Christine McVie, the Fleetwood Mac vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter behind such hits as “Everywhere,” “The Chain,” “Don’t Stop,” and many more, has died. As confirmed by her family and the band on social media, McVie died early on November 30th, following a short illness. She was 79.
“On behalf of Christine McVie’s family, it is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death,” the post states. “She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness. She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally. RIP Christine McVie.”
“There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie,” Fleetwood Mac’s statement reads. “She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”
Born Christine Perfect on July 12, 1943, in Bouth, Lancashire, England, McVie was the platonic ideal of a future Fleetwood Mac member. With her father, Cyril, a concert violinist and music professor at Birmingham University, and mother, Beatrice, a psychic medium, she was seemingly destined to build a witchy and musically sophisticated song library. And she started working on it from a young age, taking up the piano at age four before seriously studying classical forms at 11.
Her early interest in the arts led her to the Moseley School of Art in Birmingham, where she studied sculpture. But it was her extra circulars that charted a course for the future. During her time in Birmingham, McVie took an interest in the blues, playing in the bands Sounds Of Blue and Chicken Shack. While her time in those bands didn’t last, her deep smoky alto didn’t go unnoticed, and in 1969 and 1970, she won Melody Maker awards for female vocalists, and in 1970 she released her first solo album, Christine Perfect.
It was during her touring time in Chicken Shack that she met her future husband and bandmate, John McVie. She married him in 1968, with Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green serving as best man. Fleetwood Mac had already begun charting before she joined the band in 1970, first playing piano on the band’s second album, Mr. Wonderful. The McVies packed up and moved the band to the United States in 1974, when they solidified the band’s lineup, bringing in Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and releasing the group’s self-titled album.
But it was the band’s follow-up that would be their masterpiece. 1977’s Rumours reflected the band’s interpersonal hardships, with Christine penning songs about her ongoing affair with the band’s lighting director. Those tunes would be some of the band’s biggest hits, including “You Make Loving Fun.” While the song would be a top-10 hit for the group, it could not save McVie’s marriage. The two would remain members of the group but divorced in 1978, ahead of the band’s next record, the challenging, experimental, and beloved double album, Tusk.
Those interpersonal problems that inspired the band’s success led to open hostility on the Tusk tour. “I used to go onstage and drink a bottle of Dom Perignon, and drink one offstage afterwards,” Christine McVie said. “It’s not the kind of party I’d like to go to now. There was a lot of booze being drunk and there was blood floating around in the alcohol, which doesn’t make for a stable environment.” The band released its 13th album, Mirage, in 1982, which charted at no. 1 in the United States.
In 1984, she released her second solo album, Christine McVie, and three years later, the Mac returned with some of the band’s biggest hits, including the McVie-penned “Little Lies,” which she co-wrote with then-husband Eddy Quintela, and “Everywhere.” McVie would perform on three more albums with the group, Behind The Mask, Time, and The Dance. However, she more or less retreated from public life.
After declining offers to reunite with the group in 2003 and 2008, McVie reemerged in 2013, appearing on stage for the first time in 15 years, performing with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band. The following year, she rejoined her old bandmates for Fleetwood Mac’s On With The Show tour.
She’d spend the decade sporadically rejoining her old collaborators. In 2017, she and Lindsay Buckingham released a studio album, which reunited the classic members sans Stevie Nicks. The following year, the inverse happened: The classic line-up reunited with Buckingham. Still, through the turmoil of the band’s career, McVie continued to return to the group because of the connection with her bandmates and her fans. She said in 2015:
You look out into the audience and you see so much joy on people’s faces. You make eye contact with people who are almost crying because they can’t believe they’re seeing the Rumours five back again, they can’t believe their eyes. It’s almost like a family reunion on stage, there’s no angst, there’s no animosity, there’s just tremendous amount of friendship.