Rock’s Songbird—Christine McVie—has flown free

The Rock world has been reeling from the news of the unexpected death of Christine McVie, the longtime co-lead vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter for Fleetwood Mac. She died Wednesday, November 30, 2022, after a short illness. She was 79. Christine was surrounded by family members at a London hospital when she passed.

Many condolences and remembrances have been pouring in this past week, especially from members of the band attesting to how much she was loved and appreciated as a person and, of course, as one of their foundational musicians. This E News! video contains several quotes from both band and family members alike. Good Morning America aired Celebrating the life and legacy of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie

You can read more in some of the many articles published about her life. Here are a few: Rolling Stone: Christine McVie, Keyboardist and Singer for Fleetwood Mac, Dead at 79; The Guardian: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie dies at age 79; and NME’s Mark Beaumont’s excellent piece: Christine McVie, 1943-2022: an eternal songbird.

The Guardian also posted photos and quotes: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie – a life in pictures, and Christine McVie: a look back at the Fleetwood Mac star’s greatest hits – video obituary.

Christine McVie on writing ‘Songbird’

One of the things that came up in my Instagram feed was this post from Far Out Magazine: Christine McVie on Writing Songbird. They included the audio portion from a Dec 17, 2017 BBC Desert Island Discs interview with Christine McVie that dealt with how she came to write her famous song. They also transcribed that part of the conversation in the Instagram post. Raised on Radio also posted the interview on YouTube. The Songbird section starts at 3:18. You can click CC to see their words.

In a recent post, I quoted Brendan Graham, who said, “the truly special songs write us; we don’t write them. We don’t find them; they find us.” Christine McVie described exactly that kind of magical experience.

She couldn’t sleep, and an unknown song was in her head. “I had to play this song. It was as if I’d been channeled or something!” It came to her at 3 in the morning. “The whole song, complete, chords, words, everything within half an hour,” she explained. Fortunately, she had a piano in her room, but no tape recorder. So she kept playing it without sleeping for fear of forgetting it, until she went into the studio at 9 o’clock the next day to record it on a two-track tape. “I just felt as if it was a universal kind of prayer or something. I just don’t know where it came from. This never happened to me since or before.”

‘Songbird’ would arguably become McVie’s signature song. Originally released as the B-side to ‘Dreams’ in 1977, it ended up on Fleetwood Mac’s world-conquering Rumours album. It wasn’t her biggest hit for the group, but the ballad was a frequent closer at Fleetwood Mac concerts, especially after McVie rejoined in 2014.

McVie later recorded an orchestral version of the song, composed and arranged by multi-Grammy winner Vince Mendoza. It was part of her first-ever compilation highlighting songs from her solo career: ‘Songbird ~ A Solo Collection,’ which came out this year.

Enjoy this beautiful photo collage by CK WOOD Music Productions to Songbird (Fleetwood Mac and Christine McVie).

At 2:03 there’s a photo of Christine wearing a top with the words, Nobody’s Perfekt. This is doubly funny, not only because of the misspelling of the word, perfect, but also because it’s her family name! She was born Christine Anne Perfect. She told Peter Robinson of The Guardian: “I used to joke that I was perfect until I married John.”

Two decades after it first aired, the world discovered Eva Cassidy’s amazing voice singing ‘Songbird’. It was published 2 years after her untimely death at 33. Mick Fleetwood knew Eva and said this about her: “She was brilliant. She had the magic. And I call it, It. She had It!” To find out more about her, see The hauntingly beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy.

Christine’s Family, Early Background, and Later Recognition

Christine Anne Perfect was born on July 12, 1943 to Cyril Percy Absell Perfect and Beatrice Edith Maud Perfect. They also have a son named John. Christine’s family contributed considerably to her development. Her grandfather was the organist at Westminster Abbey. Her father was a concert violinist and music lecturer at St. Peters College of Education at Saltley in Birmingham. Her mother was a medium, psychic, and faith healer. After her brother brought home a Fats Domino songbook, she switched from playing classical piano to blues-based rock and roll.

She studied sculpture at school with the intention of becoming an art teacher and met blues musicians who invited her to join a band. She later left a window-dressing job in London to become a full-time musician. She would soon be invited to join an early version of Fleetwood Mac who would go on, through various iterations, to become one of the top-selling bands of all time.

An introvert by nature, McVie’s creative and spiritual influences informed her musical career and kind personality. She impacted her bandmates in positive ways, at times, the quieter center holding them together as they spun out of control due to the excessive drug-fueled lifestyles and rocky romantic relationships of that era. But they turned their melodramas into musical hits. McVie would be honored with many awards, and in 1998, was inducted with Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

MOJO’s Tribute to Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie

Christine McVie: Her 20 Greatest Songs. In tribute to Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who passed away this week, MOJO selects the best tracks from across her career. They also included Christine McVie Remembered. In memory of Christine McVie, who has sadly passed away aged 79, MOJO revisits our 2017 interview with Fleetwood Mac’s singer-songwriter.

Leland Roberts published in Medium: In Memoriam: Christine McVie is Britain’s Greatest Female Popular Music Artist.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: