Monday, December 05, 2022

Rob Sheffield Pays Tribute to the “Peaceful and Stormy at the Same Time” Songs of Christine McVie


Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone magazine has written a heartfelt and insightful appreciation of the life and music of Christine McVie, who died last Wednesday, November 30.

Following, with added images and links, are excerpts from Sheffield’s tribute that particularly caught my attention.

Christine McVie always came on like the grown-up in the room, which admittedly might not be hard to do when the room is Fleetwood Mac. But McVie was the emotional glue in a band that has spent the past 50 years breaking up over and over, the most stable, sensible, down-to-earth member of rock’s most unstable, senseless, lost-in-space circus. The universally beloved piano woman who wrote great song after great song, the one all the others got along with. Christine kept singing like the songbird who knew the score, and that’s because she always did.


That’s why the world is in shock and grief at the news of McVie’s death on Wednesday, which comes out of the blue. As she told Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene earlier this year, “I was supposedly like the Mother Teresa who would hang out with everybody or just try and [keep] everything nice and cool and relaxed.” Yet she admitted, “Even though I am quite a peaceful person, I did enjoy that storm. Although it’s said that we fought a lot, we actually did spend a lot of our time laughing.”

That spirit came out in her songs – peaceful and stormy at the same time. She wrote so many of the Mac’s classics, focused on her husky, intimate voice and piano. “Say You Love Me,” “Over My Head,” “Oh Daddy,” “Little Lies,” “Why” – she sang in the voice of a world-weary adult romantic, a woman who’s gotten burned and knows better, except she can’t talk herself out of falling, falling, falling again. These were always shocking songs to hear on the radio, but they’ve just grown over the years.

Christine and [fellow band member] Stevie Nicks had a unique chemistry — two singer-songwriters, two frontwomen, in the extremely male world of Seventies L.A. rock. Stevie always gave McVie the credit for making it possible. As she told me in 2019, “Christine and I made a pact the day I joined Fleetwood Mac. She and I said, ‘We will never be treated like second-class citizens. We will never be not allowed to hang out in a room full of intelligent, crazy rock & roll stars, because we’re just as crazy and just as intelligent as they are.’ We just made that promise to each other that we would do everything we could do for women, that we would fight for everything that we wanted and get it. That our songs and our music would be equally as good as all the men surrounding us. And it was.”

They always had a big sister/little sister rapport, with Christine as the world-weary elder smiling indulgently on her more impulsive, flighty sidekick – the Jane Russell to Stevie’s Marilyn Monroe. That sisterhood set the Mac apart from their Hotel California peers. “If I had been the only girl in Fleetwood Mac, it would have been very different,” Nicks said. “So I’m really glad I joined a band that happened to have another woman in it. At the beginning, people said, ‘Does Christine want another girl in the band?’ And I said, ‘I hope she does. When she meets me, I hope she likes me.’ She did really like me – we got Mexican food and we laughed and looked at each other and went, ‘This is going to be great.’”


. . . Characteristically, McVie was discreet and private about her final illness. Speaking to Rolling Stone this year, she casually revealed the band members weren’t in touch anymore, and had essentially split up yet again. “I don’t feel physically up for it,” she says. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem which debilitates me.” When asked about her goals, she replied, “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.”

We didn’t get those extra years of Christine McVie. But she scattered so many great songs across so many albums – some classic hits, others obscure cult faves – that you can spend years catching up with her greatness. These are songs that people will always sing to themselves on those lonely late-night bluesy moments that Christine McVie always knew how to capture.

– Rob Sheffield
Excerpted from “Farewell, Christine McVie,
the Songbird Who Knew the Score

Rolling Stone
December 1, 2022



I close by sharing the music video for the Fleetwood Mac song “Love Shines.” Written by Christine McVie and Eddy Quintela, “Love Shines” was released as a single in 1992 to support the compilation album 25 Years – The Chain. This was the first single released after the departure of vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Rick Vito. The song was released as a single in Europe, but in North America, “Paper Doll” was released instead.

The official music video features the four remaining members of Fleetwood Mac playing the song on top of a building in Hollywood. It was the last music video recorded with this line-up. The highest chart placement for “Love Shines” was in Germany, where it reached number 51. Given this, I view it as one of those "obscure cult faves" that Rob Sheffield writes about.


I love the way Christine playfully interacts with her bandmates – Mick Fleetwood, Billy Burnette, and former husband John McVie. It's all so relaxed, smooth . . . and, well, ever-so Christine McVie!



I hope you enjoy the song and its music video as much as I do.





You’ve got a sweet heart
Never will you be replaced
And it’s so hard
The memory can’t be erased

Love shines when I think of you
You make it happen
You make it true (love shines)
Love shines, there can be no doubt
What this feeling is all about

Oh baby, your
Love shines, love shines so bright (so bright)
Did you know your
Love shines, love shines so bright (on and on)
On and on it will always be
Rhythm, rhyme, and harmony
Yeah baby, your
Love shines, love shines tonight (tonight)

You cast a spell
A magical revelation
And I see so well
My ultimate destination
Love shines when I think of you
(You make it happen) you make it happen
You make it true (love shines)
Love shines, there can be no doubt
What this feeling is all about

Oh baby, your
Love shines, love shines so bright (so bright)
Did you know your
Love shines, love shines so bright (on and on)
On and on it will always be
Rhythm, rhyme, and harmony
Yes baby, your
Love shines, love shines tonight (tonight)

After all the reckoning
After all the promises
All the darkness in my heart
Has gone away
Gone away
So on and on, it will always be
Rhythm, rhyme, and harmony

Yes baby, your
Love shines, love shines tonight
Oh, don't you know your
Love shines, love shines so bright
Oh baby, your
Love shines, love shines so bright



Related Off-site Links:
Fleetwood Mac Singer-Songwriter Christine McVie Dies at 79 – The Associated Press via NPR Nes (November 30, 2022).
16 Essential Christine McVie SongsRolling Stone (November 30, 2022).
Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie: A Career In Photos – Robert Lang (Deadline, November 30, 2022).
Mother Earth, Musical Prodigy Or Steely Powerhouse? The Enigma of Christine McVie – Alexis Petridis (The Guardian, December 1, 2022).
A Life of Music, Laughter and “Fantastic Friends”The National Post (Canada) via Fleetwood Mac News (December 6, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Christine McVie, 1943-2022
Fleetwood Mac’s “Seven Wonders”: My Theme Song for 1987

Previously featured musicians at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Seal | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | Carl Anderson | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo | The Breeders | Tony Enos | Tupac Shakur | Nakhane Touré | Al Green | Donald Glover/Childish Gambino | Josh Garrels | Stromae | Damiyr Shuford | Vaudou Game | Yotha Yindi and The Treaty Project | Lil Nas X | Daby Touré | Sheku Kanneh-Mason | Susan Boyle | D’Angelo | Little Richard | Black Pumas | Mbemba Diebaté | Judie Tzuke | Seckou Keita | Rahsaan Patterson | Black | Ash Dargan | ABBA | The KLF and Tammy Wynette | Luke James and Samoht | Julee Cruise | Olivia Newton-John | Dyllón Burnside


No comments: