‘Revered musician’: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie dies

Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie is being mourned by fellow band members and legions of long-time fans after her death following a short illness.

British-born McVie, 79, was the band’s vocalist, songwriter and keyboard player.

Her cool, soulful contralto helped define such classics as You Make Loving Fun, Everywhere and Don’t Stop.

The British-American rock band, founded in London in 1967, sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s most successful groups.

“It is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death. She passed away peacefully at the hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness,” McVie’s family said in a statement early on Thursday (AEDT).

“She was in the company of her family.

“We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally.”

Flletwood Mac in 1975, from left, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham. Photo: Getty

In a note on Instagram, bandmate Stevie Nicks said: “A few hours ago I was told that my best friend in the whole world since the first day of 1975, had passed away.”

She said one song had been “swirling around” in her head since she found out McVie was sick, quoting the lyrics to HAIM’s Hallelujah: “I had a best friend/But she has come to pass.”

McVie was a steady presence in a band known for its frequent line-up changes and volatile personalities, notably fellow singer-songwriters Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

Her death is the first among Fleetwood Mac’s most famous incarnation of herself, Nicks, Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, Christine’s ex-husband. It came just over two years after one of the band’s co-founder, Peter Green, died at the age of 73.

Christine McVie performing in 1978. Photo: Getty

Fleetwood Mac began as a London blues band in the 1960s and evolved into one of the defining makers of 1970s California pop-rock. During its peak commercial years of 1975-80, the band sold tens of millions of records and fascinated fans as it transformed personal battles into melodic, compelling songs.

Perhaps their best-known album Rumours, released in 1977, became one of the best-selling albums of all time. It included hits such as Second Hand News and You Make Loving Fun.

In addition to several multiplatinum tracks, the record sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

The McVies’ break-up – along with the split of Nicks and Buckingham – was famously documented on Rumours.

“I was supposedly like the Mother Teresa who would hang out with everybody or just try and [keep] everything nice and cool and relaxed,” McVie told Rolling Stone earlier this year.

“But they were great people; they were great friends.”

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks in 2018. Photo: Getty

The band released a statement on Twitter, saying “there are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure.

“She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life.

“We were so lucky to have a life with her.

“Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”

Singer-songwriter and keyboardist McVie penned Songbird, one of Fleetwood Mac’s most famous tracks, as well as You Make Loving Fun  and Oh Daddy.

Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. The group’s many other hit singles included Nicks’ Dreams, Buckingham’s Go Your Own Way and McVie’s Little Lies. One of McVie’s most beloved works, the thoughtful ballad Songbird, was a showcase for her in concert and covered by Willie Nelson, among others.

The mid-tempo rocker Don’t Stop, inspired by the end of her marriage, would gain unexpected political relevance when Bill Clinton adopted the song – and its “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” refrain – as a theme to his 1992 presidential run.

In 2017, McVie appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, revealing that she had retreated from the world and developed agoraphobia after she quit the band and moved from California to Kent.

McVie’s two marriages, to John McVie and Eduardo Quintela, ended in divorce. Her boyfriends included the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson, about whom she wrote Only Over You.

She also released the solo records Christine Perfect, Christine McVie and In the Meantime.

An anthology of McVie’s solo work, Songbird, was released earlier this year.


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