Happy Birthday: Christine McVie

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Happy Birthday
Christine McVie
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Happy Birthday: Christine McVie

Today we celebrate the birthday of a woman who was born Perfect and has remained pretty darned stellar even after setting aside her maiden name: Christine McVie. As you might expect, we can’t resist using this occasion to remind you of Ms. McVie’s latest musical endeavor: LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM | CHRISTINE MCVIE, her first full-length collaboration as a duo with her longtime Fleetwood Mac bandmate. In addition, however, we thought we’d offer up a six-pack of tracks which feature her on guest vocals, a few of which are oft-forgotten pop nuggets worthy of rediscovery, so we hope you enjoy them…and, of course, we also hope that you take a moment to wish Ms. McVie a happy birthday!

  1. The Beach Boys, “Love Surrounds Me” (1979): From late 1978 until early 1981, McVie and the late Dennis Wilson were what the tabloids might call “an item,” a relationship which – per McVie in a 1984 Rolling Stone article – began when he walked into the studio whilst Fleetwood Mac were recording TUSK. Although there was limited musical collaboration between McVie and Wilson, she did manage to contribute backing vocals to this song from The Beach Boys’ L.A. (LIGHT ALBUM).

  1. Robbie Patton, “Don’t Give It Up” (1981): There are three or four reasons why you might remember Patton’s name from the early ‘80s in particular, and all of them are directly tied to Fleetwood Mac, starting with the fact that Patton was the band’s opening act on their 1979 tour. Clearly, Patton worked well with the members of the Mac: after the tour, McVie and Lindsey Buckingham appeared on this track, Stevie Nicks sang on his 1983 single “Smiling Islands,” and in between those two Hot 100 hits, Patton co-wrote an even bigger hit single for Fleetwood Mac: “Hold Me,” from their album MIRAGE.

  1. Randy Newman, “I Love L.A.” (1983): The song might be satirical (although Newman has acknowledged that he does actually have a fondness for Los Angeles), but the guest vocalists are legit: both McVie and Buckingham can be heard on backup vocals.
  1. Bonnie Raitt, “Angel” (1986): The story of Raitt’s 1986 album NINE LIVES is kind of a depressing one, so brace yourselves accordingly. She originally recorded it in 1983 under the title TONGUE & GROOVE, but as she recalled in a 1990 interview, “I don't think they maliciously said, 'Let's let her finish her album and get the tour all lined up and print the covers and hire the people to do the video and then drop her,’ but that's what they did. It was literally the day after I had finished mastering it. I had already finished the album once, and [Warners claimed] the Jerry Williams tune would be more commercial if it didn't have quite as reggae a beat. Or something like that. So I went in and redid it. I thought if I cooperated a little more, maybe they'd promote the album more. But instead they dropped me and pulled the rug out from under my tour.”

Fast-forward two years, and Warners has changed their mind about putting out the record. “I said it wasn’t really fair [and] I think at this point the felt kind of bad,” said Raitt. “I mean, I was out there touring on my savings to keep my name up, and my ability to draw was less and less. So they agreed to let me go in and re-cut half of it." As such, that which was once called TONGUE & GROOVE became NINE LIVES, and the resulting album featured a pretty insane collection of top-notch talent: in addition to McVie, there are also appearances by Ian McLagan. Bill Payne, Ivan Neville, Todd Sharp, Tower of Power, and more notable session musicians than you can shake a stick at. But for all of that talent, the album still only climbed to #138 on the Billboard 200, so it’s nice to know that she ended up with a happy ending a few years later when her 1989 album, NICK OF TIME, turned her into a proper superstar.

  1. Christopher Cross, “Never Stop Believing” (1988): If you’ve never heard this Cross song, it’s unfortunately none too surprising: despite starting the ‘80s as one of the biggest names in pop music, his star had declined in ’88 to the point where his fourth album, BACK OF MY MIND, failed to even crack the Billboard 200. To our way of thinking, one of the biggest mistakes made in its promotion was the failure to release this track as a single: McVie is so prominent in the harmonies that it almost feels like a duet, so it’s hard to believe that it wouldn’t have captured the attention of the adult-contemporary crowd at the very least.

 

 

  1. Brent Bourgeois, “Can’t Feel the Pain” (1990): McVie and Rick Vito, Fleetwood Mac’s post-Buckingham guitarist, both appear on this track by the former Bourgeois Tagg member’s self-titled solo LP for Charisma Records, and this song was actually a co-write with fellow former Bourgeois Tagg member Lyle Workman, who also plays guitar on the track.