Rock Matriarch Christine McVie’s Legacy Will “Keep On Going” Forever

Christine McVie, one of rock music’s greatest singer/songwriters and performers, died Wednesday, November 30, at the age of 79. The high-water mark of her career was her three-decade career as a member of Fleetwood Mac.

She was born Christine Anne Perfect.

Perfect’s musical career began to blossom when she joined Chicken Shack, a great British band with Andy Silvester and Stan Webb. She was with them from 1967 to 1969 and recorded two albums: 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve (1968) and O.K. Ken? (1969).

Chicken Shack

Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac were both signed to Blue Horizon Records in England, and Peter Green asked Perfect to play piano on FMac’s 1968 album Mr. Wonderful. In 1970, she recorded her solo album Christine Perfect. She also became Christine McVie after her marriage to John McVie, FMac’s only bass player.

At the time, the Fleetwood Mac (1.0) lineup included Peter Green, guitar, vocals; Jeremy Spencer, guitar, vocals; Danny Kirwan, guitar, vocals; John McVie, bass; and Mick Fleetwood, drums.

The FMac (2.0) 1970 album Kiln House was the first without the band’s founder, Peter Green. McVie painted the cover of the gatefold album and appeared, uncredited, on organ, piano, and vocals. She began touring with the band and became a permanent member of the group. Bob Welch replaced Jeremy Spencer before the group recorded the magnificent Future Games (1971). The superb Bare Trees (1972) was the last to include Danny Kirwan, whom the band dismissed.

Christine McVie

At this point, the core band (FMac 3.0) included the two singer/songwriters McVie and Welch, the McVie-Fleetwood rhythm section, and several other players on an album or two. Their output included two great 1973 releases, Penguin and Mystery to Me, and 1974’s Heroes Are Hard to Find. The RHINO Chronicles box set also includes a 1974 album not released until 2020, Live at The Record Plant.

Fleetwood Mac evolved into Mac 4.0 in 1975 when Welch left and the musicians who recorded the seminal Buckingham Nicks album in 1973 were asked to join McVie, McVie, and Fleetwood. Now McVie shared vocalist duties with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. From 1975 to 1982, this quintet would produce two of the greatest-selling albums of all time, the eponymous 1975 release and next year’s Rumors. Tusk, Live, and Mirage would follow. And a hiatus.

Fleetwood Mac

The band would roar back, briefly, in 1987, with Tango in the Night, the last time this quintet would record a studio album.

McVie would be involved in the album Behind the Mask (1990) with Rick Vito and Billy Burnette in place of Lindsey Buckingham and the unusual lineup for 1995’s Time, with no Nicks or Buckingham (except for his one backing vocal) but with Dave Mason (Traffic) and Bekka Bramlett (daughter of Delaney and Bonnie). This would be McVie’s last FMac studio recording. She would later reunite with the 1975 lineup for the world tour and live album The Dance (1997).

She also released two other records under her name, Christine McVie (1984) and In the Meantime (2004). There was also a duet album from 2017: Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie.

Beginning in 2013, McVie appeared with Mick Fleetwood’s band and subsequently with several Fleetwood Mac tours in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

Christine Perfect — Christine McVie — will be revered as long as rock music exists for her vocals, songwriting, and keyboard playing. Here is a quick primer: 25 tracks and 97 minutes from her Fleetwood Mac career. She wrote or co-wrote all of these except “Keep On Going” from Mystery to Me, a Bob Welch composition, which will forever remain my favorite performance of hers. Enjoy.




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