FLEETWOOD MAC singer Christine McVie says she doesn’t know if the band’s seminal album Rumours would have been possible without the influence of drink and drugs.
The 74-year-old songwriter tells Desert Island Discs how their hit “Songbird” came to her in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep, but that it likely wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t binged on cocaine.
She said: “I don’t know if I would have written ‘Songbird’ had I not had a couple of toots of cocaine and a half bottle of champagne and I just couldn’t sleep. Or written any of the songs that were on that album because, I mean, I think we were all pretty loaded.”
Christine joined her then husband John McVie’s band back in 1967, contributing to their folky, blues-inspired sound.
“For me, I think I was probably the most restrained of the lot of us but I was no angel.”
She added that it is amazing that they have all survived: “Everybody does look great, clean and sober and happy. Somehow we crawled through the cracks, all five of us are healthy.”
Rumours, which came out in 1977, was famously made in a tense environment.
Christine and John were in the process of splitting up, while songwriting couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were also separating.
McVie and her husband divorced in 1976, but she didn’t leave the band until 1998.
She took a 15-year hiatus, during which time she bought a large house in Kent and a Range Rover in an attempt to get back to her English roots.
She said of that time: “I had this wild image in my mind that I was going to become a country lady. Everything had to be really English, the Aga, the Range Rover, the Hunter boots, the Barbour jacket. I think because my dad was ill to start with and later died, I think I wanted to be closer to my family and that’s why I moved to Kent.
“I developed agoraphobia, a dreadful fear of leaving my front doorstep. I couldn’t even get in my car. That’s how bad it was. So then this therapist said, ‘Well, first of all you have to get someone to drive your car out of the garage so it is closer to the house, go touch the car and the next day sit in the driver’s seat’. I did that for about two weeks and within two weeks I was driving again.”
The star says she had been reluctant to play music and write again.
“There was a beautiful piano there in the study and I never played it. It is like the blank canvas again. The perfectionist in me. Every time I sat down at this piano I wanted to write ‘Songbird’ again. So I was afraid to sit down and try.”
The British/American rock band, formed in London, have sold more than 100 million records.
She chose the Beatles’ hit “Roll Over Beathoven,” the “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi and “Angel Come Home” by the Beach Boys as her music with which to be marooned.
Her book was a biography of Henry VIII. And her baby grand piano that she wrote “Songbird” on was her luxury item.
Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4 today, 11:15 a.m.
Jaymi McCann / Express / Sunday, December 17, 2017