Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie Dies at 79

The band say, "She was the best musician anyone could have in their band the best friend anyone could have in their life."

Photo via Raph_PH (Flickr)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Nov 30, 2022

Christine McVie — known best as co-lead vocalist and keyboardist of Fleetwood Mac — has died. McVie's family announced in a statement that the English artist "passed away peacefully at hospital this morning" following a "short illness." She was 79.

"We kindly ask that you respect the family's privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally. RIP Christine McVie," the family's statement reads.

"There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie," Fleetwood Mac wrote in a respective statement. "She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band 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."

First joining Fleetwood Mac in 1970, McVie contributed uncredited backup vocals and keyboards, and painted the cover artwork of the band's fourth album Kiln House ahead of becoming a full-fledged member for 1971 follow-up Future Games.

McVie would go on to write some of Fleetwood Mac's most enduring songs, including "Everywhere," "You Make Loving Fun," "Don't Stop," "Songbird," "Little Lies," "Say You Love Me" and "Over My Head."

Born Christine Perfect in Lancashire, UK, in 1943, McVie played piano as a child and would later study sculpture at Birmingham's Moseley School of Art, intending to be an art teacher. Concurrently, she sang with Sounds of Blue, an early incarnation of English blues band Chicken Shack with whom she would go on to release a pair of albums with — 1968's 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve and 1969's O.K. Ken? — as vocalist and keyboardist.

McVie joined Fleetwood Mac, who by this time were familiar with her work with Chicken Shack, after marrying bassist John McVie. Following the release of 1972's Bare Trees and 1973's Mystery to Me, the band moved to the United States, soon welcoming Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham into the fold. With what would become their most commercially successful lineup in place, they opened the period with 1975's Fleetwood Mac, which included McVie songs like "Warm Ways," "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me."

Ahead of entering the studio to record 1977 magnum opus Rumours, the McVies ended their marriage of eight years; an event that bore out in the songwriter's contributions to the album. "You Make Loving Fun" was inspired by an affair between McVie and Fleetwood Mac's lighting engineer, while the deeply felt lyrics of ballad "Songbird" include lines like, "I wish you all the love in the world / But most of all, I wish it from myself."

Of the upbeat "Don't Stop," McVie recalled in Bob Dunning's 2004 biography The Fleetwood Mac Story: Rumours and Lies, "[the song] was just a feeling. It just seemed to be a pleasant revelation to have that 'yesterday's gone.' It might have, I guess, been directed more toward John, but I'm just definitely not a pessimist."

McVie continued with Fleetwood Mac into the '80s — writing hits like "Little Lies" and "Everywhere" from 1987's Tango in the Night — and '90s, parting ways with the group in 1998 after nearly 30 years with them. McVie would later reflect that her departure was a result of a phobia of flying, her father's death and a desire to be closer to family in England. She would rejoin Fleetwood Mac in 2014, and had been touring with the group in recent years.

As a solo artist, McVie would make her debut under her given name with an eponymous debut LP in 1970, which was followed by sophomore LP Christine McVie in 1984. Following her departure from Fleetwood Mac, McVie would release In the Meantime in 2004, and would join Buckingham for 2017 duo effort Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie.

In August 2021, McVie sold her songwriting catalogue to Hipgnosis for an undisclosed sum, making her the fourth member of Fleetwood Mac to make such a sail and the second to choose Hipgnosis, following former bandmate Buckingham.

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