It’s Throwback Thursday, and today’s “theme” is 1977, one of my favorite years of music. The first thing to come to mind is Fleetwood Mac’s quintessential album, Rumours, released in February of 1977, and the first song to come to mind this morning was “The Chain”. Though I love the opening track, “Second Hand News”, I’ve always thought that “The Chain” would have made a stellar track one. It is dramatic, fraught with the emotion and drama and confliction that was going on during the recording of Rumours, and it’s a huge song, one that grows as the song unfolds. Regardless of track placement, the song is one of my favorites and holds up over the years in sound, style, and emotional punch. So, today’s Song of the Day is Track 7 from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, “The Chain”.
Album side note, “The Chain” is the first track on side two, so it sort of gets its first placement. Though I’m still stuck on thinking it would have been a great start to the album.
“The Chain” is the only song from 1977’s Rumours that is credited to all five members of the band – Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. It was created from combinations of several previously rejected materials, including solo work by Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie. It was assembled, often manually by splicing tapes with a razor blade, at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, with engineers Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut’s assistance. (from Wikipedia)
Picturing everyone’s say in the song, and the idea of razor slicing tapes from different songs, just fits in so perfectly with how I picture the band’s state of mind, and heart, during the recording of the album. They were razor slicing relationships apart, yet still attempting to stay together, as a band. Crazy stuff to think on, really.
“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
from the album, Rumours (1977)
Song of the Day
“And if you don’t love me now,
you will never love me again.
I can still hear you saying,
you would never break the chain.”
Never break, but splice up, and separate, yet stay together. I can’t fathom creating anything with someone I was breaking up with. It seems almost impossible.
I wrote this about “The Chain” in a post about the Rumours album, back in 2014:
Bitter and full of pain and vitirol and all those things that are the emotional part and parcel of a break-up are made of. I have turned this song on and up and scream-sung-a-long to it while trying to get through the worst of break-ups, whether they were initiated by me, or the other person. That’s the thing, no matter whose idea it is, the pain and sadness and anger still hit.
I wonder what was more difficult to record during the break-ups that were going on, the “love” songs, like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Songbird”, or the obvious break-up with bitterness songs, like “Gold Dust Woman”, “Never Going Back Again”, “Go Your Own Way”, and today’s Song of the Day, “The Chain”? Were the more bitter of the bunch easier, and perhaps cathartic? Or did it just stir up more pain? I could see it go either way.
Chris and I were recently talking about favorite years in music, and 1977 was brought up. Its always been a music year that I’ve been fond of, and Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and “The Chain” are part of the reason why.
I love when we talk music. So much.
“The Chain” (live, 1977) by Fleetwood Mac
The demo version of “The Chain” is pretty fantastic, too. It was recently released, and not too long after its release I wrote a post about it.
“The Chain” (demo) by Fleetwood Mac
From my post back in February of this year:
Stevie’s voice with a single acoustic guitar is just stunning. She sounds incredible. The Song becomes something else altogether that I may now prefer to the released version.
A little research finds that the different lyrics in this demo version became other songs, including Christine’s penned “Butter Cookie (Keep Me There)”. (from Society of Rock)
Which version do you prefer?