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LISTENING IN: Remembering a songbird, Christine McVie

Christine McVie may not have been as immediately synonymous with Fleetwood Mac as bandmates Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, but the vocalist, songwriter, and keyboard player was every bit as important to the group, having penned and sung many of it’s best tunes, not least her signature song, “Songbird.”

The British born McVie, who died Nov. 30 at age 79 after a short illness, also helped define such classics as “You Make Loving Fun,” “Everywhere” and “Don’t Stop” with her whose cool, soulful contralto.

McVie was a steady presence and personality in a band known for its frequent lineup changes and volatile personalities – notably fellow singer-songwriters Nicks and Buckingham.

Her death is the first among Fleetwood Mac’s most famous incarnation of McVie, Nicks, Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, Christine’s ex-husband.

Fleetwood Mac started out as a London blues band in the 1960s and evolved into one of the defining makers of 1970s California pop-rock, with the talents of McVie, Nicks and Buckingham anchored by the rhythm section of Fleetwood and John McVie. During its peak commercial years, from 1975-80, the band sold tens of millions of records and fascinated fans as it transformed personal battles into melodic, compelling songs. The McVies’ breakup – along with the split of Nicks and Buckingham – was famously documented on the 1977 release “Rumours,” among the bestselling albums of all time.

Everyone in the group played a distinctive role: Fleetwood and John McVie formed a deep and bluesy groove, Buckingham was the resident mad genius and perfectionist, Nicks the charismatic dramatist and idol to countless young women, and Christine McVie the grounded counterpoint, her economy as a singer and player well suited to her birth surname: Perfect.

“I was supposedly like the Mother Teresa who would hang out with everybody or just try and (keep) everything nice and cool and relaxed,” she told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “But they were great people; they were great friends.”

Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, when at the ceremony they played McVie’s “Say You Love Me.”

One of McVie’s most beloved works, the thoughtful ballad “Songbird,” was a showcase for her in concert and covered by Willie Nelson, among others.

The midtempo rocker “Don’t Stop,” inspired by the end of her marriage, would gain unexpected political relevance when Bill Clinton adopted the song – and its “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” refrain – as a theme to his 1992 presidential run. The band, which had essentially stopped making albums at the time, reunited to perform at his inauguration gala.

The group’s overwhelming success also led to inevitable conflicts and the desire for solo work and McVie released solo albums, including “Christine McVie” and “Christine Perfect,” as well as a 2017 collaboration with Buckingham, “Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie.”


For you, there’ll be no more crying
For you, the sun will be shining
And I feel that when I’m with you
It’s alright, I know it’s right

To you, I’ll give the world
To you, I’ll never be cold
‘Cause I feel that when I’m with you
It’s alright, I know it’s right

And the songbirds are singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before

And I wish you all the love in the world
But most of all, I wish it from myself

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before
Like never before
Like never before

First published at Travel Industry Today

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