Doubly sad music news this long weekend, first with word that the “Mac” in Fleetwood Mac – bassist John McVie – will be undergoing treatment for cancer in December, meaning that the 14 date tour of Australia and New Zealand is cancelled. Being that Fleetwood Mac are still touring right now (with ex-wife Christine McVie having made surprise appearances with the band 15 years after her retirement) I’m optimistic John must be in reasonable health and hopeful they can reschedule before too long.
The second blow for music fans came this morning with confirmation that just six months after a liver transplant Lou Reed has died, aged 71. Neither he nor his band Velvet Underground sold a truckload of albums, but their influence was such that Brian Eno is quoted as saying, “the first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”
Here are two songs, the first one being my all time favourite Fleetwood Mac song and one that many big Fleetwood Mac fans don’t even know. Released during the overlooked transitional years of the early 70s when the band had moved away from their initial British blues sound and were stepping towards a more melodic American sensibility (culminating with the recruitment of Americans Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in 1975), Why (1973) is Christine McVie at her finest.
This desperately sad song was said to be directly about her soon to be ex-husband John. Listen for his always sublime bass as well as the harmonies at the song’s end and some outstanding guitar work from the late Bob Welch:
And for Lou Reed, here is the 1997 all-star cover of his 1972 song Perfect Day. The remake spent three weeks at UK#1 and made more than two million pounds for the charity Children In Need. Alongside Lou Reed himself, look out for Bono, David Bowie, Elton John, Emmylou Harris, Dr. John and Tom Jones (amongst many others):