It could be easy to get overshadowed in a band like Fleetwood Mac, flanked by incredible showmen boasting big voices, big skills, and even bigger personalities. But it’s even more likely to be overshadowed by the powerhouse performer that was Christine McVie.
An artist with pockets full of hearty piano-driven arrangements, deep bluesy vocals, and sweetly worded tunes about the realities of life and love, McVie was a stand out performer in an entourage of rock’s elite. The songs she brought to the group were even more so.
A McVie tune is instantly recognizable among the Fleetwood Mac catalog. Direct and down-to-earth, but still heartfelt and whimsical, her songs contrast greatly with the contributions of her counterparts – the mystical Stevie Nicks, the flashy Lindsey Buckingham. McVie’s songs hold in them a power that bewitches the heart and the soul and, in turn, gifts a piece of the artist to those that know how to listen.
Get to know the late McVie with these 10 Fleetwood Mac songs.
10. “Love in Store”
All I know is the way that I feel / Whenever you’re around / You’ve got a way of lifting me up / Instead of bringing me down, McVie sings in a flat, mesmerizing, matter-of-fact manner on “Love in Store.”
Featured as the opening on the band’s 1982 album, Mirage, the cheerful, bouncing tune is a simple, but potent message of love. “Love in Store” has a bright buoyancy that is only made even more weightless by McVie’s airy lead vocals.
9. “You Make Loving Fun”
The making of their acclaimed Rumours album was a tumultuous time for the band and the record’s biggest hit, “You Make Loving Fun,” did not go untouched by the drama. Born from McVie’s crumbling marriage to fellow band member, bassist John McVie, and her simultaneous affair with the band’s lighting director, “You Make Loving Fun” is a burning, passionate tune.
8. “Say You Love Me”
Have mercy, baby, on a poor girl like me / You know I’m falling, falling, falling at your feet / I’m tingling right from my head to my toes / So help me, help me, help me make the feeling go, McVie’s stunning voice opens the Fleetwood Mac classic, “Say You Love Me.”
A love song aficionado, she had a knack for writing hooks. “Say You Love Me” is the perfect example, as she penned the feverishly infectious lines, ‘Cause when the loving starts and the lights go down / And there’s not another living soul around / You woo me until the sun comes up / And you say that you love me.
7. “Little Lies”
When it’s easier to hear a lie than be bitten by brutal honesty, tell me lies / tell me sweet little lies.
Written alongside her then-newlywed husband, Eddy Quintela, the 1987 hit, “Little Lies,” is about hard pills to swallow in love. With spacey synths and faraway harmonies, the tune haunts like truths left unsaid.
Can you hear me calling / Out your name? / You know that I’m falling / And I don’t know what to say / I’ll speak a little louder / I’ll even shout / You know that I’m proud / And I can’t get the words out, McVie sings before the iconic breathy choruses of Oh I, I wanna be with you everywhere.
Full of catchy, feel-good lyrics, “Everywhere” is another of her tender pop ballads and a shining example of her capacity for simplicity. Her down-to-earth approach to a love song stands out among the weightier Fleetwood Mac ballads.
5. “Think About Me”
A slight break from her piano-punctuated penned works, the underdog Tusk tune, “Think About Me,” showcases McVie’s rocking side. Her voice, paired with her careful songwriting, offers a sweetness against the song’s heavier arrangement.
4. “Only Over You”
I’m out of my mind / But it’s only over you, McVie sings, People think I’m crazy / But they don’t know / Thought love had failed me / But now, they’re watching it grow
The 1982 Mirage tune, “Only Over You,” was inspired by the artist’s relationship with the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson around that time. The album’s sleeve recognized him, reading, “With thanks to Dennis Wilson for inspiration.” Wilson would pass away not long after Mirage‘s release.
3. “Don’t Stop”
Another track inspired by the John-Christine split, “Don’t Stop” is about leaving the past behind for a brighter future.
Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow / Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here / It’ll be here better than before / Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone, goes the song’s iconic chorus in the shuffling tune.
2. “Over My Head”
“Over My Head” is a relatable track about hot and cold, touch and go relationships. The song has a simplistic message that is blanketed in soft, shady harmonies – another McVie classic that reiterates her less-is-more songwriting approach.
For you, there’ll be no more crying / For you, the sun will be shining / And I feel that when I’m with you / It’s alright, I know it’s right, McVie’s delicate voice waltzes solo through “Songbird” as she pulls your heart along with every line.
“It doesn’t really relate to anybody in particular; it relates to everybody,” she once said of her quintessential tune. “It’s universal. It’s about you and nobody else. It’s about you and everybody else.” But when listening to “Songbird,” it’s about you and Christine McVie.
Photo by Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for NARAS