Throwback Tuesday : Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’!

If I could , maybe I’d give you my world.
How can I, when you won’t take it from me?
You can go your own way…

Yesss!! It’s time to go back, way back to the 70’s and bow down to the brilliance of one of the greatest rock records of all time. A majority of the human race considers Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album ‘Rumours‘, released in 1977, a perfect record – if there ever was one. Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie created a sonic masterpiece that resonated with their emotional turmoil, thoroughly capturing the interpersonal tension of the band members who bared their souls to create an album that was confessional, emotionally charged and gleefully voyeuristic – displaying their private drama with ample ease through words and music.

During the recording of ‘Rumours‘, EVERY member of the band had their own share of insane drama – stuff that could easily create a magnanimous soap opera. The fact that the band consisted of not one, but two couples on the brink of breaking up didn’t make things any easier. Married members John and Christine McVie’s 8 year-long marriage ended in a divorce, and as if that wasn’t enough – lovers Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s relationship ended around the same time – leading them to fight frequently during recording sessions. The remaining band member Mick Fleetwood, meanwhile, had discovered that his wife was cheating on him with his best friend. With drama of such magnificent proportions, any other band would have split up and moved on, but Fleetwood Mac stuck together, keeping their emotional mess aside to focus on strictly creating new music – pouring their hearts out to create an immaculately flaw-free milestone of an album out of their personal wreckage and their broken-hearted blues in the face of overwhelming personal and emotional sacrifices.

The result? ‘Rumours‘ sky-rocketed to # 1 globally, spending an unprecedented 31 weeks atop the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, selling an incredible 42 million units worldwide and winning the coveted Album Of The Year trophy at the 1977 Grammy Awards. The album spawned 4 top 10 singles on the charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 # 1 hit ‘Dreams‘ (the band’s only # 1 single to date), ‘Don’t Stop‘ (# 3), ‘You Make Loving Fun‘ (#9) and today’s Throwback Tuesday song of the week and one of my favorite songs of all time, ‘Go Your Own Way‘ (# 10).

Go Your Own Way‘ – the first single to be released from ‘Rumours‘ – is one of the most poignant, anthemic and timeless break-up tunes of all time. It’s not too difficult to understand the origin of the scathing lyrics as Lindsey Buckingham accuses his lover Stevie Nicks of ‘packing up, shacking up‘ with different men, refusing to open up completely to his love and playing along with him, for being blind enough to not identify a good man when he was standing right in front of her. I honestly wonder what it must have taken for Stevie to keep her personal misery aside and join Buckingham in the chorus of the very same song. Take a bow Stevie! The irresistible melody, the lush harmonies, the triumphant chorus – perfectly encapsulates the pain of a break-up, making ‘Go Your Own Way‘ one of the most endearing songs that shaped the landscape of pop music.

Time and again, I’ve found solace in this song while dealing with my own issues. Dealing with a break-up? I gave up, period. There’s no such fixed protocol to follow when your insides are a mess – and things aren’t any easier if you get the shorter end of the stick after reality hits you. The lyrics, though tortured, thoroughly encompasses the private pain you feel – especially after promises (of a happy ending, friendship etc) are broken, words are unspoken and a deceptively terrifying silence follows the end of togetherness – making you feel as if the fault was entirely yours. It slowly, painfully wakes you up to the possibility of never, ever spending another day with someone who used to be your everything, and who is now a perfect stranger that you might just bump into someday, ‘might’ being the keyword here. Surely this feeling must be universal, cause around 42 million people, apart from me, identify with the lyrics of the song. Check out a live version of ‘Go Your Own Way‘ right here :

Go Your Own Way‘ has been endlessly covered by numerous artists, but the one cover that I’m mesmerized by is the version by pop trio Wilson Phillip for their 2004 comeback album ‘California‘.

After you’re done venting out your frustrations to the original song, it’s time to mellow down, and focus on really, really letting go. And Wilson Phillip’s version of the song is just what you need after the aggressive turmoil your mind has been through  – a supremely melodic and lush take on the original. Memories play a crucial, and a rather ironic role in the process of detachment, and just when you’re done dealing with your uncontrolled angst, the good ones tend to slowly creep back in. That’s when the pain – notoriously guarded so far behind a veil of the pseudo power-rush you experienced a while ago – reappears. And that’s when you let go and finally face it.

There’s nothing more liberating than realizing (preferably after you’ve shed a good few tears listening to this version) that you’ve been praying empty prayers all along, and that it’s time to really move on cuz clearly – it wasn’t worth it. If the person you’re crying for really deserved you, he/she wouldn’t have let you cry in the first place – and would have stuck by you to dry your tears as a lover, or a friend, or probably even an acquaintance – irrespective of what you’ve been through, and not shied away from facing you again. It takes two to build memories, so why would you be the only one hanging on to them if the other person has no reason to cherish what you created mutually?

This particular version of the song has a palpable melancholy to it – it helps you wish the one who hurt you well, while you let them go their own way. Someday, eventually – they’ll realize what they’ve lost. And as Miss Janet Jackson once aptly sang, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Listen to Wilson Phillip’s version of ‘Go Your Own Way‘ right here :