‘Died a death': Mick Fleetwood on the surprising early fan response to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours

1977’s Rumours, it’s worth noting, wasn’t always the best-selling album in Fleetwood Mac’s career. In fact, not long after they finished it, Mick Fleetwood says the group attempted to perform the project sequentially — with disastrous results.

“We made Rumours, with all the troubles it took to make that album what it was,” Fleetwood says, on a recent edition of the Alan Titchmarsh Show. “So we went on the road and we went: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to play the whole album, from the beginning to the end?’ Died a death. … We never did that again, which is a very presumptive thing.”

Their previous studio effort, simply called Fleetwood Mac, had introduced Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham into what recently had become an ever-shifting amalgam. The duo brought a California-infused singer-songwriter sensibility to the band, and fans flocked to a string of mid-1970s Top 20 hits including “Say You Love Me,” “Rhiannon” and “Over My Head.”

As Fleetwood Mac took to the road with Rumours, its blockbuster sales (now 45 million and counting) was still well off into the future. For long-time fans, this was still “the new stuff.”

“Lesson well learned,” says Fleetwood, as the group continues a new reunion tour. “When we made Rumours, we’d made a really successful album which for us was huge. We’d sold about four or five million copies with the first album with Stevie and Lindsey, … (but) people are emotionally connected to the stuff they know.”

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