Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Songs - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Songs

Your picks include ‘Go Your Own Way,’ ‘Silver Springs’ and ‘Sara’

John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac

Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image

Fleetwood Mac are days away from launching a huge world tour. They have a catalog that stretches back nearly 50 years, but don't expect to hear many songs that predate the Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham era. The band's popularity spiked in a huge way when the two of them joined in 1975, and it kicked off an incredible period of success. They went from a half-forgotten 1960s blues-rock act to one of the biggest bands in the world. We asked our readers to vote for their favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, and it's no surprise that 90 percent of the top 10 songs come from the Buckingham/Nicks era. Click through to see the results. 


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10. ‘Gypsy’

Many of the 1970s' biggest rock bands flamed out as soon as the 1980s began. Led Zeppelin and the Eagles both split in 1980, and acts like the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton and even KISS saw sales fall into the toilet as MTV took over the industry. This wasn't the case with Fleetwood Mac. They adapted well to the video era and landed a ton of hits on the charts. For a short time, Stevie Nicks even took a page out of the Phil Collins playbook and zig-zagged between the band and her solo career.

Fleetwood got the decade off to a very strong start in 1982 with Mirage. It scored three Top 40 hits, including "Gypsy." The song was written by Nicks, and it's a nostalgic look back at her pre-fame days with boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. In essence, they lived like gypsies. 

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9. ‘Sara’

There was a lot of pressure on Fleetwood Mac when they started recording Tusk in late 1978. Their last album, Rumours, was about as big as a rock record could be. Topping it would be impossible, and most any effort would seem like a disappointment. They were also going through intense personal problems and had enough leverage to go crazily over budget. The result was an album that cost over $1 million (an industry record) and filled up two LPs. Many see it as their White Album since the tone varies wildly from song to song and it comes across almost like a collection of solo songs. It's also a complete masterpiece, probably the greatest thing they ever created. The label was pissed off they made such a sprawling, uncommercial album – but that's hardly surprising.

The most commercial-sounding track on the album is the Stevie Nicks ballad "Sara." Unsurprisingly, it was the biggest hit from the project, landing at Number Seven on the American Hot 100. Nicks originally wrote the song about the group's endless personal problems but eventually changed the lyrics to make the song more universal. 

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8. ‘Gold Dust Woman’

Rumours is an emotional roller coaster through the ups and downs of a series of interlocking relationships. It concludes with Stevie's supremely powerful "Gold Dust Woman." Simply stated, it's a drug song. The group was doing a mountain of cocaine at the time, and it didn't exactly help their endless problems. The song shows Stevie was aware of the toll it was taking on her but seemingly powerless to stop. It's a pretty pessimistic way to end the record, but that's where the band was at the time. The group's genius was in the simple fact that they poured all of their pain into songs. America became obsessed with them as if they were a real-life soap opera. It's four decades later, and none of them can get through an interview without being asked to relive this crazy time. 

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7. ‘Oh Well’

If it sounds like "Oh Well" was recorded by some other Fleetwood Mac, that's because it basically was. Sure, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie have been in the group from the very beginning, but with Peter Green at the helm initially, they were a very different sort of beast. "Oh Well" is perhaps the most famous song of this era.

The blues-rock standard was written by Green in 1969, and it's easy to hear early Led Zeppelin and other 1970s hard-rock bands in the tune. Garage rock bands have been playing it for decades. It's also been covered by everyone from Tom Petty to Ratt to the Black Crowes. The group kept it in the setlist for years, and Lindsey Buckingham did a pretty great job singing Peter Green's parts. 

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6. ‘Silver Springs’

"Silver Springs" is one of the prettiest songs that Stevie Nicks ever wrote, yet it caused her and the band all sorts of drama over the years. It was cut from Rumours at the last minute because there simply wasn't enough room. Stevie was crushed and a decade later, she quit the group, partially because Mick Fleetwood wouldn't let her use the song on a solo compilation. Another full decade later, she returned to the band on a giant cash-in reunion tour. They performed "Silver Springs" at the TV reunion gig, and released that new version as a single. VH1 played the hell out of the video and it became a regular part of their gigs.

It's a song about how former lovers will never truly be apart, and Stevie has said she derives great satisfaction from singing "You'll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you" night after night as she stands inches away from Lindsey. 

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5. ‘Dreams’

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were going through a very painful and very public end to their eight-year relationship when they began writing the songs on Rumours. They had clung together over many years of struggle, but enormous success proved harder to endure. Stevie doesn't mask any of her feelings in the lyrics to "Dreams," in which she sings, "Listen carefully to the sound/ Of our loneliness/ Like a heartbeat, drives you mad/ In the stillness of remembering/ What you had and what you lost." The group has had many huge hits, but this is their only Number One single. 

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4. ‘Rhiannon’

Fleetwood Mac's 1976 single "Rhiannon" was the group's first huge radio hit with the Nicks/Buckingham lineup. Stevie wrote the song months after reading the novel Triad by Mary Leader. It's about a woman possessed by someone named Rhiannon, which is also the name of a Welsh witch. Her vocal performance on the song is a tour-de-force, and it only grew more powerful as the years went by. The song become so huge that many people began to associate Nicks with actual witchcraft. She has sung the song at pretty much every concert she's done over the past four decades, but still manages to make it sound fresh each time. 

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3. ‘Landslide’

Stevie Nicks was only in her mid-twenties when she wrote "Landslide" but somehow, she infused the ballad with decades of wisdom and sorrow. She wrote it in Aspen before joining Fleetwood Mac. Her musical career seemed stuck, and things were rocky with Lindsey. As she contemplated quitting music and returning to school, she looked out at the mountains and thought about an avalanche coming down and swallowing up the house.

It wasn't a single in the 1970s, but it quickly became a fan favorite. A live version from the 1997 Fleetwood Mac reunion concert did come out as a single, bringing the song to a new audience. Many have covered it over the years, from the Dixie Chicks to the Smashing Pumpkins. In many ways, it has become Stevie's signature song, and it's only taken on a greater poignancy as she's gotten older. 

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2. ‘Go Your Own Way’

The kick-off from Rumours is Lindsey Buckingham's finest moment on the album. Many of Stevie's relationship songs are gentle and sad, but this one is loud and furious. "Packing up/ Shacking up's all you wanna do!" he yells to his ex-lover. Stevie joins him on that famous line though, to this day, she says she resents it, claiming she never "shacked up" with anybody. The song is also a sensational showcase for Lindsey's guitar playing. He's always been drastically underappreciated as a pure player, and this song demonstrates why he's one of the greats. 

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1. ‘The Chain’

"The Chain" is the only song on Rumours that the band actually wrote as a group. "It basically came out of a jam," said Mick Fleetwood. "Originally, we had no words to it. And it really only became a song when Stevie wrote some. She walked in one day and said, 'I've written some words that might be good for that thing you were doing in the studio the other day.' So it was put together. Lindsey arranged and made a song out of all the bits and pieces that we were putting down onto tape." They should have joined forces more often, since the end result is absolutely stunning. It was never a single, though radio has embraced it and it's proven to be one of their most enduring works. 

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