Probably some of the greatest theater in Rock music is attached to the song Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac.
If you don’t know the story, Fleetwood Mac’s wildly successful 70s incarnation was about the fifth version of personnel in the band. They had gone through guitarist after guitarist, singer after singer (usually the same person doing both) before bringing Lindsey Buckingham into the group in 1975.
He was part of a team with his girlfriend Stevie Nicks who recorded under the name Buckingham/Nicks and Lindsay insisted that Stevie be part of the band too if he was to join them.
At this point, Fleetwood Mac had been relegated to sort of a minor star status in the rock hemisphere, they sold about 200,000 copies per album and were probably on the verge of falling off the rock landscape when Buckingham and Nicks joined.
What happened though is rock legend; the California duo mixing with Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVey gave the group a sort of California soft rock sound, the best rhythm section in rock and 3 capable singers who could all trade lead and harmony; plus they could all write.
Their initial LP with this lineup, Fleetwood Mac, took off late in ’75 and became one of the great surprises of the year. Then Stevie Nicks haunting number Rhiannon was performed on the Midnight Special in the Spring of 1976 and the group exploded into superstardom.
Throughout the latter half of ’76, Fleetwood Mac worked on the followup to that LP; an album that turned out to be one of the greatest LP’s in history in Rumours.
However during the making of the new album, the band members personal lives fell apart. Buckingham and Nicks broke up. The McVeys broke up too. Mick Fleetwood broke up with his wife…
…and they both wrote and recorded the album in this state, together.
They wrote breakup songs about each other, Nicks was singing backup vocals on songs that Buckingham wrote about her, John McVey was playing bass on songs that Christine McVey wrote about her new love, Buckingham played guitar on songs Nicks had written badmouthing him.
It was incredible; but what might have been most incredible is that there was one song out of the songs on Rumours that seemingly was a bit too personal; called Silver Springs.
It was a song by Nicks about Buckingham; on the LP version it was a song somewhat reminiscent of Aqueous Transmission by Incubus, it has a sort of floating downstream in the water feel to it.
But alas, to keep the album under 40 minutes, which certainly wasn’t any sort of requirement as many 1977 LPs go over 40 minutes, they cut Silver Springs off of Rumours.
Legend has it, when the decision by Fleetwood and Buckingham was made to cut the song off of the album, Stevie Nicks literally started screaming at the top of her lungs in the parking lot in the studio; she was that upset that the song was to be left off.
It did wind up as a “B” side of the Go Your Own Way single, so those who bought the single did hear the song; but other than those people and the lucky few who had heard the song performed live during 1976 the song just went away for 20 years.
Stevie tried to get the song on a different LP, but the band said no. She tried to get the song for her solo career, Fleetwood wouldn’t give her the song that she wrote.
Finally, for their reunion in 1997 they decided to perform the song and put it on their new live album as a sort of bonus track.
By this time, Nicks and Buckingham have been split for 20 years but you wouldn’t know it by watching them do the song live for the first time since 1976.
When they launch into the “new” version of the song, only a couple of people know the song seemingly; only a couple of people in the audience can be heard reacting.
By the time the song is done, they get a standing ovation, for one of the most dramatic performances in the history of Rock.
FYI-Silver Springs is a little town in Maryland, Stevie Nicks drove through it and liked the name and that’s where the title came from.
It also happens to be the town responsible for the launch of Beatlemania in the United States; we’ll save that story for the next version of Reflections.