on 7 March 2008
Reviewing a best-selling, immensely popular album over 30 years after it was released is a bit like trying to evaluate Marmite. It's been around for ages, you know that people will always buy it, but everyone either loves it or hates it already, and there's little point trying to change their minds.
For me, Rumours is just about the best album ever made, and 'Go Your Own Way' is my favourite song, my desert island disc, the one that still sends a shiver up my spine and makes me smile and / or cry (or both) every time I hear it. Part of that is down to memories of earlier times evoked by the music (it just sounds like it came from better days, whether it really did or not); part of it is down to a knowledge of the intricate human relationships within the band and the messages these songs were sending from one member to another; but largely it's just down to the sheer quality of the music. The 'classic' Fleetwood Mac line-up really was just that - Mick Fleetwood the 'Daddy'; John McVie the quiet, morose, no-nonsense bass player, together forming a tight, world-class, instantly recognisable rhythm section; Christine McVie the stalwart keyboardist; Lindsey Buckingham the brash, neurotic Californian with a talent for guitar-playing that is sorely underrated, an ego the size of the Hollywood hills and a perfectionist's drive to push the musical envelope; and Stevie Nicks, slim and fair, every 70s schoolboy's fantasy star-child, all black lace, high boots and flounces, with a voice that rasps and soothes in equal measure.
If you doubt the quality of the music, and the work that went into it, spare a hour or so to watch the Classic Albums DVD that is devoted to Rumours, in which studio techies Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat deconstruct and rebuild the tracks, fading in and out individual elements of sound to illustrate the craftsmanship involved. At the end of the day, if you've been around since 1977 you'll know most of the songs already. If you haven't, you might be put off by labels like Californian AOR, soft rock, country rock, MOR. Rumours is probably all of that, with a few elements of folk thrown in for good measure. What makes it stand out in its entirety is the songwriting, the attention to musical detail, the wonderful harmonies and musicianship that is tight as a drum. Dross often sells by the bucketload, but Rumours is that rare artefact: something with sound artistic merit AND populist appeal. For the committed post-hippy late seventies sensitive teen with West Coast aspirations, Rumours was THE album to be seen with. For those teens, now in their 40's and 50's, it still is.
So, to the music. The quality of the remastering is first class, delivering a ringing clarity and separation that was missing from the original version. The second CD in this expanded package is an irrelevance really, demonstrating no more than work in progress. Of the songs, 'Dreams', 'The Chain', 'Don't Stop', 'Never Going Back Again', 'Go Your Own Way' and others need no introduction. Omitted from the original album for reasons of length and limitations of the LP capacity, 'Silver Springs' is a superb Stevie Nicks song that regains its rightful place. Nicks was blossoming as a songwriter, never better than on the trilogy of Fleetwood Mac albums beginning with Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and ending with Tusk in 1979. Her voice has dropped an octave or two since then; here she still sounds fresh and focused. 'Oh Daddy' and 'Songbird' represent two of Christine McVie's finest moments. Lindsey Buckingham's songs have indications of the greater experimentation he would go on to develop on Tusk, and later on his solo albums. But in 'Go Your Own Way', he wrote a lament to his ex-lover, Nicks, their relationship crashing around them during the making of the album. On the surface it's the classic top-down, sunny summer Californian driving rock song, all ringing guitars and shining harmonies. But it's much more than that too; it's full of sadness and longing, loneliness and regret, bitterness and anger. The fact that Buckingham addressed it to the person who stood only feet away from him singing harmonies on it, gives it an extra twist of irony, just like life itself. You either love it or you hate it. You either get it or you don't.
on 28 March 2006
I have owned Rumours before, both in the LP format and the original CD format. Obviously this album has been a favourite of mine for a long time, with a slight more understanding of the tension involved in making it as the years have passed by.
What struck me, however, by hearing this new re-mastered version was the immense sound quality. Listening to Dreams the bass becomes so vibrant and alive with Stevie Nick's voice backed up with incredible harmonies with the addition of crisp guitar sounds and thumping drumming. On the next track, Never Going Back Again the guitar is spread in the mix giving the listener a feeling of actually being involved with the playing. Much of the same can be described by most of the other songs on the album, making me for my part re-discovering it again. Never before had I noticed how great the production was, not only in regards of the sound quality but also how it was mixed, both simple but yet innovative.
I took my old CD to compare the two versions, the hypothesis being that maybe this great sound had simply eluded me some years ago. The difference was, however, similar to hearing a worn cassette tape and a regular CD. The separation of instruments was not to be heard, a lack of depth was evident and the mix was muffled as if one were listening to a worn LP.
There is also added material. Silver Springs, a single not included on the original version, has been tacked between what before was side A and B. A fine song and its odd inclusion actually does keep the flow of the album intact (I believe having it at the end would spoil the fine ending of the original). There is also a bonus disk consisting of demos of the songs. It is interesting hearing these demos, one can hear how good the simple versions are but yet how delicately Fleetwood Mac improved them in the studio. Of particular note is Brushes which is only the guitar playing of what became Never Going Back Again. One must, however, make sure to press the stop button before some jam session at the end of the disc begin, those are only for the most devoted.
Thus from the standpoint of sound quality, this re-mastered version of Rumours is in my view a great buy. The bonus CD is a welcome addition and the artwork accompanying this version does this great album justice.
This album has again been re-released. This addition relates to the 3 CD version of the 2013 edition, which I bought being such as fan of this album. The original recording is as far as I can hear the same sound-wise, meaning that this may be the same re-mastering used on the previous 2004 edition. This I consider good news since it was very smooth with a deep bass and solid drums. The only difference is that Silver Springs has now been put at the end as opposed to be set in the middle of the sequence. I preferred the former set of flow of the tracks but that is a minor issue.
There are now two extra disks. One is a live recording from their Rumours tour, although a few songs are from their previous album. Most of the songs are in a faster tempo and I must admit I find them merely interesting. Their live recordings from the Tusk tour sound for example better. This live CD is also rather short. The third CD is, like the 2004 edition, demos. The demos presented here are, I believe, taken from more initial stages of the recording process. These I find very interesting, The Chain for example in very initial stages and at times barely recognizable to the final result. Never Going Back Again with Stevie Nicks sharing vocals is also worth listening to. The price of this edition is low and despite not being a fan of the live CD (something many will differ in opinion about) I do truly recommend this edition. For most of those who own, however, the 2004 edition, there is no need to 'upgrade' to this version. Those like me who really cannot get enough of Rumours, I recommend their Classic Albums DVD (I think also available via other sources) that chronicles the making of Rumours.
on 1 February 2013
This is a very nice expansion of Rumours.
You get 3 CDs: the original album with an additional track not on the LP release from the `70s; a CD of live versions of many of the songs + some from the earlier self-titled album; a CD of out-takes and alternative versions (which are different to the out-takes etc. realised with the 2004 Rumours 2 disc set).
The first CD is the same version of Rumours as the2 CD 2004 remaster - so it sounds nice, if a little metallic/tinny. If you have that disc, this new release is still worth having for the 2 other discs.
The packaging looks ok, though cardboard sleeves inevitably scratch discs. The leaflet is pretty cool too.
HOWEVER....the packaging and quality control on this release is appalling. Hearing from other reviews here and on other sites that their discs arrived very scratched, I bought my copy from a high street retailer to avoid it getting jiggled in the post. I needn't have bothered (plus it was dearer than Amazon). It was factory sealed, though the booklet was horribly creased as if a baby had pushed it into the sleeve. Also, 2 of the discs were badly scratched. One had scuffs visible in any light, but played OK. The other had a single small but deep scratch that couldn't possibly have come from the sleeve and was so deep that the extras disc concerned won't play beyond track 12. Given the number of people who seem to have these problems with this set, it is as if some sort of accident has befallen a whole batch of these discs and no one is checking them before sealing them up.
So, if you order this, check the discs as soon as possible because honestly, I don't feel alone in saying that the scratches are hard to believe till you see them for yourself....Don't blame Amazon or the postie either because whether you get a clean set or not will be pot luck.
This is my favourite album, but 3 stars not 5 partly for the poor physical quality and partly because the main album is still a little too bright/brittle sounding for me.
on 8 March 2016
Brilliant collection at a great price. No need to review Rumours, we all know it's a classic. The one point I would make is that if you order this, then expect it to arrive unprotected. That's right. The despatch label was stuck right on to the clear factory shrink-wrap, and that was it. That it arrived unscathed is a miracle. If you're buying this as a gift for someone who may be at home when it arrives, then watch out - it won't be much of a surprise!
on 1 November 2015
There's been enough said regarding this album so I'll be brief in saying it is the pinaccle of Fleetwood Mac's career (by a long way). An album made pretty much entirely of number one singles and classic tunes. As most already know it was recorded in the midst of four members of the band divorcing/splitting from long term relationships. The result is an album that plays out like a modern Opera, one moment angry and bitter, the next hopeful then even joyful.
This deluxe version is a fantastic tribute to the album. Including:
+ Rumours album remastered CD
+ Rumours Vinyl LP
+ Fleetwood Mac Live, Rumours Tour, 1977 CD Audio
+ Two Discs of Previously Unreleased Demos/Alternate Takes and Rarities.
+ 30minute DVD of Previously unreleased 'Rosebud' documentary (regarding the making of Rumours, and featuring several live performances (Rhiannon, World Turning, Go Your Own Way, You Make Loving Fun) and interviews with the band from the year of the albums release.
+ Beautiful presentation booklet featuring a run down of each track by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
The Box Set is presented beautifully, and is undoubtedly a great purchase for fans of the band. The Bonus Discs of unreleased material contain some fascinating looks at the album in progress (a duet version of 'Oh Daddy' with Stevie harmonising with Christine is a standout, as is the original demo of The Chain).
Buy it you won't be disappointed.
on 11 January 2005
Okay, like many of my generation (forties) I am replacing my old LP's with CD's. Rumours has always been a much loved album, so what is the second disk adding? Is it a gimick to sell more?
In my opinion it is a lot more than that, the accoustic versions (especially of 'Gold dust woman) are a delight to hear. There is a charm the second disk that to me makes an old favorite a bit more personal and yes, Stevie's vocals still leave a shiver down my spine.
In short if you loved the original, I beleave you will get a kick out of this.
on 29 September 2011
This is a brilliant album for the music and is made even better in this SACD surround sound version. This is how all good albums of this genre should be released in my view. You hear so much more of the music and it allows for a more involved listening experience though the enhanced creativity that surround sound brings to music. It is great to see Warner releasing this on hybrid multichannel SACD as the SACD is much more versatile and backward compatible that DVDs which seem to be used now by the major record companies for surround sound release. However I wish Warner were adopting this as a global release and not just a Warner Japan release which makes the price quite crazy and in the current financial climate not one which means you would buy these albums on a regular basis. The majors such as EMI and UMG have shown they can release affordable hybrid multichannel SACDs in the past and should review their policies I feel. This is a genuine reissue of a disc that is worth having as it is so different, I sigh with despair when I see the number of times stereo cps are remastered time after time and the majors think we will keep buying them. This release shows imagination and a bold decision to produce something that is really different and well worth buying, but as I say, I wish it were a lot cheaper than this.
on 10 March 2007
I ordered the original rumours CD. the songs are brilliant but the quality just wasnt there at all and sounded very muffled even on my reference headphone system. This CD is the one to buy as the difference is unbeleiveable when compared to the original CD. Id highly recommend spending the extra on this remastered version. I also noticed that even the artwork and photos on the inlay have been touched up so it now looks and sounds bang up to date. Its hard to beleive this album is 30 years old! buy it!
on 8 February 2004
I have to say, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" is my all-time favourite album, and the reason why I like it is purely irrational. In a nutshell, it is just the style of music I have grown up with and come to love, and it is also one of my mother's favourite albums so I always used to hear it in the house. People might criticise me and say this is formulaic pop/rock, that it is not exactly groundbreaking music. To be honest, I will admit "Rumours" was not a revolutionary album the way "Sgt Peppers" by the Beatles was, if anything it was probably atypical to 1977, given that punk and disco were the dominant styles. However, in terms of it being a pop/rock album, this is a wonderful collection of 11 songs, more remarkable when you consider that 2 relationships- John and Christine McVie, and Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham- came apart during the making of this album.
I think the main reason why I like it artistically is that it has a wide range of styles for a rock album, showing the differences in the three main songwriters. Lindsey Buckingham's style is very simple, poppy, seemingly effortless, yet at the same time driving and tense("Second Hand News","Never Going Back Again", "Go Your Own Way"); Christine McVie is formulaic("Don't Stop", "You Make Loving Fun"), yet also capable of beautiful, smooth melodies("Songbird", "Oh Daddy"); and Stevie Nicks is raw and complex("Dreams", "Gold Dust Woman"). As for "The Chain", that has probably one of the greatest bassline riffs ever composed, as those who used to watch BBC Formula I coverage will know only too well! Though saying that, it has a very tense build-up before, which just makes the riff much more climactic...and thereby appealing...
This is an album that suits all moods; you have your driving, formulaic "hit" songs but also other songs that are more reflective. What makes this an exceptional album is that all the songs stand out on their own- and this is significant because on quite a few albums you have a few very good songs that will obviously be "hits", and then you will have the rest of the album being of very variable quality. Here, each song stands out as being well-crafted and easy to listen to. Combined with the different styles of Buckingham, C.McVie and Nicks, the overall effect is a well-balanced rock album, where each song tells a different story. I would say it is very emotional(not surprising given the aforementioned romantic circumstances), as you can pick up on the tensions and currents within the music and lyrics. Yet this makes it a good album as it is more than just simplistic formulae trundled out- "Rumours" is actually well-thought out in its entirety, even the more simplistic songs like "Second Hand News", "Never Going Back Again" and "Don't Stop".
Overall, I would recommend "Rumours" for anyone's collection, as it is a very well written set of songs that combines solid guitar rock with more complex overtones, appealing to all different moods and emotions. I know it is rather conservative compared to punk, disco, Sgt Peppers, Pet Sounds etc etc- yet if you consider it for what it is, there is almost nothing to criticise about it. Listening to it now, it still sounds as refreshingly original as it did when my mother first bought the cassette in the late '70s!
This timeless classic is one of the best rock albums of the 1970s, with 45 million copies sold throughout the world on various formats. `Rumours' is indisputably Fleetwood Mac's finest moment, the never-equalled crowning achievement of a success story spanning 40 years. Due to the divorces and relationship break-ups afflicting all five simultaneously during the recording of `Rumours', Stevie Nicks claimed the band `created the best music when in the worst shape' and Lindsey Buckingham retrospectively claimed the tensions contributed to `the whole being more than the sum of the parts'.
So, is this `35th Anniversary Edition' worth buying? Well, leaving aside the fact that it's actually 36 years since the album's February 1977 release and not 35, your purchasing decision will likely depend on whether you already have a previous release of `Rumours' (there have been several).
The packaging is certainly tasteful, with a 4-section gatefold sleeve containing a beautifully-presented & intelligently written 20-page booklet and the 3 disks loaded from the top of the gatefold. Each of the disks has completely different artwork, so you can easily tell them apart. The artwork is all 1976-contemporary, a mix of the original album images and similarly-themed photos of the band taken by Herbert Worthington from the same sessions. Worthington's distinctive stylish images are all in monochrome.
What of the music? Well the first disk is the original album, with a mix not noticeably improved (IMHO) from the 1984 release. This disk is `pure', i.e. the album as released in 1977 with the addition only of `Silver Springs'. The second disk is all live-on-stage material from the `1977 Rumours World Tour' and includes songs from the earlier FM album: `Monday morning', `Rhiannon' and `World turning'. This live material is good, but near-identical material has been released before i.e. on the 1980 'Live' album plus a couple of bootlegs of the 1977 tour.
The third disk consists of 16 tracks of rejected material from the `Rumours' recording sessions, including some beautiful renditions of `Songbird'. `Keep me there', `Doesn't anything last' and `Planets of the universe' are also featured, often played live on stage by the band but in some cases with no recording released until decades later.
So, should you buy it? If you don't have a copy of the album, then this is probably the one to go for. The whole package is very classy, there's a lot of `Rumours-related' material in addition to the original album and one or two surprises. It's not expensive either, considering what you get.
However if you're already a FM fan and have all their music from this period, it may only be worth buying if you're a completest. Truth is, though this is a fine package there's little here that's really new.
None of this takes away from the fact that this is universally recognised as one of the greatest rock-pop albums of all time, with every single track a gem.