The 70’s :: You can go your own way

“If i could,
maybe I’d give you my world.
How can I,
when you won’t take it from me?”

History lesson:
Go Your Own Way was written by Lindsey Buckingham, and was a the first single released off of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours. Buckingham wrote the song as a message to Stevie Nicks. It describes their break-up, with the most obvious line being, “packing up, shacking up is all you want to do.” Stevie insisted she never shacked up with anyone when they were going out, and wanted Lindsey to take out the line. He refused.

While the Rumours album was being recorded, the marriage of John and Christine McVie (both of them Mac members) was also coming to an end. With two couples breaking-up during the sessions, and the heavy drug use that was going on, recording was quite tense. Go Your Own Way is ranked #119 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 greatest songs of all time, one of the group’s two entries along with Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win), and is the only Fleetwood Mac song on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll list.

Personal reflection:
I have this vivid memory of my mother playing the Rumours album while she was cooking in the kitchen, singing along with complete abandon. Her eyes shut as the music played, and she looked so beautiful, so free of any cares in the world. I held the album up, looking at the front and back side, and the inner sleeve, and thought I wanted to grow up and look just like Stevie Nicks. All the flowing clothes, the ballet-perfect pose, the otherworldly quality to her reminded me of faeries, gardens and a dream-world by the sea.

Sometimes I feel like my mother has been three different people to me, the younger version that I admired and looked up to with ever part of my being. Her long hair and dresses, the green she brought to life in our backyard, the daisies she weaved into my hair and hers, and the way music seemed to accompany her every move. I know my love for music is directly connected to my mother.

When I was an adolescent the perception of my mother changed, and it is that incarnation which holds much of the pain and bitterness I have felt towards her. It is the image I fight becoming myself, and the time in my life where I felt less than anything at all. And, then there is my mother today. We are finally working our way back from being deeply estranged, and as we traverse through the ocean of misunderstandings and differences between us I try very hard to remember what I knew of her as a child. As I grow older, I can feel my eyes changing, my vision, and the way that I see my mother, and the way I see myself. I am growing to realize that all of those “versions” are her, and still exist, even today, in the same way that all the versions of me spin around and exist, together.

Despite the fact that I never felt good enough for her growing up, I recognize that I did sort out a way to Go My Own Way. I struggle still today with people’s perceptions of myself, and the fact that I still never feel quite good enough for anyone; but, when the music is played loud enough I can lose myself in it, I can shack up with it until I feel better. It is in music, and probably only in music, that I begin feel good enough for anyone.

Go Your Own Way ~ Fleetwood Mac

the 70s

Leave a Reply