On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1977)
We’re staying in the UK and continuing to hang out in London. As we’re already here it seems rude not to check in once again with Fleetwood Mac and, oh my, how things have changed. We last saw them in 1969 with Oh Well Parts 1 & 2. Since then the line-up has altered dramatically with drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist, John McVie, remaining. In 1970 McVie married session musician, Christine Perfect, who joined in 1970. The group recruited and replaced various guitarists before folk duo, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, came into play. In 1975 Fleetwood wanted Buckingham to join the band but he agreed only on the condition that Nicks was on board too. We pick up their story in 1977 with the album, Rumours. It’s not going well. Fleetwood has separated from his wife, the McVies have divorced and Buckingham and Nicks have also separated. The album would capture these breakups and 1001 Songs could not resist going with Go Your Own Way.
Go Your Own Way was written by Lindsey Buckingham and was his way of healing after his breakup with Stevie Nicks. In the song the narrator is very much the hurt party. He wants to give his former lover everything, the whole world if he can, but she is not interested and comes across as ungrateful, or at least that’s what we’re being told. In one line, the narrator dismisses this woman by saying all she wants is to be “shacking up” with other men. This line caused particular anger in Stevie Nicks who would have to sing the track live many times and resented the untruth behind it. Despite her protestations, Buckingham refused to take out the lyric. In the end, the narrator uses the refrain of “go your own way”, a dismissal of this person, but we can tell he is convinced her path won’t be as good as the one she’d have had with him.
Go Your Own Way is one of Fleetwood Mac’s best-known and best-loved tracks. The music is a dream and Buckingham’s vocals are fantastic. He is ably supported by the backing vocals of McVie and Nicks who demonstrates the utmost professionalism in performing on the song to begin with. Out of the upheaval and strain of relationships falling apart, Fleetwood Mac released the album, Rumours, which sold more than 40 million copies and became one of the biggest sellers in history. The fractured line-up continued for another decade but by the late 1980s both Buckingham and Nicks had departed, leaving the group’s glorious years behind them.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (1975)
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1977)