Nov 30, 2022: Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac Legend—Obituary

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Christine McVie from a 2014 post on her Facebook page

Music fans were shaken on November 30, 2022, with the news that Christine McVie, the singer, songwriter and keyboardist who joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970, had died. The announcement of her passing at age 79 was made on her Facebook page in a statement by the band, just after 2:30 p.m. ET. The cause of death later revealed to be a stroke while in an undisclosed hospital. It was reported that she had been suffering from metastatic cancer.

“There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie,” the band’s statement read. “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.”

Later that day, both Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood wrote personal tributes to McVie. Nicks referred to her as “my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975.” One day later, Lindsey Buckingham saluted his “musical comrade.”

Among the many classic rock songs that McVie wrote are her biggest hit, “Don’t Stop,” as well as “Over My Head,” “Say You Love Me” and “Hold Me,” which she co-wrote.

In a 2021 interview that aired on BBC Radio 2, McVie weighed in on Fleetwood Mac‘s future touring plans. At the time, she said that she didn’t think she, Stevie Nicks or John McVie would tour with the band again. That would have left just Mick Fleetwood, who, she said, “would do it in a lightning strike.”

Pressed further by interviewer Johnnie Walker on the Feb. 7, 2021, “Sounds of the 70s” program, McVie said, “I think I’m getting a bit too old for it. Especially having had a year off, I don’t think I can get myself back into it again.”

She was born Christine Anne Perfect on July 12, 1943, in Bouth, Lancashire, England. Her father played and taught violin professionally, but Christine gravitated toward the piano beginning at age four. She began studying the instrument seriously at 11 and became interested in rock and roll when she first heard the pioneering artists Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers. She played with local bands while in art college and joined the blues-rock group Chicken Shack in 1967, as its pianist.

In August 1968, Christine Perfect married John McVie, the bassist of another rising blues-rock band, Fleetwood Mac, and took his surname. In 1970, after making two albums with Chicken Shack and her first, self-titled solo album (there would be two others later), she joined Fleetwood Mac, which until that time had been an all-male outfit.  She appeared on 1970’s Kiln House album but was first considered an official member with the release of Future Games the following year.

By 1974, the group had continued to shed members and bring in new ones, and the group moved to the United States, where, the following year, it added singer Stevie Nicks and singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who had been working as a duo. The new group lineup of Mick Fleetwood (drums), John McVie (bass), Christine McVie (keyboards and vocals), Nicks and Buckingham released its self-titled album in 1973 and immediately began enjoying commercial success it had never before experienced, as the album rose to #1 on the strength of songs like Christine McVie’s  “Say You Love Me” and “Over My Head,” and Nicks’ “Rhiannon.”

The followup album, 1977’s Rumours, which included the McVie compositions “Don’t Stop,” “Songbird” and “You Make Loving Fun,” as well as Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way” and Nicks’ “Dreams,” not only reached the top of the charts but stayed there for a staggering 31 weeks, becoming one of the top-selling albums of all time.

Watch Fleetwood Mac perform “Don’t Stop”

Between those two albums, in 1976, the McVies divorced. Ten years later, Christine married keyboardist Eddy Quintela, but the couple later divorced. McVie left Fleetwood Mac in 1998 and kept out of the public eye for some time. Following a 2013 appearance with Fleetwood Mac, she rejoined the band the following year.

McVie’s last studio effort was a 2017 collaboration with Lindsey Buckingham. The pair followed it with a duet tour. Earlier in 2022, she released a new collection, Songbird.

Listen to the orchestral version of “Songbird”

Fleetwood Mac’s most recent tour went from 2018-2019, when the group added guitarists Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. The pair replaced Buckingham, who was booted from the band in 2018.

Related: McVie was mourned by many of her female musical peers

Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. Da Mick
    #1 Da Mick 10 February, 2021, 10:37

    If Mac really is done with touring so soon after their last tour, was it really necessary to boot Lindsay out of the band, and end things with such bad blood? For all we know, this might have something to do with that. For when you take Buckingham out of Mac’s live show, there’s not much left beside a spinning Nicks. As much as I like McVie’s voice and songs, Buckingham gave Mac their live personality with dynamic stage his energy and talents. Not to be cruel but Nicks’ voice has shriveled to a one-dimensional croak.

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    • JCB
      JCB 11 February, 2021, 10:39

      Ms. McVie wrote more hits than Lindsey or Stevie, that is a fact. She had nothing to do with Lindsey “getting the boot”, Mick owns the band. Lindsey and Christine did a tour together in 2017 /18 if you don’t remember. They put an album out together and it’s quite good. You’d be totally wrong about the band operating without Buckingham, I love his playing / singing but they do fine without him. I saw the band in 2019 with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn filling in for Lindsey, they were amazing. Finn’s voice is incredible as is his guitar playing, Campbell is a legend, deservedly so. I also saw the Mac in the early 90’s with Rick Vito and Billy Burnette filling in for Lindsey as he had quit. That was a monster tour, totally incendiary guitar playing. When Vito soloed on “Isn’t It Midnight” I thought the roof was coming off. They killed it that night. I like Lindsey a ton, seen him several times solo, great per usual, but the Mac goes on without him just fine.

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  2. Baybluesman
    #2 Baybluesman 30 November, 2022, 16:14

    Classy and Soulful.

    IMO, Christine Perfect McVie always was, and has been, the heart and soul of Fleetwood Mac, even though she didn’t receive the notoriety of the other members.

    She was a stabilizing force from the early 70’s through the early 9Os, and always seemed to take the high road.

    Next to Bob Welch, Christine was my personal favorite member of Fleetwood Mac, as a lyricist, vocalist, and musician, in any of it’s incarnations (or reincarnations, if you will)

    Loved her singing, songwriting, and musicianship throughout.

    R.I.P. Songbird.

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  3. Mark
    #3 Mark 1 December, 2022, 11:19

    I loved Christine’s voice , her amazing songs , & her harmonies on so many songs. “You make lovin fun ” I always play loud & it makes you feel so good. “Sentimental lady” , the Fleetwood Mac version is so warm , really a beautiful summers day but its made by her backing vocals. A great song maybe not so well known is “Why” off Mystery to Me the closing song. A beautiful vocal & for ‘ my heart will rise up with the morning sun” Thanks so much to Christine for all the incredible loving music she gave us. Cheers Mark

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  4. Da Mick
    #4 Da Mick 1 December, 2023, 09:22

    Just to clarify, for those who appear to deem themselves as some kind of FM expert, my earlier comment was not saying that Christine had anything to do with Buckingham being kicked out of the band — just the opposite as Buckingham has reported that Christine wrote him afterward apologizing for his expulsion and actually stating that she had nothing to do with it, as, yes, everyone who pays any attention to FM know she and Buckingham had just done an album and tour together and appeared to be pretty close. It may have been Fleetwood’s band, but it seems pretty clear that Fleetwood kowtowed to the hissy fit of Nicks in getting rid of Buckingham, apparently despite the objections of Christine McVie at least. My original point, was that with Christine reporting that neither she, Nicks, or John McVie would likely be willing to record or tour with the band again after that “amazing” tour with Neil Finn and Mike Campbell, it seems quite possible that the personal emotional turmoil and mixed resentments about having Buckingham kicked out of the band may well have risen to a point that exceeded the joy of getting on the stage with those same people and making the music at that point, reducing their performances to a business transaction with some excellent sidemen. The whole strife about having Buckingham kicked out seemed unnecessary. And while they may have found two talented guys to substitute for Buckinghams talents in that last go-round, and when they substituted Vito and Burnette for him in that 80s lineup (which more or less amounted to a FM cover band), they may have pulled off their live shows with superb musicianship, but Buckingham is still the guy who wrote a third of their songs, energized their live shows, produced the band’s essential records that so many fans actually own and was inarguably the engine of the most successful version of Fleetwood Mac, not to mention his voice is an indelible part of their sound. While I absolutely love Neil Finn, in and out of Crowded House, and have long admired Mike Campbell’s work, having seen both in their respective bands of renown, I can say that neither can compare to the live energy of Lindsay Buckingham, and can only imagine that a Fleetwood Mac performance with them in lieu of Buckingham would be much like watching a painting of good music, except, like I said, for that whirling dervish at center stage, which get rather old pretty quickly. I love and have always admired Christine McVie for her songs, her voice, and for everything she brought to FM which is what had initially transformed it from a blues band to a pop band. And while I resent Nicks for her central role in Buckingham’s departure and subsequent break-up of the band once more, I find her claims that Christine was her “best friend” and “musical soul mate” both insincere and incredibly hypocritical in that, by her own admission, she apparently didn’t know Christine was sick, much less that she was terminally ill. This adolescent need to paint herself as Christine’s intimate seems like yet just one more, of many, examples of Nicks’ long history of using any opportunity to include herself into any picture of someone whose fame she can hitchhike on to portray herself as being in an inner circle with those whose fame she covets. It’s telling about Nicks that she would use Christine’s death to paint herself this way when it’s quite plausible that Nick’s own behavior may have been the reason Christine didn’t want to tour with FM again, as Christine obviously wasn’t in touch with, or even shared her condition with her “best friend” throughout her illness, up to the time of her death.

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