The Dark Fleetwood Mac Song Lindsey Buckingham Wrote That Was the Most Difficult for Him to Perform, “I’m So Afraid”

The songs Lindsey Buckingham wrote, solo, for Fleetwood Mac helped define the band’s sound once he and Stevie Nicks joined the band in 1974. “Go Your Own Way,” “Never Going Back,” “Tusk,” and Tango in the Night hit “Big Love” were some of the Buckingham contributions to the Fleetwood catalog.

After the departure of Bob Weston, Dave Walker, and Bob Welch in ’74. the new dynamic of Nicks and Buckingham on Fleetwood Mac in 1975, cascaded around Buckingham’s opening “Monday Morning” and Nicks’ spellbinding “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” and took the album to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

At its close, Buckingham leaves the album off on the weightier track I’m So Afraid.” Filled with shorter verses that go on repeat and an epic guitar solo, “I’m So Afraid” is coiled in fear, hopelessness, and struggling to find a way out of a fixated state.

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‘Black as Night’

Throughout the track, Buckingham is spiraling downward with nowhere to go—Days when the rain and the sun are gone / Black as night / Agony’s torn at my heart too long—while his guitar builds and boils around the heightened emotions throughout the second half of the song with a chord progression built around a series of triads.

I been alone
All the years
So many ways to count the tears

I never change
I never will
I’m so afraid the way I feel

Days when the rain and the sun are gone
Black as night
Agony’s torn at my heart too long
So afraid
Slip and I fall and I die


Initially, “I’m So Afraid” was written for a second Buckingham-Nicks album which never materialized. Buckingham wrote “I’m So Afraid” around the time he suffered from a bout of mononucleosis and ended up laboring over the song for another four years before he would even play it live.

“The harmony of the guitar parts so in tune they were a virtual orchestra unto themselves,” said Mick Fleetwood in his 2014 memoir Play On: Now, Then & Fleetwood Mac: The Autobiography.

In a 2021 interview, Buckingham elaborated on the challenges of playing the song live. “It’s not that it’s difficult,” he said, “but it’s very taxing on a nightly basis because it’s got this very long solo that I have to do every night.”

Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

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