From their lush, bittersweet harmonies to their love-tangled lyrics, Fleetwood Mac have been a go-to influence for artists for decades. In honor of our Stevie Nicks cover story, here are 16 of the best songs that channel the band, either on purpose or by accident.
Wilco's 2007 album Sky Blue Sky found Jeff Tweedy and company segueing from Jim O'Rourke's noisy cacophony to AM Gold — and no track signified that shift more than "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)." The gentle cut traces many Fleetwood trademarks over its four minutes: Twin guitar interplay out of Peter Green-era Mac, gentle Christine McVie-like cooing and the Rumours band's knack for love-weary lyricism.
Raspy and emotive, Miley Cyrus is Stevie-inspired and can’t help but show it on this breezy, folky Bangerz bonus track. The song is not the first time Cyrus has channeled the gold dust woman; she’s covered “Landslide” live multiple times, even breaking down while singing it during the sound check for her show in Boston following the death of her dog. Nicks has returned the love, going so far as to say she “has the possibility and the ability to be a great actress, a great singer and probably a great songwriter and go until she’s my age.”
On "Further Away (Romance Police)," folk-rock chameleon Lissie harnesses lower-register rasp, a dynamic chord progression and fierce backing vocals that all echo Stevie Nicks' 1981 solo hit "Edge of Seventeen." "They're a great band and I'm a fan of Seventies and Eighties rock," Lissie said of Fleetwood Mac. "I guess I can see how 'Further Away' kinda does steal back and then build back up, so maybe in my subconscious I'm ripping them off!"
The twin Quin sisters have tried folk, punk and even a recent foray into synth-aided pop, but they've never wavered from nuanced emotional explorations like the ones Stevie, Christine and Lindsey are so fond of. From Tegan & Sara's 2013 smash Heartthrob, the polished piano ballad "I Was a Fool" punctures deeply and infectiously like a Tango in the Night treasure. "When I wrote the song, I wanted to write something like Rihanna's 'Umbrella,'" Tegan said. "Something really sad and kind of fucked, but something that everybody would relate to."
Though the Go-Go's emerged out of an L.A. punk scene decidedly grimier than the Mac's jetset California milieu, the band's crafty tunes made clear that they listened to their pop predecessors a lot closer than, say, the Germs had. The rolling guitar arpeggios that kick this off are pure Lindsey Buckingham, as is the keyboard that creeps in later, and the influences don't end there. The lyric summons the trapped romance of "The Chain," Belinda Carlisle stands her ground like a more assertive Stevie, and it seems like they got the beat from Mick.
This 2006 cut from the Texas indie rockers answered the question, "What would it sound like if Bob Welch was still a member of Rumours-era Mac?" Midlake's track locks into a classic John McVie/Mick Fleetwood "Rhiannon"-esque groove coated with Welch's psychedelic folk-pop trappings and the Mac's dense harmonizing.
When Little Big Town formed, the two-guy, two-girl vocal group had to choose whether to become an Abba or a Fleetwood Mac. Living in Nashville and disapproving of coordinated outfits, they chose the latter, and a decade later they filled the back half of their biggest album with a series of Mac-inspired jams. "Leavin' in Your Eyes" is the most poignant — and most Mac-like: While Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild nail the harmonies, session musician John Thomasson comes off the bench to anchor the track with a John McVie-style bassline.
In 2013, Lady Antebellum performed a CMT special with Stevie Nicks and, before rehearsals, the two parties prepared via conference call. "She said, 'Oh, Fleetwood Mac, we always wanted to be Crosby, Stills and Nash," recalled guitarist Dave Haywood. "I was like, 'Oh, that's crazy — we've always wanted to be Fleetwood Mac.'" The band ultimately released a Stevie-assisted version of "Golden" as the final single from the album of the same name, and the singer gave the song some very high praise: "I love Lady Antebellum," she said. "To me, this song is their 'Landslide' because it's just that spectacular."
Late-era Rilo Kiley getting synthesized and glossy, just like late-era Mac, who they were constantly compared to. As a California band fronted by romantically involved songwriters who split years before their band did, Blake Sennett and Jenny Lewis had a leg-up in the backstory department too. Here, they share a lead à la Buckingham/Nicks over spangled guitars, singing of crumbled love and dreams, two of their elders' lyrical trademarks.
When Courtney Love placed an ad in 1989 looking for bandmates, she listed Fleetwood Mac as an influence alongside hipper underground acts Big Black and Sonic Youth, and she's consistently proclaimed her fandom since. Though Hole brilliantly burned "Gold Dust Woman" to the ground with their 1996 cover, the real Mac echoes weren't until the band's 1998 album Celebrity Skin, where Love reclaimed the AM rock of her California youth. The dense yet supple harmonies, the blithe yet longing mood and the steady pulse of the beat are all straight outta Rumours — though the doom and foreboding is maybe a little more Eagles.
Though the classic rock fanboys of One Direction have never explicitly cited Fleetwood Mac as an influence, this sweet little tune certainly sounds like they've listened to their share. The first track released to fans off their 2014 album Four, "Fireproof" utilizes the warm "Dreams" bass line and, of course, layers some sweet harmonies. The most essentially Mac element of the song, however, is the gentle yearning of the lyrics: On the chorus, Zayn Malik coos, "Nobody loves you baby the way I do," like he's Stevie Nicks singing "Wouldn't you love to love her?" In November, 1D's Harry Styles was spotted at a Fleetwood Mac concert in Los Angeles.
In 1977, a newly Messina-less Loggins was recruited by Fleetwood Mac to be their Rumours tour opening act. That experience had a major impact on Loggins: Not only did he befriend Stevie Nicks, who he credits with launching his solo career (Nicks was featured on Loggins' 1978 single "Whenever I Call You 'Friend'," his first solo hit), but it seems he also caught a major case of the Buckinghams, as evidenced by 1980's "I'm Alright," a Mac-inspired, Lindsey-crimping rave-up that forever conjures the image of a dancing, golf course-gnawing gopher.
If Natalie Merchant was accused of sounding a little too much like Annie Lennox early in her career, "Like the Weather" saw her going full Nicks as she and the other 9,999 Maniacs crafted a bouncy Mac-inspired track cut from the same fabric as Rumours' "Dreams" and Tusk's "Angel." The 1988 track became the band's first charting hit.
There's no mistaking the Mac influence on the signature hit by this Cali sister trio — a swaggering, stuttering mid-tempo march shot through with squealing blues guitar and buck-up-kid lyrical encouragement that recalls "Don't Stop." The group's fandom is on record and online: When they got an invite to Stevie Nicks' house last year, they joined her for a cover of "Rhiannon."
Sheryl Crow’s a Fleetwood Mac fan that got almost as much as she gave — she almost joined the band in 2008 before balking to raise a family. Leading up to that, she developed a tight bond with Stevie Nicks and performed the rootsy folk of Tuesday Night Music Club standout “Strong Enough” as a duet for VH1 Storytellers in ’98. “I thought for women like Sheryl and I who have this extreme kind of career, every time we meet a new nice man it crosses our mind, ‘Are you strong enough to deal with our possibly incredibly odd life?'” Nicks said during the song’s introduction. “I thought this is a great song for any women who have extreme careers.”
For kids that grew up in the Nineties, Rumours was best known as a staple of dollar bins or your parents' record collection (especially if you were Chelsea Clinton). Thick-rimmed alt-rock breakout star Lisa Loeb made them somewhat cool again, thanks to this song from Reality Bites, and the very first Number One single of the alternative rock era. The hit was like a Mac CliffsNotes being read aloud at a coffeehouse, opening like a lovelorn Nicks number — "Sleeping Angel" or "Landslide" — before the pace quickens and suddenly Loeb is rhyming at Buckingham's "The Ledge" pace.