Fleetwood Mac, ‘Rumours (Expanded Edition)’ — Album Review
Breakup albums don’t get much better than ‘Rumours,’ Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 blockbuster that was recorded as band members went through various stages of relationship adjustment. When they made their breakthrough self-titled album in 1975, Fleetwood Mac included two couples, one married; by the time ‘Rumours’ was released, they were broken up. Listen to the record, and you’ll get an idea what happened.
The ‘Expanded Edition’ of ‘Rumours’ – which includes a disc of live tracks and a CD of outtakes and alternate versions – makes things even more clear. In an early take of Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Go Your Own Way,’ he sings “You can roll like thunder,” a direct reference to former girlfriend Stevie Nicks’ lyric in ‘Dreams’ -- “Thunder only happens when it’s raining.” The additional line makes a bitchy breakup song even bitchier.
And that’s where this ‘Expanded Edition,’ which tacks on 29 songs to the original ‘Rumours,’ earns its price tag (there’s also a new deluxe that includes a DVD, vinyl copy of ‘Rumours’ and a CD of outtakes that was included in the 2004 reissue). The early, sometimes raw versions of these familiar tracks are occasionally revealing, especially Buckingham’s sketchier cuts, like early takes of ‘Second Hand News’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Know,’ where he’s finding universal footing on deeply personal songs.
Nicks’ tracks, on the other hand, are mostly fully formed here. In fact, an early take of ‘Silver Springs’ – one of her best songs, initially left off ‘Rumours’ but reinstated here and on the 2004 reissue as part of the original album – is better than the released version. A handful of other leftovers (including one from the band’s other singer-songwriter, Christine McVie) were wisely left off the 1977 masterpiece.
The live cuts, taken from a few different shows on the 1977 tour, don’t stray far from the studio versions. Most are ‘Rumours’ songs, with a few from ‘Fleetwood Mac’ (‘Monday Morning,’ ‘Rhiannon’ and a rumbling ‘World Turning’) tossed in. The heart of the reissue – besides the original album, of course, which still sounds like one of the most perfect records ever made – is the new sides of old favorites. They’re the scars that ‘Rumours’ tried to cover.