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RAT Rock News

Rumours, the landmark album from Fleetwood Mac, is an absolute monster, both critically and commercially.

There are countless breakup songs across the musical landscape, but Rumours — released on February 4, 1977 — is much more than that; it’s a breakup album that happens to be dripping with the band’s coked-out excess. The making of Rumours, of course, is famous for everyone in the band breaking up with each other and its other “indulgences.”  (AKA: So much cocaine it would make Tony Montana blush.)

Truthfully, personal lives absolutely falling apart have never sounded so catty and catchy at once as they do on Rumours. Between the divorce filing of John McVie and Christine McVie, the breakup of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (and Nicks’ eventual “shacking up” with Mick Fleetwood) and Mick Fleetwood’s own marriage on the rocks after his wife had an affair, the band weren’t exactly hurting for material.

In short, Rumours is the ultimate cheating/break-up record. In honor of its anniversary, here are 30 facts about the iconic album.

RELATED: Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’: 5 Best Lyrical Burns about Relationships

  • 1. The production costs on ‘Rumours’ were insane.

    After recording over the course of nearly a year, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours racked up a production bill of nearly $1 million. When adjusted for inflation, that’s about $4.85 million in 2022. Co-producer Ken Caillat told MusicRadar, “Something like ‘Rumours’ could never happen these days. A record label would have shut us down after two weeks.”

  • 2. Yes, a significant amount of the recording costs did go to drugs.

    Cocaine use during the making of Rumours is now legendary. While an exact budgetary line about all the lines is not known, the band’s coke use would help inspire “Gold Dust Woman.” 

  • 3. No, Fleetwood Mac did not thank their dealer in the liner notes.

    However, they sure did want to. Mick Fleetwood shared in his 1990 memoir Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac they decided against it because, “Unfortunately, he got snuffed – executed! – before the thing came out.” Yikes!

  • 4. ‘Rumours’ has moved 45 million copies worldwide.

    So, even though the entire band was dealing with relationship issues, at least their cumulative pain yielded massive success.

  • 5. In the United States alone, 'Rumours' has sold 20 million copies.

    The Recording Industry Association of America awards albums “Diamond” status when they sell ten million copies. Rumours is one of only 12 albums to ever achieve “Double Diamond” status, or to sell at least 20 million copies. Those other LPs are:

    -Shania Twain’s Come On Over (20 million)
    -Hootie & the Blowfish’s
    Cracked Rear View (21 million)
    -Garth Brooks’
    Double Live (21 million)
    -Pink Floyd’s
    The Wall (23 million)
    -Billy Joel’s
    Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II (23 million)
    -The Beatles’
    The Beatles (24 million)
    -Led Zeppelin’s
    Led Zeppelin IV (24 million)
    Back in Black (25 million)
    Hotel California (26 million)
    -Michael Jackson’s
    Thriller (34 million)
    Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (38 million.)

  • 6. Considering how commercially successful it was, ‘Rumours’ spent plenty of time on the ‘Billboard’ 200 Album Chart.

    Rumours has spent 31 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200 Album chart and has appeared on the chart for 461 weeks since its release. All four of the LP’s singles cracked the Billboard Hot 100 top 10: “Go Your Own Way” peaked at #10, “You Make Loving Fun” peaked at #9, “Don’t Stop” peaked at #3 and “Dreams” hit #1.

  • 7. ‘Rumours’ had four songs released as singles (even though any track could’ve easily been a single), but ‘Dreams’ was the only single to top the ‘Billboard’ Hot 100 Chart.

    Fun fact: “Dreams” remains Fleetwood Mac’s only single to top the Hot 100 Chart in the band’s history.

  • 8. An unexpected viral video caused ‘Dreams’ to re-enter the Hot 100.

    Who can forget when Nathan Apodaca casually skateboarded into all of our hearts drinking straight from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry and lip-synced this classic? It was truly one of the most joyous moments of 2020, and it led to “Dreams” re-entering the Hot 100 at #21 on the week of October 17, 2020. It was the first time the track was on the chart since 1977.


  • 9. Many people recreated the ‘Dreams’ viral video, even Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham themselves!

    Don’t believe me? Just watch these legends put their own spin on the clip.


    @420doggface208 had it right. Dreams and Cranberry just hits different. #Dreams #CranberryDreams #FleetwoodMac

    ♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) - Fleetwood Mac


  • 10. Stevie Nicks was the sole writer on ‘Dreams,’ which she wrote in 10 minutes while in Sly Stone’s bed.

    Now, it’s not as salacious as it sounds, but at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California where Fleetwood Mac recorded part of Rumours, there was an unused studio in the building that contained a bed that was initially built for Stone. Nicks said in an interview with Blender, “It was a black-and-red room, with a sunken pit in the middle where there was a piano, and a big black-velvet bed with Victorian drapes. I sat down on the bed with my keyboard in front of me. I found a drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote ‘Dreams’ in about 10 minutes.”   

  • 11. ‘Second Hand News’ was sampled by Kid Rock for his track “Wasting Time” off his 1998 breakthrough album ‘Devil Without a Cause.’

    The track boasted the lyric, “And rollin’ a Fleetwood that’s how I mack.” Devil Without a Cause would go on to sell 11 million copies in the United States.


  • 12. The recording of ‘Never Going Back Again’ was likely a guitar tech’s nightmare.

    Co-producer of Rumours Ken Caillat said of recording the track, “A lot of our focus shifted to Lindsey and his acoustic guitar. I noticed that anytime he played, there was a big different in how bright his strings sounded after just 20 minutes. So I said, ‘Can we restring your guitar every 20 minutes?’ I wanted to get the best sound on every one of his picking parts. He said sure.”

    This whole process lasted a day, but then there was a problem.

    Caillat said, “…When Lindsey went to sing, he realized that he played all of his guitar parts in the wrong key. Oh, man! So we recorded everything all over again the next day, dispensing with the changing of guitar strings – we had to lose all of that so we could get Lindsey singing in the right key.”


  • 13. Christine McVie has the most sole writer credits on ‘Rumours.’

    McVie is the sole writer listed on the following tracks: “Don’t Stop,” “Songbird,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Oh Daddy.”

  • 14. ‘Don’t Stop’ famously served as the theme to Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

    The band was even persuaded to reunite for the first time since 1982 to perform “Don’t Stop” at the inaugural ball in 1993.

  • 15. ‘Go Your Own Way’ was crucially inspired by the Rolling Stones.

    Caillat said of the track, “The right drum approach was crucial. One day, Lindsey came in and said he heard Street Fighting Man by the Stones, and he thought that kind of feel would work well. I remember watching him guide Mick as to what he wanted – he’d be so animated, like a little kid, playing these air tom fills with his curly hair flying. Mick wasn’t so sure he could do what Lindsey wanted, but he did a great job, and the song took off.”

  • 16. John McVie almost (allegedly) killed Lindsey Buckingham during the recording process.

    Per U.K’s Far Out Magazine, “For Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie however, spending time with one another was torture. They found no solace in each other’s company and ended up butting heads on multiple occasions. During one notable recording session, McVie threw a glass bottle of vodka at Buckingham’s head, screaming at him all the while.”

    I mean, at least he didn’t throw the cocaine. Speaking of…

  • 17. The producers of ‘Rumours’ pulled a prank on the band involving their coke stash.

    Per Uncut, “Throughout the ‘Rumours’ sessions, a black velvet bag of cocaine held pride of place under the mixing desk. Every so often, one or other member of the band would demand another hit. One day, engineer Ken Caillat substituted a dummy bag full of talcum powder. When it was next called for, he tipped the bag upside down and emptied the contents all over the floor. McVie and Fleetwood were about to kill him when the laughter of producer Richard Dashut, seated alongside Caillat, made them realize they’d been hoaxed.”

  • 18. ‘Songbird’ was written in just 30 minutes.

    Christine McVie said of the moving piano ballad in a June 2017 interview with People, “For some peculiar reason I wrote ‘Songbird’ in half an hour. I’ve never been able to figure out how I did that. I woke up in the middle of the night and the song was there in my brain, chords lyrics melody, everything. I played it in my bedroom and didn’t have anything to tape it on. So I had to stay awake all night so I wouldn’t forget it and I came in the next morning to the studio and had [producer] Ken Callait put it on a 2-track. That was how the song ended up being. I don’t know where that came from. I wished it would happen more often, but it hasn’t.”

  • 19. ‘The Chain’ is the lone song on ‘Rumours’ where each band member received a writing credit.

    It’s pretty safe to assume the only reason there’s one song on Rumours everyone in the band contributed to was due to all of the tension between the five members. (Once again, the cocaine probably didn’t help either.)

  • 20. ‘The Chain’ took nearly a year to write, record and mix.

    Callait said, “[It was] the very first song we worked on…Over the next nine months, we’d revisit the song. There was great playing on tape, but it still wasn’t right. Finally, three weeks before we wrapped the album, Lindsey figured out how to connect everything. He took the verses apart, played a Dobro and asked Mick to play a straight quarter-note beat on the kick. Next, Lindsey rewrote the chorus and put a whole new rhythm to it. Everything clicked. ‘The Chain’ changed drastically over the course of a year, but there was something about it that always made people think it was worth coming back to.”

  • 21. ‘You Make Loving Fun’ is about an affair, but Christine McVie told John McVie it was initially about something else entirely.

    Surprise! Another song about cheating! While “You Make Loving Fun” was written by Christine McVie about her affair with Fleetwood Mac’s lighting director, she told then-husband/bassist John McVie it was about her dog.

  • 22. ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ made ‘Rumours’ largely due to its length.

    Caillat recalled, “We had a song called ‘Silver Springs’ that couldn’t make the record because it was too long. That broke Stevie’s heart – she loved Silver Springs so much. But we needed something shorter, a little uptempo, and out came this kind of country thing she and Lindsey had been doing live.”

  • 23. ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ remains the one track from ‘Rumours’ Fleetwood Mac hasn’t performed live.

    According to Setlist.fm, “I Don’t Want to Know” has never been part of a Fleetwood Mac setlist ever. Perhaps it’s because it made the album instead of “Silver Springs” and having it on the setlist was one fight not worth having. Who’s to say?

  • 24. ‘Silver Springs’ was released as the b-side to ‘Go Your Own Way’ and would be nominated for a Grammy…over 20 years after it was recorded.

    It’s rather appropriate “Silver Springs” was released as the b-side to “Go You Own Way,” since it was written by Nicks about her breakup with Buckingham. The track got its own single release in 1997 from the band’s live LP The Dance. It would receive a Grammy nomination in 1998 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo of Group with Vocals but would lose out to Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity.”


  • 25. ‘Oh Daddy’ was last performed live by Fleetwood Mac in 1997.

    Written by Christine McVie, “Oh Daddy” was inspired by Mick Fleetwood, who was the only father in the band at that time, even though some allege the track was another track about McVie’s affair with Fleetwood Mac’s lighting director. According to Setlist.fm, the last time the band played the track live was on November 30, 1997 at the USAir Arena in Landover, MD. 

  • 26. Of course there’s a story behind the balls on the ‘Rumours’ album cover.

    According to NME, “The balls proudly hanging between [Mick] Fleetwood’s legs on the cover were already a staple of his stage get-up and were in fact toilet chains half-inched from a club the ‘Mac played in their formative years.” 

  • 27. Cognac had an important role in the recording of ‘Gold Dust Woman’

    Caillat said of “Gold Dust Woman,”Stevie had a lot of Courvoisier in her, and she did this incredible coyote-like howling at the end. She had become this witch she was always writing about. To accentuate her vocals, Mick went into this room we had miked up, and he broke sheets of glass. He was wearing goggles and coveralls – it was pretty funny. He just went mad, bashing glass with this big hammer. He tried to do it on cue, but it was difficult. Eventually, we said, ‘Just break the glass,’ and we fit it all in.”

  • 28. ‘Rumours’ won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1977.

    The LP beat out some stiff competition, too. Also nominated for Record of the Year was the Star Wars soundtrack, James Taylor’s JT, Eagles’ Hotel California and Steely Dan’s Aja.

  • 29. ‘Rumours’ is part of the Grammy Hall of Fame.

    The LP was inducted in 2003. Per the Recording Academy, “The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame was established by the Recording Academy’s National Trustees in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old.”

  • 30. ‘Rumours’ was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2018.

    In the press release of the announcement, it was noted of the tension-filled recording of Rumours, “…the group had a sense that the songs were so strong, they not only endured, they prevailed.”

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