Critical Voices: Fleetwood Mac, 50 Years – Don’t Stop

December 4, 2018

In 1968, the iconic folk rock band Fleetwood Mac was formed in London. The group has had 18 different members, and endured half a century of drug abuse, bitter breakups, and constant infighting that threatened the band’s future on countless occasions. Despite the infamous drama, their anniversary album 50 Years – Don’t Stop is proof that musically, Fleetwood Mac is stronger than ever five decades on.

The album features 50 songs, and lasts for a glorious three hours and seven minutes. It is a journey through the best of their discography, focusing on more than just the Rumours era. The 1977 album has become one of Fleetwood Mac’s most iconic records, producing hit songs “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” and “The Chain.” These classics all make an appearance on 50 Years, but it’s Fleetwood Mac’s hidden gems that make the album such a joy to listen to.

Amongst these forgotten tracks are a few of the best from 1987’s Tango in the Night. While this  album that has had neither the commercial success or longevity of Rumours, it is perhaps the band’s strongest full-length project. 50 Years includes the dreamy, upbeat “Everywhere,” a track that shows off Christine McVie’s heavenly vocals. Listeners also get to delight in Lindsey Buckingham’s lead vocals and guitar on “Family Man,” despite the fact that Buckingham will not join the group on their 2018 tour. His infamous on-again, off-again love interest Stevie Nicks is incredible as always on the remastered version of “Seven Wonders.”

Fleetwood Mac’s most recent top-ten single to date, “Little Lies”, is also included on the album. Despite how catchy the hit is, it is a slightly forgettable classic. Unfortunately, one stunning track that doesn’t make it on to 50 Years is “Caroline,” a song that is not only a highlight of Tango in the Night, but of the band’s entire career. Leaving “Caroline” off any Fleetwood Mac greatest hit compilation is a huge mistake, but 50 Years is so chock-full of incredible tracks that it’s a forgivable error.

It is not just the songs from Tango in the Night, however, that make 50 Years such a magical listen. 1973’s “Remember Me” from the pre-Nicks and Buckingham Fleetwood Mac features strong guitars riffs and McVie’s unusual low, slightly husky vocals. McVie’s talent shows again on a remastered version of “Over My Head,” from the band’s 1975 self-titled album. Listeners also get to uncover a few great tracks from Behind the Mask–Fleetwood Mac’s 1990 album that enjoyed very little airplay in the United States. “Save Me,” the album’s biggest US hit and one of the few songs to feature four-year member of the band Rick Vito, is an impressively catchy track, and Vito’s strong vocals make it a tragedy that he didn’t spend more time in the band.

50 Years – Don’t Stop is a highlight reel of five decades of drama, but when you listen to this album, the catfights and breakups fade away, and Fleetwood Mac’s enchanting music is all that remains. Though it doesn’t include every single one of the band’s hits, 50 Years is a joy for listeners, whether you’re a hardcore Fleetwood Mac fan or not.

Katherine Randolph
Katherine is the Voice's editor-in-chief. She enjoys both causing and covering mayhem, following raccoons on Instagram, and making her own scrunchies.

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