Lindsey Buckingham wrote this as a message to Stevie Nicks. It describes their breakup, with the most obvious line being, "Packing up, shacking up is all you want to do," and concluding that he is better off without her - she can go her own way as far as he's concerned. Stevie insisted she never shacked up with anyone when they were going out, and wanted Lindsey to take out the line, but he refused.
Stevie Nicks told Q magazine June 2009: "It was certainly a message within a song. And not a very nice one at that."
While the Rumours album was being recorded, the marriage of John and Christine McVie (both of them Mac members) was also coming to an end. With two couples breaking up during the sessions, recording could be quite tense, but thanks in large part to producers Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat (Colbie's dad), they channeled this resentment into the songs. They were also doing lots of drugs at the sessions, making sure there was plenty of Behind The Music material.
The bitterness in the verse lyrics is often lost in this song, overpowered by a refrain that suggests adventure and individuality. In later years, Fleetwood Mac encouraged this translation as the song became a singalong stadium stomper at their live shows, with no hint of the resentment that fueled it. They even featured it in concerts after Buckingham was booted from the band in 2018, with Neil Finn singing his part and Mike Campbell taking the guitar solo.
Stevie Nicks got equal time on the album with "Dreams
," her message to Lindsey Buckingham. Nicks is more delicate in her approach, but just as biting, telling him what will happen when she goes her own way:Listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
Nicks told Mojo
magazine (January 2013): "'Dreams' and 'Go Your Own Way' are what I call the 'twin songs.' They're the same song written by two people about the same relationship."
This was the first single from the Rumours album, which became one of the best-selling of all time. Describing the recording process for this song in Q magazine, drummer Mick Fleetwood said: "'Go Your Own Way's' rhythm was a tom-tom structure that Lindsey demoed by hitting Kleenex boxes or something. I never quite got to grips with what he wanted, so the end result was my mutated interpretation. It became a major part of the song, a completely back-to-front approach that came, I'm ashamed to say, from capitalizing on my own ineptness. There was some conflict about the 'crackin' up, shackin' up' line, which Stevie felt was unfair, but Lindsey felt strongly about. It was basically, On your bike, girl!"
Fleetwood Mac is not known for their guitar solos, but Lindsey Buckingham's solo on this is one of his most notable. The live version on The Dance
contains a much longer solo.
Don - San Jose, CA
National Car Rental used this in commercials as part of an advertising campaign based on the title.
American singer-songwriter Lissie
recorded a version for her 2012 covers EP, Covered Up with Flowers
. Her interpretation peaked at #54 on the UK singles chart after being used in an advertising campaign for Twinings Tea.