Go Your Own Way

Album: Rumours (1977)
Charted: 38 10

Songfacts®:

  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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.

Comments: 35

  • Th1rock from ArksnsasAnd to this day, Lyndsey is STILLLLLL in love with Stevie!!!!
  • Ken from Philadelphia, PaPeter Green, who founded Fleetwood Mac and was their front man and main songwriter early on, left the band in 1970. By all accounts, he'd been taking copious amounts of LSD which exacerbated existing mental illness. Bottom line, he was a bit "off" for much of the 1970s after leaving Fleetwood Mac. When the Rumours album exploded, people began to buy records from Fleetwood Mac's back catalog. That, in turn, suddenly resulted in large royalty checks for Peter Green. As I said, Green was a bit off at that point in time and, for whatever reason, all that money was very disconcerting to him. It culminated in Green going to the local post office with a gun and demanding that they stop delivering those royalty checks. Thankfully, it seems he is doing much better these days. One has to wonder, though, if it bothers him that he left his own band just a few short years before they became the biggest band in the history of our species.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenWilson Phillips did a beautiful cover of this song with a completely different arrangement and tempo.
  • Debby from UsaThe song was written by Lindsey Buckingham after Stevie Nicks broke off their relationship. She then had an affair with Mick Fleetwood, who was married at the time.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 2nd 1977, "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 6th it peaked at #10 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #38 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    Was their first Top 10 record, finally, for their two previous releases peaked at #11 (Rhiannon" and "Say You Love Me") but then their next five releases after "Go Your Own Way" also made the Top 10; "Dreams" (#1), "Don't Stop" (#3), "You Make Loving Fun" (#9), "Tusk" (#8), and "Sara" (#7).
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxOne of the best "break-up" songs ever created. I played it often after one such event. The song is angry, yet somehow triumphant and hopeful as well.
  • Meocyber from Alma, Co This is my favorite "tough' song of theirs. Smart lyrics,drums, definitely drums and lead guitar. Had a cool story about their early years. My wife's sister attended the Univ. of Northern Colorado in 1974. She liked Mac and got ticks at the UNC music conservatory. This is a500 +/- capac. hall. Well she had a friend who got them in early for soundchecks etc. My wife said they made real easy small talk, conversation with Mick, Stevie, Christine, John and Lindsey. They were really nice regular people. Natch, this was a year before "Fleetwood Mac" hit. Suprising, not pompous, egomaniacal rock stars.
  • Thompho from Makhado, South Africaohh yes i wonder if any of you guys have heard wilson phillips' version of this song. its very coool
  • Lester from New York City, NySaw Lindsey Buckingham open for Tina Turner at Radio City many years back. As soon as he took the stage he said he didn't want to hear any requests for 'Go Your Own Way'. He ended his set with a two song Fleetwood Mac encore, 'I'm So Afraid' and 'Go Your Own Way', and really did up the lead guitar on both songs.
  • Elizabeth from Ithaca, NyI love this song...but it must have sucked for Stevie to sing this song with Lindsey. Damn
  • Mario from Thessaloniki, GreeceAmazing song.. It definitely makes you feel better after a break-up! We all make our own choices and follow our different roads, if a person comes along who wants to walk your road together, that's just... perfect!

    P.S. What the %&$#, how come the Americans have these strange names that you can't tell the sex of the person by knowing their name... That is so... GAY! Anyway, great song :)
  • George from Los Angeles, CaHas anyone figured out the timing at the very beginning of the song? For sure, Lindsey's electric guitar does not begin on the 1st downbeat. It seems to begin on the 2nd downbeat while the second acoustic guitar comes in on the 1st downbeat of the 3rd measure. Try counting it yourself. It's very weird. Can somebody explain this timing to me?
  • Max from Birmingham, AlI just watched the new show on CBS, Swingtown. The show is set in the mid 70's and the show has a pretty good soundtrack but... it's supposed to be the summer of 76 and everyone is at this party and Fleetwood Mac's song Go You're Own Way starts playing. I start thinking about it and this song is off of Rumours which didn't come out until 1977, right? Anyway I figger they should at least get the music right don't you?
    Max
  • Chuck from Houston, TxTedious Toad is right, it's one of the songs that was in the movie "Forrest Gump", however, it was also one of the few songs in the movie that was not put on to the double CD soundtrack. Another song that was in that movie "Running on empty" by Jackson Brown. Both songs were used in the scene where Forrest is running across the country.
  • Gary from Seattle, WaThe album was an incredible 9 months and 2 weeks at #1!

    Cheers, Gary
  • Dessire from El Cajon, CaAhm yeah Stevie said that her songs were all positiv and that always tried to say that theres always a light in the end of the road... anddd Silver springs is the response for this song not dreams :/ and steviee is a NICKNAMEE! not her name :[ her name is Stephanie
  • Nicole from Kenosha, WiThis song is amazing, it is a great break up song, my boyfriend just broke up with me and listening to this song makes me feel so much better.
  • Andrew Horne from Richmond, VaMy favorite Fleetwood Mac song ever
  • Spencer from Bronx, NyThis is a great song to blast when one is in the middle of a break up.
  • Guy from Wellington, New ZealandHave just watched that 'Classic Albums' TV programmer that John (Fremantle, Aust) refers to. I had no idea previously of what was going on with the band when they cut Rumours. Absolutely amazing that such an incredibly consistently compelling series of songs could have been put together in the midst of such emotional meltdown. As one of the band members comments in the programme... "I guess it's what they call chemistry". Hmmm, so first we have a stunning compound that intoxicates all then, unfortunately, an explosion.
  • Don from San Jose, CaIn this song Lindsey Buckingham's guitar work is incredible.
  • Rick from Humboldt, Iaevery fleetwood mac song at that point seemed to be about a breakup. best band ever. this song has great drums and bass just like every other mac song. why you ask? john and mick have been together for 40 years!!!!
  • Kevin from Flower Mound, TxNicks felt that 'Dreams' was much more empathetic than 'Go Your Own Way.' "In my heart," she said, "'Dreams' was open and hopeful, but in 'Go Your Own Way,' your heart was closed."
  • Phil from Niagara Falls, CanadaThanks Tedious! I knew it was from Forrest Gump :D
    I just needed reassurance ^_^
  • Chris from Paradise, CtI love the drumming...Mic Fleetwood is an awsome drummer w/ a great style
  • Don from Newmarket, CanadaGreat drumming by Mick Fleetwood on this song!
  • Rick from Humboldt, Iamy third favorite fm song. first is don't stop second is the chain, fourth is peacekeeper and fifth is rhiannon
  • Ross from Independence, MoHa ha Lindsey is the guy's name and stevie is the girl's name ODD
  • Ross from Independence, MoThis is #119 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • John from Fremantle, Australia"Go Your Own Way" b/w "Silver Springs" is almost one of the most perversely serendipitous 7" single couplings ever released (actually was first out, in the US in 12/76), in that both songs are intensely personal breakup songs; almost too personal for public consumption. Love Lindsey's doubled guitar solo...aaah, the sound of cocaine abuse during the LA "snowstorm" of '76-'77 ;) Talking of potential "Behind The Music" material, there is in fact a UK-produced documentary series, "Classic Albums", of which "Rumours"is one of the highlighted albums and all five members of the Mac partake in candid interviews in this episode. Worthwhile viewing!
  • Craig from Madison, WiAppears in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" in a driving scene when things are falling apart with "business" partners Joe Pesci and Robert Deniro.
  • Mariel from Clearwater, Flstevie's song 'Silver Springs' was left off the album and became the b-side for GYOW. stevie has commented that she felt her songs about him always showed at least a modicum of hope and possibility while she felt his songs about her tended to highlight the bitterness and anger in their breakup. GYOW certainly does.
  • Tedious Toad from Auckland, New ZealandThis song is on Forrest Gump, too. ^_^
  • Dino from Bandung, IndonesiaCovered by Wilson Phillips on the album California, released in May 2004 as first single and The Cranberries did a little better on Legacy: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, released in 1998.
  • Esther from Liverpool, Englandthis song is really postitive i think.in quite a sad way.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Adam Duritz of Counting CrowsSongwriter Interviews

"Mr. Jones" took on new meaning when the song about a misguided view of fame made Adam famous.

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Joe Elliott of Def LeppardSongwriter Interviews

The Def Leppard frontman talks about their "lamentable" hit he never thought of as a single, and why he's juiced by his Mott The Hoople cover band.

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."