The great Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac songwriter and keyboardist, died today at age 79. I'm a lifelong fan of Fleetwood Mac's California cocaine trilogy of Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and Tusk LPs that included greatest hits written by McVie like "Say You Love Me," "Over My Head," "Don't Stop," "You Make Loving Fun," "Songbird," and "Think About Me." From the New York Times:
In just half an hour, she wrote one of the band's most beloved songs, "Songbird," a sensitive ballad that for years served as the band's closing encore in concert. In 2019, the band's leader, Mick Fleetwood, told New Musical Express that "Songbird" is the piece he wanted played at his funeral, "to send me off fluttering."
Ms. McVie's lyrics often captured the more intoxicating aspects of romance. "I'm definitely not a pessimist," she told Bob Brunning, the author of the 2004 book "The Fleetwood Mac Story: Rumours and Lies." "I'm basically a love song writer."
At the same time, her words accounted for the yearning and disappointments that can lurk below an exciting surface. "I'm good at pathos," she told Mojo magazine in 2017. "I write about romantic despair a lot, but with a positive spin."
Ms. McVie's vocals communicated just as nuanced a range of feeling. Her soulful contralto could sound by turns maternally wise and sexually alive. Her tawny tone had the heady effect of a bourbon with a rich bouquet and a smooth finish. It found a graceful place in harmony with the voices of Ms. Nicks and Mr. Buckingham, together forming a signature Fleetwood Mac sound.
"It was that chemistry," she told Mojo. "The two of them just chirped into the perfect three-way harmony. I just remember thinking, 'This is it!'"