8 Fleetwood Mac songs you can thank Christine McVie for

8 Fleetwood Mac songs you can thank Christine McVie for

During her time with Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie wrote some of the band's most beloved classics

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Christine McVie at the piano
Photo: Steven Ferdman (Getty Images)

Christine McVie was, and forever will be, one of a kind. She was born Perfect—literally, her birth name was Christine Perfect—before marrying John McVie. She joined Fleetwood Mac alongside him in 1970, where she played the keys, sang, and wrote some of the group’s most beloved songs.

McVie also had a reputation for being one of the more demure musicians in Fleetwood Mac’s collection of big personalities, even if she didn’t necessarily completely agree herself. “I was supposedly like the Mother Teresa who would hang out with everybody or just try and [keep] everything nice and cool and relaxed,” she recalled to Rolling Stone earlier this year. “I enjoyed the storm.… Even though I am quite a peaceful person, I did enjoy that storm.”

The storm wasn’t just enjoyable, but, clearly, artistically lucrative. Of course, what follows is not a comprehensive list, but a reflection and a small tribute to Miss Perfect, Mother Teresa, Christine McVie.

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“Over My Head”

“Over My Head”

Fleetwood Mac - Over My Head (Live Midnight Special 1976)

Over an aquatic acoustic line, Christine McVie sings about one of Fleetwood Mac’s favorite topics: a lover who is alternately hot and cold. Our narrator may be over her head, but McVie floats on top of the instrumental with a plaintive vocal that suggests she’s far more under her lover’s spell than underwater. The song went on to become the group’s first Top 40 hit in the United States. [Drew Gillis]

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“Say You Love Me”

“Say You Love Me”

Fleetwood Mac performs “Say You Love Me” at the 1998 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

“Say You Love Me” just sounds like summertime—the harmonies under Christine McVie’s vocals are your friends in the back of the car as you roll your windows down and head to the lake. But McVie isn’t singing to her friends, or even us—there’s one person in particular on her mind, and she’s falling, falling, falling. [Drew Gillis]

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“Songbird”

“Songbird”

Fleetwood Mac, Songbird 1982

Legend has it McVie wrote this love song in the middle of the night and stayed awake till morning to make sure she remembered the chords and melody. Not only is McVie’s achingly spare and romantic lyricism on full display here, her smooth, lilting vocal rarely sounded so clear. The track perfectly captures a quiet moment of love frozen in time, manifested in the pastoral scene around McVie that only gains clarity as she ages on through life. On Rumours, an album that grappled so candidly with the band’s internal drama, “Songbird” is a moment of unadulterated, peaceful bliss. [Hattie Lindert]

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“Everywhere”

“Everywhere”

Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere (Live) (Official Video) [HD]

McVie mastered the pop anthem time and time again, but “Everywhere” may be one of her most generationally enduring pieces. The song’s shimmering, subdued production proved a perfect fit for the competitive landscape of 1980s radio, peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the U.K. Singles Chart. But the song still strikes a chord today, and has found viral success on TikTok as a soundtrack to montages of whimsical days spent in a variety of ways. McVie always found a way to translate her dreamy pen into timeless pop euphoria. [Hattie Lindert]

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“Don’t Stop”

“Don’t Stop”

Fleetwood Mac - Don’t Stop (Official Music Video)

While McVie shares the singing honors with guitarist Lindsay Buckingham in “Don’t Stop,” the writing comes from a very personal place for the keyboardist, who penned the song in the wake of her divorce from FM’s bassist John McVie. It’s a song all about moving on without too much nostalgia for the past, because baby “yesterday’s gone.” “Don’t Stop” is a fabulous, groovy song about putting one foot in front of the other, even on the hardest of days. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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“You Make Loving Fun”

“You Make Loving Fun”

You Make Loving Fun (2004 Remaster)

From the start of the sailing “sweet, wonderful you,” McVie brings a romanticism and levity to the song all about the wonders of love. Her voice gets to bubble over, anchored by angelic backup vocals and a spunky keyboard line. “You Make Loving Fun” is one of Fleetwood Mac’s best, as it beautifully captures the divine spirit of blossoming infatuation. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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“Brown Eyes”

“Brown Eyes”

Fleetwood Mac : “Brown eyes” live 1987

From 1979’s Tusk, “Brown Eyes” is a slow-burning, in-the-pocket tune, not dissimilar from the quiet storm genre that was dominating R&B at the time. Christine McVie cut her teeth on blues music, and she sounds right at home; with hardly any lyrics, the song is pure atmosphere, mood, and vibes. [Drew Gillis]

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“Little Lies”

“Little Lies”

Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies (Official Music Video)

Fourteen Fleetwood Mac albums later, McVie turned out another classic with “Tell Me Lies” from 1987’s Tango In The Night. She helmed the glossy song perfectly and turned around another U.S. top ten hit for the band—a title that has not been achieved by Fleetwood Mac since. There are so many aspects about this song that rule, especially as McVie masterfully develops a sound for the band which incorporates the glam-rock, synth-pop elements. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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Bonus Listening: “Let Me Go (Leave Me Alone)”

Bonus Listening: “Let Me Go (Leave Me Alone)”

Let Me Go (Leave Me Alone)

Stripped of the rest of the Mac vying for space on the mic, Christine McVie (née Perfect) had more than enough talent to spare. Her first solo album, later titled The Legendary Christine Perfect Album, captures her enigmatic blend of blues, psych, and pop that would make her a fixture on classic rock radio for the next 50 years. On “Let Me Go (Leave Me Alone),” McVie’s playful fingers dance around the keys like a methodical Little Richard, while her sultry, smoky voice imbues the heartache that would help define Fleetwood Mac. Though only offering a few lyrics in the song, it’s easy to hear the future broken-hearted, complicated earworms she would pen. As she wails, “I didn’t want to love you” and “Please won’t you let me go / Please won’t you leave me alone,” she offers a glimpse of future masterpieces “Songbird” and “Oh Daddy.” The sorrow she put to song would be the soundtrack to countless breakups. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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