Sunday, March 05, 2017

Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac thrive through touring, reissues, collaborations
By Ken Paulsen

For an act that hasn't had a top 10 hit in 30 years, Fleetwood Mac remains not just relevant but popular, with solo and group tours, a new collaboration in the works, a sustained radio presence, and several well-received reissues, including a new one on the way this month. Here's the latest on one of the world's most-enduring supergroups:

With the success of Fleetwood Mac's reissues of Rumours, Tusk and Mirage, Stevie Nicks has released deluxe reissues of her first two solo albums, "Bella Donna" and "The Wild Heart" (Rhino Records). "Bella Donna" revisits her smash solo debut, with early-80s standards "Edge of Seventeen" and the collaborations "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and "Leather and Lace," with Don Henley. The second disc is packed with soundtrack contributions, demos and alternate takes -- a funkier version of "How Still My Love," and a Nicks-only "Leather and Lace" are among the highlights. Disc Three covers 14 tracks from her 1981 solo tour, including standout tracks from the album and her Fleetwood Mac hits "Dreams," "Sara" and "Rhiannon."

The "Wild Heart" reissue covers 2 CDs -- the remastered album and a disc of rare tracks and demos. The reissue shows Nicks at the top of her game vocally, with a synthesizer-heavy sound that may not be timeless, but has firm roots in 1983 pop (not a bad thing at all). Her signature song, "Stand Back," takes center stage but a favorite is "I Will Run To You" with pal Tom Petty. Their chemistry and vocal harmony -- her rasp, his twang -- is superb. It was disappointing that an under-construction version of "Stand Back" was not included on disc 2, but other tracks are solid, including "Sorcerer," originally written in 1972, and another early track, "All The Beautiful Worlds."

Next up among reissues is Fleetwood Mac's "Tango In the Night" (Rhino Records), the band's 1987 comeback album that yielded four top 10 hits. The reissue, due March 31, will include the remastered album, including "Big Love," "Little Lies" and "Everywhere," and a 13-track second disc filled with outtakes, demos and instrumentals. A more extensive version, including 180 gram vinyl, will also be available.

On the road
The complete five-member act completed a year-long worldwide tour a little over a year ago, grossing $200 million and leaving fans wanting more. (They might get their wish.) On the heels of a successful run of dates in 2016, Stevie Nicks kicked off a new leg of her 24 Karat Gold tour last week, including a well-received show in Portland. She brings her act to the region in April with dates April 2 at the Prudential Center in Newark and April 6 and the new Nassau Coliseum.

Fleetwood Mac shares something with the Eagles, another titan of harmony-based rock: After each band took a hiatus from making fresh music (Eagles, 1980, Fleetwood Mac, 1987), their sound never really disappeared from the radio -- it just endured. These days, if you're in your car for at least an hour a day and flip through Q104, WCBS-FM or Lite-FM, you're guaranteed to hear a Fleetwood Mac song several times a week. What happens is that the music stays alive, and the DJs, always looking for something fresh to say, share updates on the band, whose members have remained active. The result is that the fans stay connected, and their interest never fades.

The band's chemistry -- maybe explosiveness is a better word -- is legendary. But one unexpected pairing -- musical, not romantic -- is now in the works. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie are reported to be collaborating on an album. The title at this point: Buckingham McVie, a clear nod to Buckingham-Nicks, the early 1970s pairing of that duo before they merged into Fleetwood Mac. "All these years we've had this rapport, but we'd never really thought about doing a duet album before," Buckingham told Rolling Stone about the collaboration. "There is that album [Buckingham Nicks] that I did with Stevie [Nicks] back before we joined the band, but other than that, it's all been Fleetwood Mac or solo."

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