Classic Album covers : Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

The recently reinvented Fleetwood Mac were the biggest band in the world when they released Rumours. However, all was not well as intra-band relationships disintegrated during recording, possibly accounting for the title of the album

Rumours is a tangled web of neuroses as it is, but the cover, which features Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks (who were not yet lovers) engaging in something resembling old-fashioned courtship, seems designed to stretch relationships to breaking point (of course the world feels different when you’re in the grip of a crippling coke habit!)

This cover is very simplistic, featuring only two characters on a plain, off-white background. The composition of the image reinforces the title of the album as it’s as if the characters are conveying rumours to each other and then by having one of the characters facing the viewer, as if they’re then conveying the rumour to us

The use of black, highlights the mournful meaning behind the creation of the album, yet also makes the characters stand out against the off-white background. Yet despite the fact that this album is about the falling apart of Fleetwood Mac, by having the female member having her leg over the male member also indicates some sort of together-ness which the listeners of Fleetwood Mac would crave for (or was it just about legovers in general and the impending one between Fleetwood and Nicks in particular!)

Studying the crystal ball held by Mick Fleetwood, the distorted image in it is not that of him and Stevie Nicks as you would expect. It is actually a distorted image  of him and John McVie.  The image is that shown in the “bubble” on the previous Fleetwood Mac White Album rotated through ninety degrees. In the days before digital manipulation this was quite a contrived thing to do. Whose idea was this? And what significance (if any) does it have? No one knows, but the money bet is that it’s Fleetwood and McVie asserting their primacy as the only surviving original members of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. NMTBP are guessing that it was done first on the White Album as an in-joke, and then repeated more obviously on Rumours

Whether the cover was designed to stick it to Lindsay Buckingham or is a portent of Mick and Stevie’s affair, or both, is unclear but the fact remains this is an enchanting, elegant and gracefully seductive album cover that deserves to be remembered

Fleetwood recreates his pose from the cover of Rumours on the cover of The Dance, Fleetwood Mac’s live album released in 1997

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