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Boomer Laments: The Chain

“The Chain” is the “signature song” of the once gigantic Fleetwood Mac. For years “The Chain” opened their concerts and, over the course of the years, “The Chain” became the coda, the epitaph, for the group as a group.

As loners, Mac went on and went on but in truth all save Stevie faded into the waters of oblivion. Lindsey? Who knows? Rejoined Mac in 2018 but was sacked pretty quickly. Fleetwood? Still in the band, and the only original member of said band, for the last 54 years. It’s his night job. Christine? Staggered away but then re-upped with the lads (sans Stevie) in 2014 to no particular notice. John McVie? Did a long slow fade but survived and was even plucking away in whatever version of the Mac had not gotten off the stage in the dimming lights of the 2010s.

Stevie? Currently some of the finest ruins to be seen in Golden Age Rock Royalty. Still belting it out and still, even in her early 70s, somebody the whole world still wants.

Here they are after their peak but still taking the groove in their stride.

Ah yes, it all seems very polished and purple and well presented. Perhaps a tad over-produced…. as we can see

. . . but then they reach down and Turn. It. On. and suddenly the overdone Vegas set fades out and

. . . and we get. . . as always. . . . creeping up on you .  . . and … soft and lulling and … and pow! an uppercut to right to your amygdala.


And in the end, the whole world wants Stevie…… 

In the end, the above version is a great roll in the groove but is still of the second intensity. We want it closer to the breaking of the chain if only to give us a place from which to measure our own broken pain.

So we turn time backward on the magic YouTube music machine to 1982 and see them do “The Chain” back when the applause and the wounds that made it happen were fresh; back when the links of The Chain were fresh forged and white hot.

This is how it went then. And. . . if you listen with fresh ears you get. . .

|||||rolling dobros ||||| swore you’d never break never break neverbreakneverbreak ||||| and then it seems like Mac could melt the ceiling and iceblast the floor with the baseline alone……. and then the whole world loves a crescendo. . . . and the world gets what it wants. . . .

And suddenly the entire world wants Stevie. Again and as usual.

Still does.

You know you do.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Randall Bridges September 17, 2022, 7:42 PM

    I was in love with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks – her voice, of course, her voice; just her voice!

    • Vanderleun September 17, 2022, 9:18 PM

      Me too.

      • Terry September 18, 2022, 10:12 AM

        Ditto that with +++

        Saw Mac at a few SF Bay Area venues way back. Have several albums in my ‘favorite’ collection.

        My ex was a super fan of the group as well.

        Good old days . . .

  • Anonymous September 17, 2022, 9:59 PM

    Buckingham and McVie in Woodinville WA several years ago at the Mont St. Michel live concert–Gads it was AWFUL !

  • Mumblix_Grumph September 17, 2022, 10:43 PM

    My 40 year crush on Stevie still shows no sign of ending any time soon…(sigh)

  • SteveS September 17, 2022, 11:33 PM

    I was hooked on Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac the first time I saw them at the Shrine Auditorium in LA in 1967.(the Shrine rivaled the Filmore in SF)
    Arguably the hardest rocking blues band ever. I stayed a huge fan through the different lineup changes and enjoyed the girls also when they joined the band even though they kinda became the “Big Mac”, IMO. But the real Fleetwood Mac for me will always be the guitar threesome of Green, Danny Kirwan, and Jeremy Spencer, along with McVie and Fleetwood. The story goes that Greenie gifted the name of the band to Fleetwood and McVie because he felt the guitarists in the group would always have a gig playing and writing whereas the other two wouldn’t. Turned out quite prophetic and an amazing gift.

  • ghostsniper September 18, 2022, 4:44 AM

    Don’t under estimate Buckingham, he drives a mean stick. And it’s a custom stick at that. Back about 1982 I was single and at a friends house and we were wasting out on everything we could get our hands on. He had HBO on the toob and there was a live concert by Buckingham. I don’t remember what song he was playing but it was all guitar work and he played like a raving maniac that knew all the tricks. My friend and I are both guitarists and we sat there silent with our yaps hanging open, never even blinking, gawking at that demon on the stage as the pounding stereo speakers connected to the receiver and TV swirled or brains. When that song was over he hit the mute button and we just sort of collapsed in a sonic vacuum. That changed my view of Lindsey Buckingham and I have never forgotten those few moments.

  • OneGuy September 18, 2022, 7:50 AM

    I have never heard that song before. I didn’t much care for that song. I’m sure I have heard some of their songs before but not that one. Never saw them before either, I mean a picture or video.

  • Dirk September 18, 2022, 8:48 AM

    O WELL!, don’t ask me what I think of you,,,,.

    Early Mac was killer!

    • Terry September 18, 2022, 10:20 AM

      Killer, yes.

      I sat in the front row at the Redwood City, Cali, Circle Star Theater (I think that was what it was called) and I swear Stevie was totally nude during the entire performance. My tongue must have been stuck to my chin. And my ears were wide open.

  • Callmelennie September 18, 2022, 10:26 AM

    Funny this. Last week was looking at a video of a lovely Fleetwood Mac song called “Hold Me” Its a duet between Kristine Mac and Lindsey Buck. And the camera focused on Christie quite a bit and I suddenly realized .. What compelling eyes she has, What a pretty lady she was.”

    I never gave her so much as a passing thought during her heyday and now I’m madly in love with her!!

    BTW, heres my cute story about the first time I heard this song. It was in a strip club. And the sexiest woman I’d ever seen started dancing in an ultra provocative manner to this very song and my very first reaction was “Gosh, what a delightful little song this is.”

    Ya think?

    • ghostsniper September 19, 2022, 6:40 AM

      Yes, I think.
      Christine was indeed a looker and had a wonderful voice but unfortunately she was shadowed by Stevie.
      I know the video you mentioned.

      My stripper gurl story.
      Circa summer 1980, “Front Room Cabaret”, corner of Western and PCH in Lomita.
      Lil strumpet stage named “Miss Peaches”, maybe 20yo, med. length blond, Cali gurl complexion, perfect proportions, fine as bone china. The song was “In The Air Tonight” and she touched ‘herself’ a lot. I’ll never forget.

      • Harry September 19, 2022, 9:07 AM

        Stripper stories, is it? Well then- A bowling alley in Windsor, Ontario, a buncha guys watching a nude woman who had most likely been lovely in the previous decade, shake her stuff, which had obviously increased since the previous decade. She had to beg for quarters to feed the jukebox between numbers. Don’t recall the songs as my one thought was, it’s time to go.

  • Joe Krill September 18, 2022, 10:42 AM

    Always liked the song but never knew its name. Thanks.

  • ghostsniper September 18, 2022, 11:45 AM

    Pretty simple lyrics.

    “The Chain”

    Listen to the wind blow
    Watch the sun rise
    Run in the shadows
    Damn your love
    Damn your lies

    And if you don’t love me now
    You will never love me again
    I can still hear you saying
    You would never break the chain

    Listen to the wind blow
    Down comes the night
    Run in the shadows
    Damn your love
    Damn your lies

    Break the silence
    Damn the dark
    Damn the light

    And if you don’t love me now
    You will never love me again
    I can still hear you saying
    You would never break the chain

    Chain, keep us together
    Running in the shadows

  • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) September 18, 2022, 1:45 PM

    FM was a stellar band, its members rather quirky, but extremely talented. To the extent that anyone wanted or still wants Ms. Nix, it seems that she accommodated quite a few, uh, “suitors” over the years. Her record on abortions is not quite up there, but I would say that four (admitted) would still put her in rarified (not in a good way) company. I can only hope that she has repented and put herself into the care of Jesus or will do so before her earthly life ends and eternity begins. Notwithstanding, I do like FM’s music, both pre- and post- Buckingham-Nix. I also like the music produced by the eponymously named Buckingham Nix as well as Ms. Nix’ solo efforts. Not a big fan of unorthodox false vibrato, but on her is sounds pretty good. My only real cavil is that Clintons used their music with their permission.

    • Jack September 19, 2022, 6:51 AM

      All good points, Barrister. I am probably one of the few red and hot blooded American males, formerly but certainly not now and completely repentant, who never got excited about Nicks. She always gave me a case of the creeps and that vibrato you mentioned was repellant. Her schtick of wearing the same old dreary black occult rags and stanky-ass black high heeled boots while she spun around whacking the crap out of her tambourine were as off putting as her voice.

      And, along with her abortions, I would wager this girl child played host to a witches brew of STDs but we’ll never know. Even rock stars won’t add that to their generally loathsome resumes.

      As for the rest of the band, all are stellar and I will add kudos to Christine’s voice. Listen to her solo stuff.

  • Mike Seyle September 18, 2022, 3:06 PM

    Being from, though not living in, Texas … not sure in my 74 years I’ve run across “cavil.” Had to look it up. The things a person learns here. It probably won’t hold though; I’ll forget by tomorrow noon.

  • Jim September 18, 2022, 7:17 PM

    Fantastic band. Fantastic use of cocaine as well. Lindsey looks like he finished off most of the gram on the table before this set. Amazing guitar player. I don’t think hes using a pik, must have tough fingers. Stevie is, well, hot. signature voice.

  • MMinWA September 19, 2022, 3:46 AM

    Been a fan through all of their iterations. Love the 3 albums when Bob Welch was lead. Like Lindsey, a killer guitar player.

  • Ambiguousfrog September 19, 2022, 11:00 AM

    Not a musician, but is that a somewhat unorthodox way of playing guitar? It obviously works though.
    I remember in the early 80’s knowing a girl’s older sister was almost a spitting image of Nicks. Hubba Hubba. Based on all that I’ve seen and read, Nicks “may” have sold her soul for fame. Sometimes age has a way of making you come around, hopefully before it’s too late. I could do without some of their hits, but I love “Tusk”. Being a kid of the eighties brought these bands into my living room. After three channels of UHV/VHF with rabbit ears, cable was like landing on the moon. MTV was a great invention until it destroyed itself and is anything but music today.

  • Oh Well September 19, 2022, 11:20 AM

    Completely loved Fleetwood Mac right up through Mystery to Me and the end of the Bob Welch era, but really disliked what the band became thereafter. Peter Green, of course, but also Danny Kirwan deserved special respect And Christine, some very nice songs from her. Never cared for Stevie, and despised Lindsay then and now.

  • Anonymous September 19, 2022, 11:40 AM

    Let me modify my hearing cute story a bit, so that, you know, it tracks the actual reality. It did take place in a strip club, which I patronized quite a bit for a couple of year in my late twenties. The dancer was much younger than me, maybe 19 and was more cute than sexy. (But really cute) So I didnt react to her in a sexual way

    She and the song were a perfect match of charm. So, yeah, that really was my primary reaction, “What a charming song.”

  • Anonymous September 19, 2022, 5:11 PM

    doesn’t get played enough.

  • Hoss September 20, 2022, 5:26 AM

    I’m in the minority but I always thought that of the 2 women, McVie had the better voice.

  • Nori September 20, 2022, 10:25 PM

    True,Hoss. McVie does have the better voice. Stevie’s is thinner & reedier,but her delivery made paint melt from metal. Searing. DAMN your love,DAMN your lies. Whatever she and Lindsey had as Buckingham Nicks went Mount Saint Helens,and has never recovered.
    Enormously talented band,in all of its iterations.
    A fond wish of mine is that Stevie & Lindsey would remaster their debut LP Buckingham Nicks (they have the rights to it) but Lindsey said a few years ago that “inertia” prevented it.
    Or the eerily prophetic Frozen Love.