Warners Plugging Fleetwood Mac Leak

Label getting to the bottom of 'Tusk' early release

Christine McVie, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac receive their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 10th, 1979 on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
November 29, 1979

After more than two weeks of vigorous negotiations, Warner Bros. Records appeared to be on the verge of discovering how Fleetwood Mac's Tusk album was prematurely leaked to seven RKO radio stations.

"By the end of the week [October 26th], we should know who gave them the album," said Russ Thyret, vice president of promotion for Warners. "Once we find that out, the person definitely will be prosecuted."

The RKO stations began playing Tusk on October 3rd, twelve days before the album's official release. According to Thyret, it appears that the record was leaked to one of the seven RKO program directors, who duplicated it and then passed copies of it to the other stations. At press time, lawyers for Warners and RKO were attempting to negotiate an out-of-court settlement under which the program director who first had the LP would be singled out and then would disclose, under oath, the source of the leak.

If that plan fails, Thyret said, "We intend to sue the stations for damages." He emphasized that "it is not our intent to try and stick it to the RKO people. The point is to stop a leak. We are hoping this will deter this from ever happening to one of our albums again – or to anyone's albums.

This is a story from the November 29th, 1979 issue of Rolling Stone.

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