Growing up, I remember the solo concerts my mom would have in the car while listening to “The Chain” or “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac, and how my dad always managed to fill our house with the melodies of their songs through his guitar.
Now that I’ve moved away, I find myself listening to them nearly every day. I mean, how could I not? Between the raspy and husky vocals of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, beautifully blended with Lindsey Buckingham’s genius guitar riffs and Mick Fleetwood’s hypnotic grooves, what more could you want?
Here are some of my favorite songs by Fleetwood Mac that explore the many shades of love, betrayal, heartbreak, growing up and so much more.
- “Landslide” – Live at Warner Bros. Studios (1997)
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I’m a sucker for the live version of “Landslide,” mainly because I vividly remember my dad playing it on his guitar when I was younger and I instantly fell in love. Stevie Nicks explained how this song is about her complicated love-affair with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and her relationship with her father. The heart of the song expresses the fear of change and losing someone you love. In this live version, Stevie starts with “This one’s for you, Daddy” and to me, it really is.
- “Dreams” (1977)
Thunder only happens when it’s rainin’
Players only love you when they’re playin’
Say women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know
I know I’m not the only one that notices the instant change in mood I feel after listening to this serotonin-boosting bop. Its perfect dance beats and empowering lyrics remind all of us to just take life as it is and enjoy the moment. Written in less than 10 minutes by the poet herself, Stevie Nicks, this song embodies the magic of their sound. Next time you listen to this, I highly suggest blasting it with your windows down right before the sun sets — I promise you won’t regret it!
A big shoutout to Nathan Apodaca (@420doggface208) on TikTok for showing off his excellent skating skills while lip-syncing to this great tune. The song has subsequently re-entered the national music charts and reappeared on a few Top 40 radio stations in the U.S.
- “Rhiannon” (1975)
She is like a cat in the dark
And then she is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark
And when the sky is starless
This song encapsulates the spirit of the woman we all want to be, one that is free to love, free to think, and free to be. Inspired by an old ancient magic practice, its name came from the novel Triad, by Mary Leader, about a girl that becomes possessed by the spirit named Rhiannon. Stevie Nicks later reflected on its deeper significance, explaining that it was about the goddess of steeds, the maker of birds. She stated, “Her three birds sang music, and when something was happening in war you would see Rhiannon come riding in on a horse.”
Women empowerment and magic? Stevie Nicks never fails us. One of my favorite aspects of her writing is how she is able to convey her emotions so vividly. Her lyrics alone transport you to the mythical and haunting reality where the spirit of Rhiannon lives.
- “The Chain” (1977)
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 (Never break the chain)
A song that accurately mimics the chaos of a toxic relationship and the break up that follows. Ironically, Nicks wrote these lyrics about Lindsey Buckingham as their relationship was falling apart, and she truly never missed a beat. “The Chain” is the only song in the band’s history that credits all five members as songwriters and showcases each of their musical talents. The mixture of instruments including the electric guitar, hammond organ, drums, bass guitar, tambourine and harmonizing vocals bring this musical masterpiece to life. Next time you want to sing your heart out, play this in the shower and make sure you’re ready for the epic guitar solo!
- “Songbird” (1977)
And the songbirds keep singing, like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before
And I wish you all the love in the world
But most of all, I wish it from myself
A beautifully written piano ballad by the musical star, Christine McVie. She mentioned that this song is about you and everyone else; it belongs to all of us. It reminds me of the self-sacrifice of true love and the bittersweetness of wishing someone well even after they’ve broken your heart. I listen to this whenever I’m missing an old friend, or reminiscing on better times. I’d definitely recommend adding this to your “ready to cry” playlist.
- “Gypsy” (1982)
To the gypsy
Her face says freedom
With a little fear
I have no fear
I have only love
“Gypsy” captures the mystical and free spirit that is Stevie Nicks. Its lyrics center around embracing the values of fearlessness, freedom and creating your own unique identity. Stevie really is the poet in all of our hearts.
We’re all gypsies, letting go of each passing chapter of our lives and moving forward with no fear, only love. Whenever you’re feeling out of place or just dealing with the regular ups and downs of daily life, turn this one up.
These are just some of my absolute favorites, because I promise I could go on forever. I hope this convinces you that Fleetwood Mac is a lot more than just a band that makes music — they’re a timeless force to be reckoned with.
To end on an even better note, here’s Mick Fleetwood recreating @420doggface208’s video!