Video of the Week: How Fleetwood Mac Wrote “The Chain”

Video of the Week: How Fleetwood Mac Makes A Song

Ten Artists Sounding Uncannily Similar to Other Artists

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Welcome to our little homage to musical homage. The following ten artists, whether by willful attempt or sheer happenstance, managed to pull off amazingly credible imitations of more notable musical acts. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We’ll let you decide:

Dave Kerzner: “Stranded”

This Dark Side-era Pink Floyd sound-alike couldn’t possibly have happened by accident. Kerzner’s 2014 New World album, though it literally and figuratively shows its influences on its sleeve, is actually an outstanding progressive rock record in its own right. But “Stranded”, more than any song I’ve ever heard, shows an artist who’s assimilated the Floydian musical vocabulary.

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Lissie: “Further Away (Romance Police)”

Late-70’s Fleetwood Mac is revisited by singer-songwriter Lissie, complete with the Lindsey Buckingham guitar and Stevie Nicks vocals.

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Ali Thomson: “Take a Little Rhythm”

You may remember this #15 hit from 1980. If so, you almost surely thought it was Paul McCartney because it perfectly mimicked the sound of his late-70’s hits, not to mention the Tom Scott sax solo of “Listen to What the Man Said” and the prominence of the bass guitar in the mix. And also because who the hell is Ali Thomson?

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Jeremy Fisher: “Scar That Never Heals”

With all the stories floating around about Paul Simon cribbing musically from other artists it’s good to see another singer so “inspired” by Paul. Or so it sounds to me.

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Kingdom Come: “Get it On”

This one’s just brazen. From John Bonham’s thunderous drum sound to Robert’s Plant’s wail to a riff that, to say the very least, “evokes” Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”…come on, guys. I mean, that sound is taken. Get your own.

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Tyler Ramsey: “Stay Gone”

Neil Young is channeled on this one, though it’s not clear if Tyler Ramsey consciously does so. I hear echoes here of some of young Neil’s early 70’s tunes such as “Winterlong”.

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neil

Band of Horses: “Long Vows”

Again with the Neil Young! Band of horses sound like they got hold of a Zuma outtake here. In a good way.

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UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Simon and Garfunkel Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Kings of Convenience: “Homesick”

The Norwegian duo known as Kings of Convenience capture the close harmonies and intimate spare sound of “Scarborough Fair”-period Simon & Garfunkel on this one. Or as their own words in this very song describe it “two soft voices, blended in perfection”.

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Accept: “Balls to the Wall”

It seems in the world of 80’s metal you could scrape out a bit of a career merely by imitating an iconic act. Since their red hot career has presumably cooled off by now (unless like Spinal Tap they’re enjoying a revival in Japan) I wonder if it’s occurred to no-hit wonder Accept–and to the previously mentioned Kingdom Come for that matter–that there’s always a living to be made as a tribute band? Who could better fill the AC/DC void now that Brian Johnson has called it quits?

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Tin Tin: “Toast and Marmalade for Tea”

In case you’re not conversant with late-60’s pop, or old enough to remember that the Bee Gees had quite a successful career before anyone had ever heard of disco, Aussie duo Tin Tin was pretty much exactly what the Gibb brothers sounded like from about 1968 to ’72. It’s not a shock that Maurice Gibb produced the quaint “Toast and Marmalade for Tea”, Tin Tin’s only U.S. top 40 hit and a long-forgotten chestnut. It carries the stately sound of contemporaneous Bee Gees hits such as “Lonely Days” and “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”.

Elements of Great Songwriting: Fleetwood Mac and the Art of the Lyrical Coda

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The great rock artists usually have a distinguishing characteristic that sets them apart. Think Freddie Mercury’s semi-supernatural voice or Eddie Van Halen’s scale-shredding guitar, Elton’s piano or McGuinn’s Rickenbacker.

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Fleetwood Mac were always a more democratic operation in that no single member’s talents dominated their recorded performance; they seemed more concerned with playing, harmonizing and producing great music as a unit. With no less than three capable hit-producing writers–and as many lead vocalists able to put those hit songs across–they relied on no single member’s talents as a calling card.

But there was a distinguishing characteristic to this band, though it was one subtle enough that even fans may not have given it a second thought. In their heyday the thing that often set a Fleetwood Mac song apart from other radio fodder was the presence of a lyrical coda at the end of a song.

What’s a coda? The word is Italian for “tail” and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a part of a song distinct from all the parts that precede it. It usually takes the form of a repeated phrase at the song’s conclusion that has never appeared previously within the song.

Let’s call on four guys who know a little about songwriting to demonstrate…

This is the verse:

This is the chorus:

And this, which is neither verse, chorus or bridge, but rather the song’s musical and lyrical “tail”, is the coda:

And now a few Fleetwood Mac codas, all of which were taken from the Fleetwood Mac and Rumours albums. Most or all will be familiar to you, although you may not have realized just how frequently the band employed this songwriting tact:

Rhiannon:

Blue Letter:

Say You Love Me:

Second Hand News:

Don’t Stop:

The Chain:

You Make Loving Fun:

rumours

Sadly, the coda is just one more underutilized musical technique these days (along with tact, lyrical subtlety, articulation…) Seems no one’s playing pin the tail on the song anymore.

Fleetwood Mac are the go-to source for a budding songwriter to learn by example how to add a catchy tag to the end of a hit tune.

Songs You May Have Missed #401

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Fleetwood Mac: “Peacekeeper” (2003)

A highlight of 2003 comeback album Say You Will, “Peacekeeper” possesses some of the old magic–and certainly the glorious harmonies–that made Fleetwood Mac one of the greatest bands of the 70’s.

On the downside, the absence of Christine McVie’s songwriting on the album is keenly felt. Over the course of 18 tracks, all written by either Buckingham or Nicks, a tedium sets in for the average listener. Somewhat ironic that the band who’d cut such gems as “Silver Springs” from past albums gives us too much here.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/03/13/songs-you-may-have-missed-48/

Fleetwood Mac to Launch World Tour in April

(Reprinted from Rolling Stone)

By Andy  Greene
December 3, 2012 5:10 PM ET

After months of reunion rumors, Fleetwood  Mac announced Tuesday that they’ll return to the road next spring for an  extensive tour that will take them all over the globe. The trek will kick off in  Columbus, Ohio on April 4th; tickets go on sale December 14th.

“It’s the perfect time to go back out,” Stevie Nicks tells Rolling  Stone. “2013 is going to be the year of Fleetwood Mac.”

As was the case with their 2010 tour, the band is hitting the road without a  new album to support. The set list will be built around Fleetwood Mac’s large  catalog of hits. “We always have to play ‘Dreams,’ ‘Rhiannon,’ ‘Don’t Stop,’  ‘Tusk,’ ‘Big Love,’ ‘Landslide’ and all our most famous songs,” says Lindsey  Buckingham. “When you’ve gone through all your must-do’s, that’s 75% of your  potential setlist. I think with the other 25%, there are areas of our catalog  that are more under-explored. Maybe we’ll play more songs from Tusk.  I’d also like to see an extended middle portion of the show that’s just me and  Stevie. This is just me talking from the top of my head. For now, I have no  particular vision of what this tour is going to be.”

The band begins rehearsals on February 15th, and at that point they’ll  hash out exactly what songs they’re going to play. “We actually have two new  Fleetwood Mac songs that I cut with Lindsey two weeks ago we might play,” says  Nicks. “I had a really good time working with him for four days at his  house. I got to hang out with his family and his kids, his grown up kids, and  really connect with him again. We’re pretty proud of what we have done, and  we’re looking at it through the eyes of wisdom now, instead of through the eyes  of jealousy and resentment and anger.”

Only American dates are announced, but the group is planning on touring the  whole world. “If everything goes will we’ll be in Europe doing festivals this  summer,” says Nicks. “Then we’ll actually tour Europe, which is different than  just doing festivals. Then we might do fifteen or so shows in Australia.”

Check in later this week for a detailed Q&A with Nicks and Buckingham  where they discuss the upcoming tour, their failed attempt to record a new  Fleetwood Mac album, the possibility of reforming their old duo Buckingham-Nicks  and the many tensions that linger in their long relationship.

Here are Fleetwood Mac’s 2013 tour dates:

4/4 Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena

4/6 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo  Center

4/8 New York, New York – Madison Square Garden

4/9 Washington, DC –  Verizon Center

4/11 Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center

4/13 Chicago, IL –  United Center 4/16 Toronto, ON – The Air Canada Centre

4/18 Boston, MA –  TD Garden

4/20 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena

4/23 Ottawa, ON –  Scotiabank Place 4/24 Newark, NJ – Prudential Center

4/26 Pittsburgh, PA –  CONSOL Energy Center

4/28 St. Paul, MN – Xcel Center

4/30 Kansas City, MO  – Sprint Center

5/1 Tulsa, OK – BOK Center

5/3 Little Rock, AK – Verizon  Arena

5/12 Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre

5/14 Saskatoon, SK – Credit Union  Centre

5/15 Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place

5/17 Calgary, AB – Scotiabank  Saddledome

5/19 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena

5/20 Tacoma, WA – Tacoma  Dome

5/22 San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion st San Jose

5/25 Los Angeles, CA –  Hollywood Bowl

5/26 Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Arena

5/28 Anaheim, CA –  Honda Center

5/30 Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center

6/1 Denver, CO – Pepsi  Center

6/4 Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center

6/5 Houston, TX – Toyota  Center

6/7 Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay Times Forum

6/8 Fort Lauderdale, FL –  BB&T Center

6/10 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena

6/12 Detroit, MI – Joe  Louis Arena

Bob Welch’s Missing Music: The Fleetwood Mac Years

(reprinted from Rolling Stone)

Bob Welch

by David Fricke

After ex-Fleetwood Mac singer-guitarist Bob Welch died  on June 7th, by his own hand at his home in Nashville, his boss in the early  Seventies, drummer and Mac co-founder Mick Fleetwood, paid tribute to Welch and  his time in the group. “He was a huge part of our history which sometimes gets  forgotten,” Fleetwood said  in a statement. “If you look into our musical history, you’ll see a huge  period that was completely ensconced in Bob’s work.”

Ironically, in the digital-music era, it isn’t easy to hear that  work. The five studio albums Welch made with Fleetwood Mac – Future  Games (1971), Bare Trees (1972), Penguin and Mystery  to Me (both 1973) and Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974) – are still  in print on CD but not available on Spotify or iTunes. Welch had a Top Ten solo  hit in 1977 with a remake of Bare Trees‘ “Sentimental Lady,” and he  returned to his Mac book in the last decade, cutting new versions of his songs  from that period on records such as 2006’s Greatest Hits and More. But  the “history,” as Fleetwood put it, is elusive without reason.

Out of Blues, Into Pop

Born in Los Angeles, the son of a film producer and screenwriter, Welch was  playing with a band in Paris when he was recommended by a mutual friend to what  was left of Fleetwood Mac in 1971 – Fleetwood, guitarist Danny Kirwan, bassist  John McVie and his wife, singer-pianist Christine McVie. Welch joined a group  shedding its electric-blues origins after the departures of original guitarists  Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. Future Games and Bare Trees  were dominated by Kirwan’s haunted ballads and instrumental facility, with  Christine sweetening the suspense with the R&B-flavored romanticism of her  straightforward love songs. Welch, in turn, brought an L.A. polish and smart-pop  delicacy that bloomed in his quietly epic title song for Future Games and his misty-treble  guitar interplay with Kirwan, especially on that album’s opener “Woman of a Thousand Years.”

I prefer the original “Sentimental Lady” on Bare Trees – it is warmer and  more intimate, in its arrangement and Welch’s high fragile vocal, than his later  AOR interpretation. He didn’t write anything as strong for Penguin, a  transitional mess of pop, electric R&B and further personnel changes. Kirwan – suffering from alcoholism, becoming distant and combative – was fired and  replaced with two new Britons, lead guitarist Bob Weston and ex-Savoy Brown  vocalist Dave Walker. Slimmed back to five after Walker got canned, Fleetwood  Mac quickly made Mystery to Me, well-produced but bland, with an astonishingly bad cover (a garish painting of a crying  gorilla eating a cake) and a striking exception to the general mood in Welch’s  “Hypnotized.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3SqYMgKhsk

The best song Welch ever gave the Mac, “Hypnotized” was urgent noir propelled  by a shuffling mix of guitars and McVie’s electric-piano understatement, with  Welch singing in a sleepwalking cadence like a Raymond Chandler detective musing  to himself in a late-night rain. There was one other diamond on Mystery, at the very end: Christine’s aching ballad “Why,” with its oddly affecting blend of bottleneck guitar  and cocktail-piano reverie. It was a hint of the pop-with-twists that would soon  tranform Fleetwood Mac, and its fortunes, with the arrival of Stevie Nicks and  Lindsay Buckingham.

A Heroic Legacy

Back down to a quartet after Weston’s departure, Fleetwood Mac was, briefly,  Welch’s vehicle on Heroes Are Hard to Find – he wrote all but three  songs on the record, the band’s first Top 40 album and a durable, appealing  bridge to the next era. “She’s Changing Me” was sparkling, upbeat folk-rock,  while Welch paid tribute to Peter Green’s progressive-blues vision in the  first-period Mac with the final track “Safe Harbor.” Ironically, Welch’s exit  after Heroes opened the way for Buckingham and Nicks and the long  eclipse of his own contributions to the band and its survival in its most dire  years. (There was more fallout later; Welch sued Fleetwood and the McVies in  1994 over royalties from these five albums. The suit was settled in 1996.)

But Welch, who was not included in Fleetwood Mac’s 1998 induction into the  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was a vital member of the band when that was one of  the toughest gigs in rock. His music and history with the Mac are an imperfect  legacy. But it is one that should be available everywhere – and heard.

Heroes Are Hard to Find   Bare Trees Mystery to Me  Penguin

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