Friday, July 24, 2009

Two Songs

In late 1976, Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, which would go on to become one of the most famous blockbuster albums of all time - the kind of thing that just doesn't happen anymore. Over the course of the next 18 months, there was rarely a time when you could turn on the radio and not hear a Fleetwood Mac song. And on those rare times that you didn't hear a Fleetwood Mac song, you probably heard something off of the Eagles' Hotel California.

The first single from Rumours was "Go Your Own Way" - predictably, it became a hit, but not a huge one. It didn't make it all the way to #1, and I'm not even sure that it made it into the Top 5.

In the late spring of '77, "Dreams" was released as a single - and it quickly rocketed to the top of the charts:

There's no question today which is the greater song. While "Dreams" is a good song, "Go Your Own Way" is a bonafide rock classic. Lindsey Buckingham doesn't get a lot of credit as a lead guitarist, but he absolutely shreds his solo here, and to this day I think it stands up to anything that Jimmy Page was doing at the time (there's a historical reason I make that comparison, but I'll save that story for another day). But the thing that has always struck me about the song is Mick Fleetwood's drumming - it sounds less like drumming than it does a man who is locked inside a burning house, pounding on the door for someone to let him out. A man with his life at stake.

When I listen to "Go Your Own Way" today, it doesn't conjure up any particular memories of the time that it was released. It feels as if it is of today, and that I'm hearing it for the first time. With "Dreams," it's exactly the opposite story. Every time I hear it, I'm immediately transported back to the Summer of 1977. I can remember what I was feeling, what I was doing, and almost as if I can smell the burgers that I was flipping at McDonalds at the time. It's as if the song is trapped in 1977, and it can't get out.

I don't know if there's any great meaning in that, but I do find it interesting.


larry aydlette said...

It struck me the other day that while he has written many good songs, Buckingham has made a career off writing one great song: Go Your Own Way. Of course, that and breaking up with Stevie Nicks and playing guitar most awesomely.

Jeff said...

Good point Larry, although I might be tempted to nominate "Tusk" as a great song - if only for its transcendent weirdness.