Mick Fleetwood and ‘Ukulele Virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro honor Christine McVie on the late Fleetwood Mac Singer’s Birthday with a touching instrumental version of “Songbird”
The release of “Songbird” was years in the making. Fleetwood and Shimabukuro, who both live in Hawaii, have been eager to collaborate for over a decade. When the opportunity finally arose this spring to record some music at Fleetwood’s studio in Maui, it was Shimabukuro who suggested they record “Songbird.” Fleetwood recalls, “We cut it in April, and it turned out beautifully, but there was no plan yet to release it. But when I heard about Christine’s upcoming birthday, it felt like the right time to share this as a tribute to all the lovely music she created, both on her own and with Fleetwood Mac.”
“Songbird” holds a special place in the hearts of Fleetwood Mac fans around the world, and McVie’s impassioned vocals have made it an enduring classic since its debut on Rumours in 1977. That’s why Fleetwood says he was initially cautious about reinterpreting such a cherished song. “When something is that well known, it becomes hallowed ground to a certain extent. But when we did it, I remember there was a hush when we listened back, and we felt that we had touched on something.” At that moment, Fleetwood says, he felt McVie’s presence in a powerful way.
In his heartfelt dedication at the end of the instrumental, Fleetwood adapts a lyric from McVie’s original. He says, “As the songbird sings, now from the heavens, to you Christine, I wish you all the love in the world. But, most of all, I wish it from myself.”
Surprisingly, “Songbird” wasn’t the only Fleetwood Mac song inspiring them in the studio. The drummer reveals that the track’s soft, insistent rhythm was influenced by another instrumental piece, “Albatross.” Written by the band’s founder and guitarist Peter Green, the song topped the U.K. charts in 1969. Fleetwood describes the songs as musical siblings. “They’re as simple as can be, but Peter Green always used to say, less is more.”
Listen here: cmv.lnk.to/SongbirdMJ