Happy 35th: Fleetwood Mac, MIRAGE
35 years ago this month, Fleetwood Mac released their 13th studio album, and while 13 might be an unlucky number for some, it proved to be pretty fortuitous for the band.
Well, at least in terms of the album’s success, anyway: it topped the Billboard 200.
Recorded variously at Le Chateau in Herouville, France and at two different studios in Los Angeles (Larabee Sound Studios and the Record Plant), the process of recording MIRAGE began more than a year after Fleetwood Mac had finished their touring obligations behind TUSK. During that downtime, both Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had kicked off their respective solo careers in earnest – with the albums LAW AND ORDER and BELLA DONNA, respectively – but it didn’t stop either of them from bringing some truly fine pop songs to the sessions.
The same could be said of Christine McVie, whose “Love in Store,” co-written with Jim Recor, kicked off MIRAGE and – upon being released as a single – hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. McVie also contributed the single “Hold Me,” a co-write with Robbie Patton that climbed all the way to #4. Buckingham’s contribution to the album’s list of singles was “Oh Diane,” which was a top-10 hit in the UK. It did not, however, chart in the States, which is the same fate that happened to “Love in Store” in the US. Go figure.
Although “Hold Me” was the single that charted the highest for MIRAGE, it’s arguable that the song that’s provided the album with the most airplay over the years is actually Nicks’ “Gypsy.” Despite concluding its chart climb at #12, it still remains one of Fleetwood Mac’s most played songs, heard far more often than any of its brethren on the album it calls home.
As noted, MIRAGE was a chart-topping success, but it’s important to note how big a deal that was at the time: as a result of the band’s 1979 album TUSK failing to match the mind-blowing sales of its predecessor, RUMOURS, Fleetwood Mac hadn’t topped the chart with an album in five years. As such, it could truly be said that MIRAGE was a comeback album for the band. Unfortunately, it would be another five years before they delivered a follow-up, but that’s a story for another time.