Second Hand News

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Songfacts®:

  • "Second Hand News" was written by Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham. It is the first track on the Rumours album - the most successful album of Fleetwood Mac's career with sales of over 40 million worldwide, going 19x platinum in the US and 10x platinum in the UK. The band's original drummer Mick Fleetwood calls it the most important album they ever made.
  • This song was originally an acoustic demo titled "Strummer." But when Buckingham heard the Bee Gees' "Jive Talkin'," he rearranged it with more audio tracks and the rhythmic effect from "playing" the faux-leather seat of a studio chair to make it evoke a slightly Celtic feel.
  • Like many of the songs on the Rumours album, this one shows a darker side in the lyrics. It's asking you to move on, leave the singer alone. Fleetwood Mac was experiencing the shatter of all of their emotional ties with not one, not two, but three break-ups! That was the divorce of the McVies, Buckingham and Stevie Nicks breaking up, and Fleetwood going through a divorce from his wife.
    In Frank Moriarty's book Seventies Rock: The Decade of Creative Chaos, Stevie Nicks is quoted from a Creem interview in July 1977, explaining the acrid lyrics: "We were all trying to break up and when you break up with someone you don't want to see him. You especially don't want to eat breakfast with him the next morning, see him all day and all night, and all day the day after..."
    As if that weren't enough, Seventies Rock also goes on to quote Nicks about the recording sessions on their next album: "It lasted thirteen months and it took every bit of inner strength we had. It was very hard on us, like being a hostage in Iran, and to an extent, Lindsay was the Ayatollah."
  • In Bill Martin's Avant Rock: Experimental Music from the Beatles to Bjork, while meditating on the dichotomy between Yuppies and Yippies of the '60s/'70s, the author states: "If I had to pick the ultimate musical document of AOR [Adult-Oriented Rock]/Yuppie rock, it would probably be the 1977 album by Fleetwood Mac, Rumours." Well, take that!

Comments: 4

  • Doug from Buffalo, NySeventhmist, I think Lindsey is referring to the tendency of young ex-couples to often continue to have "hook-up" sex even when the relationship phase is over until they find "someone new". And after if the new one doesn't workout...
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenHard to break up with someone if you're letting him "do his stuff" in the tall grass.
  • Tandy from HomeI love this song! Composer Lindsey Buckingham has said that he wanted to incorporate "Irish and Scottish folk influences," which I guess are expressed in the long fiddle break near the end and in what sound like mandolin accents at other moments in the "Rumours" album track. Does anyone know who played fiddle and mandolin on this studio recording? If you do, thanks for posting.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhI always liked this fast moving song. I don't get the Celtic feel at all. I also don't see that this is a 'dark' tune at all, just a typical break-up song about no longer being relevant in someone's life and the need to move on. The vocals are pure Fleetwood Mac. The reference to 'lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff'. Okay, is that saying that they can just get it on to make the break-up easier? Or make the other person change their mind?
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