 92 campaign, probably due to its upbeat and incessant "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, don't stop, it'll soon be here," refrain rather than for its more prescient "I know you don't believe that it's true, I never meant any harm to you."
But don’t let that put you off, because there is a reason why the album struck such a chord with the baby-boomer generation. Sure, it's a little cloying and it does also contain that slightly odd guitar riff that they used on motor racing television programmes in the 1970s, but it is also a lyrically authentic album. It is the sound of love turning sour and responsibility taking its place.
It's the sound of affection and disappointment, of love and separation.
It is also what being grown-up feels and sounds like.