Fleetwood Mac Week: “Big Love”

It’s Day 6—the penultimate day—of Fleetwood Mac Week. Most of the songs I’ve shown, like this one, are from “The Dance“. That was a 1997 concert in Burbank, California later released as an album. One reader kvetched about my using so many tracks from one place. I’m doing that because a). it was an absolutely fantastic live performance—as good as the albums, I think, and b). it was in effect a “greatest hits” concert, containing many of my favorite songs.

This is one of them. (I believe I posted it a few years back.) Big Love was written by Lindsey Buckingham, who performs it here on solo acoustic guitar. I was impressed by his ability to both play a complicated guitar riff and sing extremely soulfully at the same time. This also shows off his formidable but underappreciated skills on the axe, and the solo that begins at 1:24 is fantastic.

Some background from Wikipedia:

“Big Love” was written by Lindsey Buckingham, and was originally going to be part of his third solo album which he began working on in 1985, but the project became a Fleetwood Mac album instead. The song epitomised the stylised production techniques used on the [Tango in the Night] album, with its provocative “oh – ahh” male/female vocal exchange [“female” voice not present in this version]. Though many assumed the female “ahh” to be Stevie Nicks, it was actually Lindsey Buckingham performing both, created by way of his voice being sampled and altered in the studio to mimic that of a woman. The sample was aired several times on Late Night with David Letterman, where Letterman told viewers they were hearing the sounds of CPR.

Since Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac in 1987 (shortly after Tango in the Night was released), the band never performed “Big Love” live until his return in 1997. It was in 1993, on his first solo tour, that Buckingham performed a guitar-only version of the song. In 1997, he performed it in the same style on Fleetwood Mac’s live album and video The Dance. It also appeared on the second volume of Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown film soundtrack. Buckingham continues to perform the song on Fleetwood Mac and solo tours.

The originally recorded version came from the album “Tango in the Night” (1987), and you can hear it here. I find the solo version far superior. Another all-acoustic version, from 2008, is here (he appears to be wearing cowboy boots).  Buckingham hadn’t lost a lick in 11 years.

12 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    A fine beginning for a Wednesday.

  2. Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I never liked Fleetwood Mac.

    I’m more a YES kinda guy with vestiges of Meat Puppets in the mix. 🙂

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted March 8, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      My only knowledge of The Meat Puppets comes from Nirvana Unplugged. Cobain was a big fan. The Meat Puppets songs he covered on that album didn’t strike me as anything particularly special, but then maybe they lost something in transition.

      Growing up as a putative music snob I always thought Fleetwood Mac were a byword for MOR – but as I’ve grown up I’ve also grown to like some of their stuff. I think they’ve become more influential as well, particularly on mid-noughties bands like Midlake in particular, but also Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver maybe.

      • darrelle
        Posted March 8, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        When I read The Met Puppets I thought The Meatmen, as in We’re The Meatmen . . . And You Suck! I don’t really know The Meat Puppets, but I like The Meatmen.

        Now I’ve got a War Of The Superbikes earworm.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted March 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I just went and listened to the Meatmen and War Of The Superbikes. Never heard of them before but they made me laugh. Black Flag meets The Cramps meets South Park.

          • darrelle
            Posted March 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

            🙂 Good characterization!

  3. Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Heard this song countless times but never knew who sang it! Thanks.

  4. Ken Elliott
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    That’s a great rendition. Buckingham has two qualities of which I have always been envious, a good singing voice, and the ability to play the guitar. I’d settle for one or the other, but, alas, have no capacity for either.

    I’ve always loved Fleetwood Mac, from the very first time I heard the soulful “Rhiannon”, one of my favorite all time songs. I’ve been away from WEIT for Fleetwood Mac Week, so don’t know if Jerry has posted any versions of “Rhiannon” yet. There is a brilliant live version of that song in which Stevie Nicks lets loose at the traditional end of the song that has always eluded me in terms of owning or accessing it. I haven’t tried in a few years, though, and YouTube has grown quite a bit since the first decade of our new century, so I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.

    • Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Yes, “Rhiannon” was up two days ago:

      https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/fleetwood-mac-rhiannon/

      • Ken Elliott
        Posted March 8, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Jerry. I had just found it as well. From a link a commenter posted with an earlier version of “Rhiannon” I found the one from 1976 that has haunted me since that day. Watching and listening I was transported back to my freshman year in college, when in the Student Union Building this video from the old “Midnight Special” show was playing and I immediately fell in love with Stevie Nicks. Watching this just now gave me both goosebumps and tears! I didn’t think that was possible anymore. https://youtu.be/IT1q7L4QA0A

        • darrelle
          Posted March 8, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          Nice find.

  5. rickflick
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Here’s Buckingham demonstrating guitar technique and playing Big Love in a seminar setting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBSWt0b4K8E


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] via Fleetwood Mac Week: “Big Love” — Why Evolution Is True […]

%d bloggers like this: