Sarcastro’s Super Sounds of the Seventies

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Elvis Costello once famously dismissed the post-1975 era of Fleetwood Mac as that "…mob with Stevie Nicks." Along with other music snobs, I too have been dismissive of all the California Cocaine Cowboys and their ilk.

The other day, I got in touch with my inner-Chuck Klosterman. In Chuck’s book Killing Yourself To Live, he talks about how he and an old girlfriend would debate all the subtle nuances of Rumors. Specifically, the breakup between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. [See every article, interview, E! True Hollywood Story, A&E Biography, and VH1 Behind the Music concerning Fleetwood Mac for details.]

Chuck spins it like this:
Predictably, Q always took Stevie Nick’s side in this debate, and I always aligned myself with control freak Lindsey. "The fact that Lindsey Buckingham even wrote a song like this [Go Your Own Way] proves he’s a jackass," Q would say. "What kind of asshole forces his ex-girlfriend to sing backing vocals on a song that accuses her of being a slut?" In retrospect, this does seem egocentrically vindictive. Still, I think Stevie Nicks totally had it coming, especially in light of the fact that she later shacked up with Don Henley.

I’ve always wondered how those sessions went in the studio.

INTERIOR RECORDING STUDIO

Lindsey walks in to find Stevie and Mick laid out on a sofa. A large pile of cocaine is visible on the coffee table. Musical intruments are haphazardly strewn about. The studio is in a state of disarray.

LINDSEY

        I have some new songs for us to record.

STEVIE (groggily)

        Hold on, let me do a bump first.

MICK

        Let me get in on that.

LINDSEY

        Save some for later. At this rate we are never going to get done. Where’s Christine and John?

Mick and Stevie plow head first into the pile of coke.

MICK (sniffs, rubs nose)

        Ugggh! That’s good. They, uh, are in court or something.

STEVIE

Pulls out small compact mirror, looks at nostrils.
        I think I can see my brain.

LINDSEY

        I’m sure you can. Anyway, I need you to sing backup on these songs.

STEVIE

        Tell me about them. 

LINDSEY

        Uh, this one is called What A Whore We Have In Stevie.

STEVIE

        Is this another song about me?

LINDSEY

        Uh, no. Not at all. These other songs are called Everyone Rides You Like A Witches Broom and
        (You Sound Like) A Constipated Goat.

STEVIE

        Oooh! I like witches!

LINDSEY

        I know. That’s great.

STEVIE

        Hey Lindsey, guess what?

LINDSEY

        Don Henley gave you crabs.

STEVIE

        Yeah, but that isn’t it. Guess again.

LINDSEY

        Mick gave you crabs.

STEVIE

        Nuh-uh, I gave ’em to him. Anyway, I have some songs too!

LINDSEY

        Here we go…

STEVIE

        They are really good, too. This one I really like. I call it, Cymru Is For Lovers.

LINDSEY

        Fine. Fuck it. You know what, I don’t really care anymore. Is there any coke left?

FADE OUT

Never mind the personality conflicts within the band and three decades of chattering about it. Never mind pronouncements of the rock snobs (or the bollocks). I realized the other day that Fleetwood Mac contributed to the background music of the summers of my childhood. You couldn’t turn on a radio between 1975 and 1977 without hearing their music. Add in the aforementioned Eagles (whom I have a longstanding love/hate relationship with) and their magnum opus Hotel California, as well as  Wings At The Speed of Sound, Frampton Comes Alive and possibly some Barry Manilow, you have the entire soundtrack to the film of my youth.

So I picked up a copy of one of the Mac’s greatest hits compilation the other day. I drive around now and remember what it was like to be a kid when the country felt free, disillusioned and decadent. Or I drive around and feel old, compromised and doomed. Either way, at least I can say I didn’t grow up listening to Taylor Hicks and Ashlee Simpson.

So I got that going for me.

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6 Responses to “Sarcastro’s Super Sounds of the Seventies”

  1. Exador Says:

    I can’t believe you left out Bob Seger AND Neil Diamond.You’re adolescence was to’ally gee.

  2. Chris Wage Says:

    Ha ha you listen to Fleetwood Mac.

  3. Sarcastro Says:

    These songs were big from ages 9-11, Ex.Chris, that’s just the reaction I expected from you and the other Martin Denny fans.

  4. john h Says:

    Actually all the elitist rock lovers who sneer in the general direction of F. Mac should just go in the closet with the headphones and listen to RUMORS. Other than ‘Shoot out the Lights’ by the divorcing Richard and Linda Thompson, you’ll never find a better musical dissection of broken relationships, as written and sung by the poor bastards going through the breakup.And truthfully, Buckingham and Thompson are both damn good guitar players. I do understand that despite my adoration of The White Stripes, my music cred is completely shot.

  5. Sarcastro Says:

    John, good call with "Shoot Out the Lights". That record gives me the creeps. The tension that fills every song makes you wonder if Richard was planning on killing her, but decided to write a song about it instead.

  6. john h Says:

    ‘Did she jump or was she pushed?’ being a prime example…

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