The singer performed a tender acoustic ballad of “Songbird,” which was featured on the band’s 1977 Rumours album and was one of a handful of tracks written solely by McVie. Styles added the song to his Love On Tour setlist and was backed by a piano as he took on McVie’s classic hit.
When the song was over, Styles blew a kiss to the sky and said, “Thank you, Christine.”
Throughout his career, Styles has shown his admiration for the band’s legacy. In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Styles said that his father, Desmond, raised him on classic rock groups like Fleetwood Mac. Earlier that year, Stevie Nicks joined Styles onstage to sing a trio of tracks including “Two Ghosts,” “Landslide” and “Leather and Lace.”
He also performed a short set on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge that included a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.” On Wednesday, shortly after McVie’s family confirmed that she died peacefully at a hospital following a “short illness,” Styles shared a black-and-white photograph of McVie, paying his respects to the iconic singer-songwriter.
McVie’s impact within Fleetwood Mac — and as a solo artist — crossed generations. Following her death, she has been remembered by Sheryl Crow, Japanese Breakfast, Muna, Vampire Weekend, and many other artists.
“God damn legend. Every time I tried to write a classy synth line in the studio I’d always say I was trying to channel my inner Christine,” Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner tweeted.
Speaking to Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene this year, McVie revealed the band members were no longer in touch, and essentially “broke up” yet again. “I don’t feel physically up for it,” she said. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem which debilitates me.” When asked about her goals, she said, “Stay alive, hopefully. Well, I’ll be 80 next year. So, I’m just hoping for a few more years, and we’ll see what happens.”