Okay, tell me I’m crazy. On Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 single “Hold Me”, immediately after the third “hold” in the chorus, there’s a cough, right? I haven’t been hearing things for 35 years, right? Right?!?
I hear it every time the chorus plays. “Hold me, hold me, hold- (cough) -ME-eee.” If it’s not a cough, what the fuck is it? A sneeze? A blob of mustard from a 3M employee’s sandwich? What???
That video was directed by Steve Barron, who went on to direct 1990’s terrific Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. According to Steve, the members of Fleetwood Mac refused to get along, and the hot Mojave Desert setting only made matters worse. Like any male-female rock ensemble of the 1970s, Fleetwood Mac rampantly inter-fucked until they’d sooner barf than look at each other. They petered out before they got to incest or child rape, I’ll give ’em that. Fucking ’70s were Sodom and Gomorrah with five-alarm chili on top. Kids used to listen to The Mamas & The Papas with their parents. “Papa” John Phillips was an idol.
Nowhere does Steve Barron say anything about a cough, however. No one does. Listen to “Hold Me”; THE COUGH IS THERE. Now it’s in YOUR head, too. Was it always there? What IS it?!?
“Four of them—I can’t recall which four—couldn’t be together in the same room for very long. They didn’t want to be there. Christine McVie was about ten hours out of the makeup trailer. By which time it was getting dark.” -Steve Barron
“John McVie was drunk and tried to punch me. Stevie Nicks didn’t want to walk on the sand with her platforms. Christine McVie was fed up with all of them. Mick thought she was being a bitch, he wouldn’t talk to her.” -Simon Fields, producer
Mirage is Fleetwood Mac’s 13th studio album, where “Hold Me” was featured alongside the classic “Gypsy”. It was released four years after fucking Tusk. Fucking TUSK! Look at the cover these assholes put together for Mirage in 1982!
Our parents bought Fleetwood Mac LPs because they were popular and sounded very pretty. The cover didn’t matter, it was just the package the music came in. This was taken as a tacit admission that album covers like the one above contain legitimate artistic merit, the equal of the musical recording therein.
It’s just assholes! Outside of their ability to sing, write and play the music, WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK?!?
Too many dudes fantasized about fucking Stevie Nicks, and too many chicks fantasized about being her. Next thing you know, Christine McVie has been in the makeup trailer for ten hours. And the walking hard-on called Mick Fleetwood is pulling his randy English professor routine on every vagina within a forty-mile radius. The visual side of music is great, isn’t it? It never, ever goes to a band’s head, and jacks their egos around. It never plays to an artist’s worst instincts. Nahhh.
Tusk was a mess because Lindsey Buckingham was jealous of Talking Heads, and wanted to take the band ahead of the approaching curve of New Wave. In other words, he forsook his own talent. The members of Fleetwood Mac only created the music that made them legends when they were miserable, petty scoundrels. By nature, they could not reconvene and create more. It was lightning in a bottle. But the money and the lifestyle were just too sweet, and so Fleetwood Mac came to second-guess themselves. So it goes.
No wonder these musicians hated each other. The women knew their passion was spent, and the men knew they could do nothing to reignite that passion. Not as artists, or even as men. Stevie Nicks ran out the fame clock on automatic, cashing in on her image with her atrocious “Leather and Lace” period. Nobody really liked that stuff. It was just what we had while we hoped Stevie Nicks would somehow become “Rhiannon” again. Somehow.
That is what these people were capable of, once. Alchemy. Magic. The power to hypnotize a mob of thousands with a single song. Have you ever met anyone who disliked “Rhiannon”? No. That person doesn’t exist in our reality. Why would they?
The voices you hear in “Hold Me” are mostly Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, as seen in the cringy video. Christine’s voice is actually superior to Stevie’s, but Nicks gets all the press. Ego and image always get in the way. Audiences are very adamant about which songstresses they dream of fucking, and which ones they don’t. If you give the public the opportunity to capriciously judge you by your looks, they will. As sure as shit will stink.
If you don’t want to fall in love with Christine McVie, then I suggest you skip the following song. Try not to dwell on the fact that once upon a time, a woman could sing like this.
That’s disco-funk infused, and it’s perfect (Perfect, by the way, is Christine’s maiden name). On the same album, Stevie Nicks was in full siren-mode. Mythical siren, I mean; the kind that seduces men to their doom, smashed to pieces against the reef.
The best Fleetwood Mac music is like being fought over by two beautiful women. Of course they were all fucking each other.
They were also fools for thinking music like that would keep coming. Most of us would be lucky to create just one of those tunes. What hubris it must have taken, to continue as long as they did. This band was worshiped. More so even than the Eagles, or Steely Dan, or Linda Ronstadt. They captured sexual turmoil so lyrically, the world beat a path to their bedroom door, looking for answers. All their trifles and fooling around have salved billions of broken hearts by now.
Maybe they were just a bunch of assholes, but they were the right kind of assholes.