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Remembering Christine McVie Of Fleetwood Mac Through Her GRAMMY Triumphs, From 'Rumours' Onward
Unflashy and undramatic, McVie's contributions to Fleetwood Mac led to some of their greatest contributions to popular song — with two GRAMMY wins to boot.
In an acclaimed career that spanned more than half a century, Christine McVie staked her claim as one of the most potent singer-songwriters of her generation. A beloved original member of the seminal rock group Fleetwood Mac, with whom she sang, wrote and played keyboard, she and her bandmates catapulted to fame in the early '70s, scoring GRAMMY gold and influencing generations of musicians.
"As a GRAMMY Award winner and 2018 Person of the Year honoree, the Recording Academy has been honored to celebrate Christine McVie and her work with Fleetwood Mac throughout her legendary career," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. stated. In an announcement of her death, the remaining members of Fleetwood Mac mourned her passing by saying "She was truly one-of-a-kind, special, and talented beyond measure."
McVie, who passed away Nov. 30 at 79 after a brief illness, may have not been as flashy, or as dramatic, as fellow Fleetwood Mac members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. But McVie's contributions to the band led to some of their greatest contributions to popular song, with two GRAMMY wins among seven nominations.
The tour de force that is Rumours is one of the most acclaimed and best-selling albums of all time and an inductee into GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. The masterpiece earned McVie her first GRAMMY (for Album of the Year no less) at the 20th Annual Ceremony in 1978, also earning a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group.
Fleetwood Mac's 11th studio album, Rumours was actually McVie's 7th album with the band after making her name in the English blues scene, rising through the ranks as part of the band Chicken Shack, and even releasing a solo album.
In 1971, McVie joined Fleetwood Mac alongside her then-husband John McVie. The potent combination of the McVies, along with Mick Fleetwood, Buckingham and Nicks, catalyzed and detonated into the stratospheric Rumours.
"It's hard to say (what it was like) because we were looking at it from the inside," McVie said about the iconic album earlier this year. "We were having a blast and it felt incredible to us that we were writing those songs. That's all I can say about it, really."
McVie's coyness may stem from the fact that prior to its production, Christine and John divorced after eight years of marriage. Meanwhile, Buckingham and Nicks were having a tumultuous relationship themselves.
McVie is credited as sole songwriter on a handful of instant-classic Rumours tracks, all written during a perilous moment. "I thought I was drying up," explained McVie. "I was practically panicking because every time I sat down at a piano, nothing came out. Then, one day, I just sat down and wrote in the studio, and the four-and-a-half songs of mine on the album are a result of that."
That includes "Don't Stop," an ironically peppy ode considering the turmoil McVie and her bandmates were grappling with at the time. With lyrics that staunchly proclaim "Yesterday's gone!," the song was reportedly written as a plea from Christine to John to move on from their relationship.
"I dare say, if I hadn't joined Fleetwood Mac, we might still be together. I just think it's impossible to work in the band with your spouse," McVie later said. John, meanwhile, was oblivious to the song's message during its production and early acclaim. He revealed in 2015: "I've been playing it for years and it wasn't until somebody told me, 'Chris wrote that about you.' Oh really?"
John was also equally ignorant to the source inspiration of "You Make Loving Fun"; McVie told him the joyful song ("Sweet wonderful you/ You make me happy with the things you do") was about her dog. In reality, it was about an affair with the band's lighting designer.
"It was a therapeutic move," McVie later mused of her lyrical penchant for hiding brutal honesty in plain sight. "The only way we could get this stuff out was to say it, and it came out in a way that was difficult. Imagine trying to sing those songs onstage with the people you're singing them about."
When McVie was asked earlier this year what song she written she was most proud of, it was an easy answer: the Rumours track "Songbird."
"For some peculiar reason, I wrote "Songbird" in half an hour; I've never been able to figure out how I did that," she told People. "I woke up in the middle of the night and the song was there in my brain, chords, lyrics, melody, everything. I played it in my bedroom and didn't have anything to tape it on. So I had to stay awake all night so I wouldn't forget it and I came in the next morning to the studio and had (producer) Ken Callait put it on a 2-track. That was how the song ended up being. I don't know where that came from."
McVie's most recent GRAMMY nominations were for her contributions to The Dance, Fleetwood Mac's 1997 live album that featured her stand-outs from Rumours along with the McVie penned-tracks "Say You Love Me" and "Everywhere."
The album earned McVie and the band GRAMMY nominations for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for the Lindsay Buckingham-written "The Chain") and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for "Silver Springs," penned by Stevie Nicks). It also landed a nomination for Best Pop Album. It was her final album with the band before a 15-year self-imposed retirement.
In her final years, McVie was a vital member of Fleetwood Mac, including in 2018 when they became the first band honored as MusicCare's Person of the Year.
Speaking to the Recording Academy before the ceremony, Nicks expressed that her initial goal upon joining the group was a humble one: "Christine and I made a pact. We said we will never, ever be treated as a second-class citizen amongst our peers."
Lindsey Buckingham Holds Forth On His New Self-Titled Album, How He Really Feels About Fleetwood Mac Touring Without Him
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Watch The 2023 GRAMMYs Star-Studded Tribute To Lost Legends Loretta Lynn, Christine McVie & Takeoff | 2023 GRAMMYs
The moving GRAMMY Awards segment featured friends, family and bandmates honoring their departed loved ones in song — including tributes from Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt.
A moving 2023 GRAMMYs segment featured friends, family and bandmates honoring their departed loved ones in song — including tributes from Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt.
The GRAMMY Awards' annual tribute to music industry icons who passed in the preceding year is always a bittersweet highlight of the ceremony — and this year's moving edition was certainly no exception.
In addition to honoring the many artists, producers, executives, and more who we lost, three legendary musicians received individual recognition from their close friends, collaborators, and loved ones.
A longtime admirer of Loretta Lynn, Kacey Musgraves became friends with the late country legend after opening for Lynn's 2012 tour — and thus was the perfect person to honor the four-time GRAMMY-winner.
Surrounded by a spray of red flowers and wearing a red dress that would've suited the Songwriter Hall of Fame honoree, Musgraves delivered a sterling rendition of Lynn's autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter."
With each strum of her guitar — with Lynn’s name inlaid on the neck in enamel — Musgraves brought more of her hero's trademark warmth and country legacy into fuller bloom, the names and images of other lost legends materializing behind her.
The rap world was stunned when it lost Migos member Takeoff in a tragic shooting in November, and his uncle and bandmate Quavo paid tribute with the elegiac "Without You." The rapper's soulful delivery was rounded out by the rich harmonies of gospel group Maverick City Music, the pain evident in his face as he sat next to an empty stool, his nephew’s chain hanging from a tragically unused mic stand.
As the song concluded, Quavo rose, holding that chain up to the heavens, his hope to see Takeoff again ringing out.
While clips of heroes like Jeff Beck and David Crosby surely brought tears to many an eye, the heartfelt tributes were rounded out by the trio of Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, and Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood. Together, they honored Christine McVie with a poignant rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird."
While Fleetwood stood with a resonant hand drum, Crow took to the piano with Raitt seated at her side. "And the songbirds are singing/ Like they know the score," they sang: "And I love you, I love you, I love you/ Like never before."
The crystalline performance immaculately suited the songwriter's immense spirit and unparalleled writing, with Fleetwood’s somber hand drum lending a beautiful final note.
Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Head to live.GRAMMY.com all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Photos: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images; Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Erika Goldring/WireImage
2023 GRAMMYs To Pay Tribute To Lost Icons With Star-Studded In Memoriam Segment Honoring Loretta Lynn, Christine McVie, And Takeoff
The GRAMMY Awards segment will feature Kacey Musgraves in a tribute to Loretta Lynn; Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt honoring Christine McVie; and Maverick City Music joining Quavo as they remember Takeoff, airing live on Sunday, Feb. 5.
The lineup for the 2023 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb 5, will include an In Memoriam segment paying tribute to some of those from the creative community that were lost this year with performances by GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists.
The segment will feature Kacey Musgraves performing "Coal Miner's Daughter" in a tribute to three-time GRAMMY winner and 18-time nominee Loretta Lynn; Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt honoring three-time GRAMMY winner Christine McVie with "Songbird"; and Maverick City Music joining Quavo for "Without You" as they remember the life and legacy of Takeoff.
The 2023 GRAMMYs, hosted by Trevor Noah, will broadcast live on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network live from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Viewers will also be able to stream the 2023 GRAMMYs live and on demand on Paramount+.
Before, during and after the 2023 GRAMMYs, head to live.GRAMMY.com for exclusive, never-before-seen content, including red carpet interviews, behind-the-scenes content, the full livestream of the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, and much more.
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ReImagined At Home: Mark Caplice Flips Fleetwood Mac's GRAMMY-Nominated "The Chain" Into A Haunting Piano Ballad
Mark Caplice's slowed-down, piano-led version of "The Chain" captures all the emotion of Fleetwood Mac's original version from 1977, but applies a melancholy new treatment to the song.
Singer/songwriter Mark Caplice puts a haunting and melancholy spin on a rock classic with his rendition of "The Chain," a Fleetwood Mac song originally released in 1977 as part of their classic album Rumours.
Rumours earned Fleetwood Mac a GRAMMY for Album Of The Year at the 1978 GRAMMY Awards. Two decades later, "The Chain" got some love at the ceremony once again: A live version of the track, off their live album The Dance, was nominated for a golden gramophone for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
It's a credit to "The Chain" that different kinds of versions of the song have been successful, and in this episode of Reimagined at Home, Caplice once again proves the versatility of the solidarity anthem with his piano-led performance — one that highlights the song's eerie side.
Caplice's smooth, honeyed vocals lend extra weight and emotional power to his version of the song, but at the heart of his performance is a piano line that, from the very first bars of the song, sets a somber and dramatic tone that perfectly harmonizes with the aesthetic of the original.
As Caplice delivers his rendition of "The Chain" at his piano, a horn section enters the soundfield, underscoring the cinematic vibe of the composition.
Fleetwood Mac created the original version of the song by splicing together sections of previously recorded material — including some that various bandmates recorded solo — This meant that much of the music was recorded at different times and in different locations, without the finished product in mind.
In contrast, Caplice's version brings the musicians together in one room for their live performance, proving once again that a truly great song will always stand tall, no matter what format an artist uses to bring it to life.
Check out Caplice's performance in the video above, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of ReImagined at Home.
Lindsey Buckingham Holds Forth On His New Self-Titled Album, How He Really Feels About Fleetwood Mac Touring Without Him
PHOTO: Future Publishing / Contributor
From "Sounds" To Millions Of Streams: How TikTok Became A Major Player In The Musical Ecosystem
TikTok's influential algorithm has the power to elevate talent from obscurity or low-level fame, and take older music to the top of the streaming charts. GRAMMY.com digs into the ways TikTok has made a significant impact on pop music.
In the past several years, China-born social media video app TikTok, has influenced millennial and Gen-Z lifestyles in a variety of ways — including the creation of new hits as well as careers. From Olivia Rodrigo to Conan Gray, TikTok's influential algorithm has the power to elevate talent from obscurity or low-level fame, and has made a significant impact on pop music.
For those unfamiliar with TikTok, "sounds" are pooled into their own pages that showcase all videos with that sound snippet. Over (an often short) time, challenges and memes become associated with certain tracks, meaning users are often exposed to more new music than through a traditional streaming service.
Through its sounds, the app has brought added shine to the likes of GAYLE, whose "abcdefu" is a staple song on TikTok this year, as well as the GRAMMY-nominated "Best Friend" by Saweetie featuring Doja Cat. Artists who are not yet household names have experienced a boom in streams as a result of TikTok popularity: "Lalala" by Y2K and bbno$ has over 800 million streams on Spotify to date.
Songs used as TikTok sounds have shown to increase their streaming and even charting ability. Olivia Rodrigo’s "Driver’s License" — which won a GRAMMY for Best Pop Solo Performance and was nominated in several categories — was noticed early on by popular content creators on TikTok and pushed into the spotlight. Other, now chart-busting songs have received similar traction form the app, among them Lil Nas X’s "Old Town Road" and Lizzo’s "Good as Hell."
"TikTok is a platform that allows for artists from every generation to connect with a new audience in ways the industry hasn't seen before," Corey Sheridan, the US Head of Music for TikTok, tells GRAMMY.com. "We are well positioned to introduce legacy artists and repertoire to a new generation of fans that are otherwise lost with traditional catalog marketing and streaming tactics."
It’s not just newly released songs that are experiencing success on the app. Any song, regardless of its age, can be pushed forward to have a life on the platform. Simple Plan’s "I’m Just A Kid" was certified platinum 15 years after its initial release due to TikTok; Aly and AJ's TikTok success with 2007's "Potential Breakup Song" prompted the sisters to drop their first album in 14 years, in addition to an explicit version of the tune.
Similarly, Indie musician Ritt Momney signed a record deal with Disruptor/Columbia Records in 2020 after he covered Corrine Bailey Rae’s 2006 song "Put Your Records On." Money's version was used in hazy quarantine videos on the platform, and soon gained over a million streams on Spotify.
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Leveraging older songs is another way for artists to gain success through TikTok. In 2020, TikTok acquired Prince’s catalog (the artist was famously resistant to streaming services) , and more recently has full access to all of Universal Music’s artists work. Similarly, when David Bowie’s catalog joined TikTok early in 2021, in celebration of what would have been his 74th birthday, hashtags like the #DavidBowieChallenge started to appear alongside over 1.2 million followers for the account.
"TikTok provides a major benefit for catalog artists, where new creative trends can create a fresh new context for past hits and, in some cases, return them to the charts, creating new opportunities for legacy acts to return to cultural relevancy and build new fans," says William Gruger, Music Editorial Lead for TikTok.
TikTok's audience seems to have no boundaries around genre or era when it comes to use of sounds. Artists from the 1970s and early 2000s, such as Hoobastank, have had songs return to the mainstream due to TikTok virality.
Fleetwood Mac may be the greatest example of this trend. In 2020, Nathan Apodaca (TikTok user @420doggface208) lip synced to a snippet of "Dreams" from their 1977 album Rumors as he cruised on a skateboard, holding a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice. Apodaca's TikTok prompted over 100,000 tribute videos and he gained 7 million followers on the platform — as well as an invitation to President Joe Biden's inauguration — further proving the influence TikTok’s algorithm can have.
The video put Fleetwood Mac back in the charts, 42 years after Rumors was released; the track accumulated 2.9 million streams in the US during the three-day period following Apodaca’s video — an increase of 88.7 percent. Stevie Nicks even joined TikTok as a result, though she only has one video on the platform.
TikTok further taps into older music catalogs through reinterpretations of works, including remixes, mashups and covers. A mashup of Dua Lipa and Madonna created by ArinInflux exploded across TikTok, leading to over 8 million views of the track on YouTube; Regard’s remix of Jay Sean’s "Ride It" and Surf Mesa’s "ILY (I Love You Baby)," with lyrics taken from Frankie Valli’s 1967 hit "Can’t Take My Eyes Off You." led to over 99,000 videos being created using the sound.
Through its algorithm — which can skyrocket even the smallest of videos — and the intentional use of older catalogs, TikTok has arguably created a space which is designed to help both new and existing artists. A trend on TikTok can change a musician's trajectory quickly, elevating their presence on streaming platforms.
As a result, TikTok has become a major part of the music ecosystem: A place where older artists can be reinvented and a new generation can fall in love with old favorites. As users employ hits, deep catalog cuts and obscure singles in their videos, as well as develop unique mash-ups that inspire others, TikTok demonstrates how new technology can highlight why some iconic artists never go out of style.
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