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Rumours generated four top-ten singles, topped the Billboard album charts for thirty-one weeks, and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1977. It went on to become the fifth bestselling album to dateforty million copies and countingand Rolling Stone's twenty-fifth greatest album of all time. And it turned a band that had struggled to make a name for itself for nearly two decades into a household name. In Making Rumours, the album's coproducer Ken Caillat tells the wild, poignant, and exhilarating story behind the album's creation. Its potent combination of rock-star melodrama, technical insights, and compelling portraits of five brilliant but troubled young artists at their creative peak will forever change the way you hear the album.
Trouble was brewing well before sessions began at the Record Plant in Sausalito in January 1976. John and Christine McVie were getting divorced. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had joined the band as a couple more than a year earlier, but now they were in a constant state of war. And, unknown to anyone but Caillat's coproducer, Richard Dashut, drummer Mick Fleetwood had just learned that his wife was divorcing him and taking up with his best friend.
From the first session, which featured the rudiments of "The Chain" and John McVie improvising the critical bass part that ties it all together, to the final sessions that tempered and polished the songs' vocals, Caillat reveals how these conflicts, fueled by drugs, alcohol, and the pressure of making the album, tore the band apart. But making the music pulled them back together.
Stevie and Lindsey had screaming matches between takes of "You Make Loving Fun," and John and Christine bickered constantly. During takes, however, everyone collaborated brilliantly and did whatever it took to get the sound they needed. Lindsey played a beat against a leather chair on "Second Hand News"; Mick stood atop a ladder, tossing sheets of glass to the floor for the haunting end of "Gold Dust Woman"; and Christine, at Ken's suggestion, took the stage in an empty theater to record her splendid "Songbird" vocal.
Woven through all of this drama and artistry, Caillat presents a virtual master class in how to produce a great album. He describes everything from microphone placement and how to liven up a "dead" room to how to work with difficult artists and what to do when your master tape begins to degrade nine months into the process.
Packed with scores of never-before-published photos from Caillat's personal collection, Making Rumours is a must-read for Fleetwood Mac fans, rock history buffs, and anyone who loves a behind-the-scenes account of great musicians at work and play.