Fleetwood Mac – You Make Loving Fun
Sweet wonderful you,
You make me happy with the things you do,
Oh, can it be so?,
This feeling follows me wherever I go...
Even if you grew up under a rock you would most likely have heard a track from Fleetwood Mac’s pinnacle album, Rumors.
Not intended, but often considered as a kind of Greatest Hits – the album delivered a chart-topping safari that has yet to make it back to the station.
From the outside, the mid-70s were high times for Fleetwood Mac. The band had recorded some of rock’s favourite anthems over the previous years and the stakes were high to keep delivering.
However; internally, the band was a lusty free for all.
Stevie Nicks and long-time lover / bandmate the guitarist Lindsay Buckingham had split up. But she didn’t look too far afield for her next liaison and began a fling with the band’s founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood – who in turn was reeling from a recently wandering wife.
Furthermore – married band members John and Christine Mcvie’s relationship was on the skids. John allegedly enjoying lightning up the bottle, while Christie was enjoying lightning up the Lighting Director, Curry Grant.
To add fuel to the flame, the band was off their rocker. Riding the hippie wave of California Culture, it took over a year to record Rumors, and it was said that the windowless studio became a vacuum of time, where drugs and alcohol reigned. So much that they considered crediting their dealer on the album sleeve.
“Unfortunately, he got snuffed – executed! – before the thing came out”, Fleetwood wrote in his first memoir, 1990’s Fleetwood: My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac.
The Studio sessions at ‘Record Plant’ became legendary.
Studio owner Chris Stone indicated in 1997 that Fleetwood Mac brought “excess at its most excessive” by taking over the studio for long and extremely expensive sessions, stating:
"The band would come in at 7 at night, have a big feast, party till 1 or 2 in the morning, and then when they were so whacked-out they couldn't do anything, they'd start recording.”
“We started trying to put down basic backing tracks, although we were all feeling so desperately unhappy with life. We spoke to each other in clipped, civil tones, while sitting in small airless studios, listening to each other’s songs about our shattered relationships….
It was the craziest period of our lives. We went four or five weeks without sleep, doing a lot of drugs. I’m talking about cocaine in such quantities that, at one point, I thought I was really going insane.” —- Mick Fleetwood
“I’d been working with them since 1974, so when they started Rumours I was brought in to document it for the inner sleeve. The girls were kind of kept apart, in a hotel, while I lived with the guys in a house that belonged to Record Plant, about five minutes away. Things, personally, were falling apart for them.”
Herbie Worthington (Photographer)
Amidst all the chaos, the sublime was created. Rumors won the album of the year at the 1978 Grammy’s and four tracks from the record reached the US Top 10 – Go Your Own Way, Dreams, Don’t Stop, You Make Loving Fun
” Rumors represents the high-water mark of America’s Seventies rock-culture expansion, the quintessence of a counter-cultural mindset lured into coke-fuelled hedonism” – Andy Gill (The Independent)
Buried amongst the chaos, sits a track with a cheeky backstory to match its lighthearted name.
Due to the absence of Lindsey Buckingham at this time, Christie Mcvie stepped up and wrote much of the music on the album, including ‘You Make Loving Fun.’
After initial success with the recording, Christie told John that the song was about one of her pets to avoid any trouble with her ex-husband.
Given John’s state of mind at the time, it seems she got one past him. Mick Fleetwood responded,
“Knowing John, he probably thought it was about one of her dogs.”