It was the spring of 1998. Stevie Nicks had rejoined the powerhouse rock group Fleetwood Mac, and together the band recorded a live album (The Dance), performed a concert for PBS, and went on tour. Arenas sold out across the nation, and a band who had broken up, reunited, performed with only a partial cast, and was nearly 20 years past their prime suddenly were relevant again.
Make no mistake about it, had it not been for Stevie Nicks rejoining the band, those arenas would have never sold out, The Dance would have never happened, and Fleetwood Mac would never have re-emerged.
However, without Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac would have never happened in the first place. They would have remained some obscure blues band lost on the streets of London in the 1970s.
During The Dance tour, the spotlight was on Nicks. However, on the left side of the stage, behind the keyboard, was the driving force behind the band’s success. McVie not only wrote many of their hits (Say You Love Me, Don’t Stop, You Make Loving Fun, Hold Me, Little Lies, and Save Me, among others), her vocals and keyboards were part of the sound that distinguished Fleetwood Mac from other groups.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were both in the spotlight, but either one of them could leave (and they did), and the band could go on (and it did). You could place anybody at base guitar, and no one would miss John McVie. And while Mick Fleetwood’s personality behind the drum kit was very noticeable, truth is you could place any professional drummer there and keep the sound of Fleetwood Mac.
However, remove Christine’s lyrical prose, harmonious voice holding the sound together, and soothing keyboard notes, and you’ve lost Fleetwood Mac altogether.
What makes Christine McVie so great, and unique, in the music industry was her ability to blend into a background role, and to cherish that role. In an interview with Sirius XM, she once stated “I never saw myself as a solo artist.” She understood her role in Fleetwood Mac, how it was key to their success, and she relished it.
One of the hallmarks of the music industry of the late 70s and early 80s were the artists who would leave successful supergroups in order to strike out on their own, and put their own name and image out there. Nicks did it. Buckingham did it. Belinda Carlile (The Go-Gos) did it, as did Ozzy Osbourne. But for McVie, she was content to keep the supergroup together and going. In fact, her forays into a solo career only came with the absence of Fleetwood Mac.
And that’s why I think the world needs more Christine McVie’s. We need more people who are happy to work together to build wonderful things while doing great things, for the good of others as opposed to pursuing the endless goal of self-glorification. We need more people who see the importance of their role and fill it, as opposed to begrudging the fact they don’t have the spotlight. That’s what we call “humility.”
And we need more people stepping up to make real contributions to society. Yes, the world needs more Christine McVies.