The Soundtrack Of My Life, Part I

Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be laying out the bands and the albums that have been seismic and game-changing in how I listen to music and what I appreciate. We start with Fleetwood Mac Rumours.

When I was 11, my taste in music was unbelievably precocious, picking albums that truly have stood the test of time. Indeed the first album I bought was Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumours.’ My brother said ‘Eh, you just bought it because it was No. 1 (on the Billboard album chart) Yes it was No. 1 but that’s not why I bought it. I bought it because there were three songs on it I enjoyed: Dreams, Don’t Stop and You Make Lovin’ Fun. Three songs merited me spending the 2021 equivalent of $20 on this (how things change) But then I played it on the Fisher entertainment system in our house that took three minutes to warm up and was blown away like few albums have blown me away.

The opening track was Second Hand News. Great way to start the album. Lindsay Buckingham being Lindsay Buckingham. 8 of 10. I Don’t Want to Know, another good song and I enjoyed Never Going Back Again. Both 7 out of ten, all kept up the pace. Even the two weakest songs on the album, Songbird and Oh Daddy, were OK. Call them five of ten.

But there were two songs that, for me, shot this song this in the stratosphere:

First, Gold Dust Woman, the song that concluded the album. The end of the song remains one of the great album walkoffs in rock history. Indeed all that is missing is one Stephanie Nicks slamming her helmet at the end of a David Ortiz Red Sox walkoff called by the great Don Orsillo as Papi slammed his helmet down the third base line, and then, after being ‘pig piled’ by the band, the on field interview with Heidi Watney.

If that was the apex of the album, it would have been a strong apex. But it was not.

And by now people of a certain age who are familiar with this album know what the song that mattered to me the most— and still does:

The Chain.

I dropped the needle on Side 2, track 1, and was absolutely blown away, that first time, from the first drum beat to the myriad hooks, how the lyrics were sang, and the chorus, which you can look up.

Every minute-every second-of this song resonated with me when I heard it.. It did when I was in sixth grade, and it does now at 55. Maybe I didn’t understand what this song meant when I was a kid, but I do now.

And this is how much this album has also resonated: I later discovered that side 2, track 1 (which this song was on) was usually an underrated gem on other albums. I am listening to this as I write this, and it’s still as good as it was in 1978. And the capper? It was remastered in 2004 — a year that will make every Boston Red Sox fan smile (as well as some Patriots fans). You’ll read about those teams in a future mini-essay.

Fleetwood Mac isn’t one of my all time favorite groups. Tusk did nothing for me. There was one song ‘Hypnotized’ with the late Bob Welch on vocals, that was quite good.

But for one album, Rumours achieved absolute perfection. And as Stevie with Gold Dust Woman; this was Lindsay Buckingham at his absolute apex, this time with Lindsay jumping on the scorer’s table like Jamaal Suggs for Gonzaga on his buzzer beater pumping his fist, all with Jim Nantz saying ‘Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes!’

There are even more ways for people to discover new music and enjoy old music, and SiriusXM and Spotify make it A LOT easier to do so. But back in 1978 I took a shot on a single album spending what was a ton of money based on three good not game changing songs….and oh man, was it ever worth it.

And with that I will leave you with this: in the words Kevin Garnett said to Michele Tafoya when the Celtics beat the Lakers for the NBA title in 2008 “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!’

Yes, Kevin. Yes it is.

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“It is called a medium because it is very rare that it is well done.” — Ernie Kovacs

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“It is called a medium because it is very rare that it is well done.” — Ernie Kovacs

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