On this day in music history: December 20, 1976 - “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac is released. Written by Lindsey Buckingham, it is the first single from the landmark “Rumours” album. In spite of having scored a major artistic and commercial triumph with their self-titled tenth album, all is not well with the members of Fleetwood Mac. By the time they’re due to begin work on the follow up, John and Christine McVie have divorced, drummer Mick Fleetwood has split with his then wife Jenny Boyd, and Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks romantic relationship has also come to an end. Drugs and alcohol also add to the tension between the five band members. But instead of letting it tear them apart, it actually fuels the creative process while writing and recording material for their next album. “Go Your Own Way” is written by Lindsey Buckingham while the band are taking a vacation in Florida, having rented a house to live in while they rest and begin working up new material. The inspiration for the song comes from the break up of Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship. Still anguished over the split, the songs’ narrative expresses that feeling while directing telling the other person defiantly to go ahead and leave. Recording a rough demo of the track, Buckingham plays it for the other members of the band when they begin recording at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA in early 1976. While working on an arrangement for the song, Lindsey plays the rhythm he wants Mick Fleetwood to play on the drums by drumming his hands and fingers on Kleenex boxes to emulate the sound of tom toms. Initially unsure of the unusual rhythmic structure on Buckingham’s demo, Fleetwood plays it in a different way, instinctively playing behind the beat in sections instead of in front of it. Eventually, it all falls into place and the track is completed. Upon hearing the song, Stevie Nicks takes offense to the lyric “packing up, shacking up is all you wanna do”, knowing that it is directed at her, but Lindsey refuses. Stevie responds by writing “Silver Springs” which is also inspired by their break up. Both “Go Your Own Way” and “Silver Springs” are issued at the A and B-sides of Fleetwood Mac’s first first single from “Rumours”, six weeks ahead of the albums’ February 1977 release date. Both songs receive significant airplay right out of the box, though “Silver Springs” is left off of “Rumours” due to the time limitations of vinyl, though it is later added to CD pressings of the album. “Go Your Own Way” becomes one of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular and performed songs. Entering the Hot 100 at #71 on January 8, 1977, it peaks at #10 on March 12, 1977. “Go” is later featured in the Oscar winning film “Forrest Gump” in 1994, and has been covered numerous times by various artists including The Cranberries, Wilson Phillips, NOFX, The Lumineers, Carrie Underwood and Colbie Caillat.


Fleetwood Mac performing “The Chain” in 1982

Courtney Love (a fan of the band) about this performance:

(…) he’s playing WITHOUT A PICK!  it takes a band 30 years to get  a performance this great, she hates him, he hates her , they’re on more coke than the entire output of bolivia that year and its so dark and genius like a slam poetry competition with vey hugh stakes i live for this performance