Whenever a Fleetwood Mac song comes on, everyone around me goes gah-gah. I admit that the Rumours album is a good one, but I just don’t feel it like everyone else does. The other month, I tried to figure out why that is.
At karaoke, many of my girlfriends want to sing Fleetwood Mac songs. I don’t know the words to any of the songs. I can sing the chorus to some of them (falling, falling, falling), but mostly I don’t have a clue. What are the names of the songs on Rumours? I literally have no idea.
I went to a large Halloween party last year at a woman’s house. She was sort of dressed like a witch, but the hat was wrong. She wore a blond wig, the hair as straight as straw.
“Who are you supposed to be?” I asked.
“Well, duh, Susan! I’m Stevie Nicks.”
My mind had to stop and think, reaching into those dusty filing cabinet drawers inside my head. Stevie Nicks? Fleetwood Mac? Yes, I think so.
I’ve never been known for my rock-and-roll-facts detailed brain, but if a friend says something is a Beatles song, I can answer with 100% certainty whether or not that is true, plus I can tell them which Beatle wrote it, sang lead, and whether or not Ringo was in the band yet.
But I digress.
Younger friends love Fleetwod Mac. I finally Googled Rumours to see when the album dropped. Aha! It all started to make sense to me.
You see, I was out of the country when the album was released, for four months. I was doing my student teaching abroad, an unusual thing back in the 70s. My university had an arrangement with two schools in Latin America. I had wanted to student-teach in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, but those slots were filled. Instead, I went to Caracas, Venezuela, with another student from ISU.
In those days the world was bigger than it is now. Countries weren’t as connected. People in Venezuela listened to Venezuelan music, mostly salsa. I’ll never forget my first venture into a pitch-black bar, where you brought your own liquor but paid for the glasses, mixes, and the ambiance. How many people went all the way in those dark booths? The guy I was with (on a double date) didn’t get a kiss or even a hug. He got nada!
Meanwhile, my roommate and partner in crime was laughing and having a great time in the dark with her guy, only inches away from us. It was a school night, so we didn’t stay long. My ears rang for hours after we got out of there.
Back to Fleetwood Mac. When I returned from South America, I went straight to student-teaching high school Spanish at Dowling High in Des Moines. The teacher I was paired with was an old nun who had earned her masters’ degree in the subjunctive tense. Her students spent hours conjugating verbs on the chalkboard and deciding if sentences should have regular verbs or subjunctive verbs. Nary a word of Spanish was spoken in class, and those kids were juniors!
I didn’t have time to think about rock and roll music. I’d come home (yes, living with parents for a couple of months), eat dinner, watch some mindless TV, get my lesson plans ready for the next day, and fall into bed.
In June, I left for two months in Spain where I’d earn my last college credits. I flew home the day after Elvis died. Newspaper at airport – ELVIS IS DEAD. I hadn’t seen English headlines in nine weeks.
I graduated college the next day on August 18th and headed to my first teaching job in rural Nebraksa. If a Rumours song came on the car radio, I’d listen to it, maybe even tap my fingers on the steering wheel, but I still wasn’t that excited.
1977 was a whirlwind year for me. I missed the boat (of fandom) for Fleetwood Mac.