Five Songs Fleetwood Mac Covered

Fleetwood Mac circa 1975. Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns

Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings

Lately, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about Just Tell Me That You Want Me, the Fleetwood Mac tribute album due out on August 14, commemorating the 45th anniversary of the band. An eager parade of artists are apparently indebted to the music of the Mac  and will be rolling out their own versions of tunes from all across FM’s long career — acts like MGMT (“Future Games”), Best Coast (“Rhiannon”), and the New Pornographers (“Think About Me”). With all these Fleetwood Mac covers floating around in the air, why not take a look at some of the songs the band covered themselves over the years in their various incarnations? Since the songs an artist covers are usually an excellent way to analyze that band’s own musical makeup, maybe you could call at least a few of these the tracks that helped make the Mac.

1. “Homework” by Otis Rush

Long before the luxurious L.A. pop of the Rumours-era lineup, Fleetwood Mac were a bunch of hungry young hairies who emerged from the ‘60s British blues boom that gave us the Yardbirds, John Mayall, et al. Here they are in ’68, barely a year into their career, busting out a burning rendition of an Otis Rush hit as founder Peter Green shows why he’s considered one of the best bluesmen to come out of Britain.

2. “Shake Your Moneymaker” by Elmore James

Between Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer, Fleetwood Mac sported some serious six-string firepower. Here’s Spencer showing off his slide skills as the band plows through a classic by another of their blues heroes, the original slide-guitar hero himself, Elmore James.

3. “Farmer’s Daughter” by the Beach Boys

By the time a reconstituted, L.A.-based Mac found fame in the ‘70s with frontcouple Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, blues influences had receded into the background. As this clip shows, the world-beating version of the band drew more inspiration from the warm, breezy West coast pop perfection of Beach Boys tunes like this harmony-heavy nugget originally found on Brian Wilson and company’s Surfin’ USA album

4. “I Am Waiting” by the Rolling Stones

Lindsey’s love for the folk-rock/baroque-pop side of the Rolling Stones has emerged on his solo albums more than once. Buckingham’s latest, Seeds We Sow, includes his take on the Stones’ “She Smiled Sweetly,” and on Under the Skin he reinvented the chamber-pop charmer “I Am Waiting” as a creepy-cool kind of ghostly folk song.

http://youtu.be/zD-mdI6bw5I

5. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

Stevie and Tom Petty have plenty of history together. He gave Nicks her first solo hit, penning and playing on Bella Donna’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” She sang a duet with him on his Hard Promises ballad “Insider.” The two have made guest appearances at each other’s shows. It’s only natural that she’d want to spread some Stevie mojo on Petty’s blockbuster “Free Fallin’.” Hey, who knows – in an alternate universe, maybe Petty played Buckingham’s role in the Mac…

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