As rock groups go, few have histories that read as interesting as Fleetwood Mac. Fueled by intra-band romantic entanglements and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, the quintet’s legendary breakups, makeups, and dustups would seem the entire reason VH1′s Behind The Music was birthed in the first place.
Fleetwood Mac was actually the focus of the series’ fourth-ever episode, following Milli Vanilli, M.C. Hammer, and Boy George. The hour-long recounting of the band’s twists and turns originally aired on September 7, 1997, the same year that Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks reunited for a live performance and album, The Dance. Recorded in May and released in August (accompanied by an MTV special), The Dance was the classic lineup’s first album together since 1987′s Tango In The Night.
Besides presenting Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits (“Rhiannon,” “Big Love,” “Don’t Stop,” et al.), The Dance featured a few new compositions too, but it was an existing Rumours-era B-side that ran away with the spotlight. The Nicks-penned “Silver Springs” was excluded from the band’s legendary 1977 album, reportedly because of its running time, and was instead relegated to the flip of first single, “Go Your Own Way.” Nicks says it was “one of the most devastating things anybody has ever done to me in my life.”
Twenty years later, the live version of “Silver Springs” from The Dance was released as a single and the heretofore hidden classic became a hit. Bubbling just under the Top 40, “Silver Springs” did reach #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart and also garnered Nicks a Grammy nomination.
Li’s reverb-heavy cover has an immediacy that is completely captivating, making it impossible to multi-task while listening to her version. And as you’re sure to notice while listening with rapt attention, Li sounds eerily like Stevie Nicks in parts.
Featuring 19 tracks, Just Tell Me That You Want Me covers the bases, even tackling the pre-Buckingham/Nicks days when Fleetwood Mac played the blues. But it’s the new takes on the band’s better known tunes that I recommend. Antony offers a lovely, spare-framed version of “Landslide,” Best Coast gives “Rihannon” a slight ’60s girl group makeover, and musician/model Karen Elson slips into the haunting “Gold Dust Woman” and runs off into the wilderness. As for covers of Fleetwood Mac album tracks, Marianne Faithful’s world-worn delivery is well-matched with “Angel” (from 1979′s Tusk), while Washed Out also brings a hazy urgency to “Straight Back” (from 1982′s Mirage).
Not odd that I would be most attracted to the tracks written by Nicks (whom I do have big love for), and less so since the overwhelming majority of the songs on Just Tell Me That You Want Me (10 out of 19) are her creations. You can give the whole album a spin below if you like.