Songbird

Songfacts®:

  • This was Christine McVie's solo on Side 1 of the Rumours album, proving her talent apart from the group. She wrote the song, sang it, and played the piano part.
  • This is a very personal song for McVie about the self-sacrifice of true love. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kristy - La Porte City, IA, for above 2
  • Christine McVie has said that this song held Fleetwood Mac together during their hard times (while recording Rumours). Once the members heard this song, they thought how much they had been through and how much love they shared. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ally - Phoenix, AZ
  • On the Rumours tour, this was often the last song played.
  • Christine McVie prefers to pen her songs from another person's point of view rather than writing about herself. She told Uncut: "If you take 'Songbird' as an example, that was written in about half an hour. If I could write a few more like that, I would be a happy girl. It doesn't really relate to anybody in particular; it relates to everybody. A lot of people play it at their weddings or at bar mitzvahs or at their dog's funeral. It's universal. It's about you and nobody else. It's about you and everybody else. That's how I like to write songs."
  • Christine McVie penned the song in half a hour after she woke up in the middle of the night with it in her head. She recalled to Mojo in 2015: "Stevie and I were in a condominium block and the boys were all in the Sausalito Record Plant house raving with girls and boozer and everything. I had a little transistorised electric piano next to my bed and I woke up one night at about 3.30am and started playing it. I had all, words, melody, chords in about 30 minutes. It was like a gift from the angels, but I had no way to record it. I thought I'm never gonna remember this. So I went back to bed, and couldn't sleep. I wrote the words down quickly."

    "Next day, I went into the studio shaking like a leaf' cos I knew it was something special. I said, 'Ken, (Caillat, Rumours' co-producer/engineer) put the 2-track on, I want to record this song!' I think they were all in there, smoking opium."
  • The song was recorded away from the studio at the University of California's Zellerbach Auditorium.
  • American singer Eva Cassidy's cover was made the title track of a compilation album of recordings, which was released in 1998, two years after her death from melanoma. The album took off in the UK after Cassidy's version of "Over the Rainbow" was played by Terry Wogan on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show. The Songbird set went on to top the UK album charts, almost three years after its initial release. In 2009 an audition performance of Cassidy's arrangement of this song by Shanna Goodhead on Britain's The X-Factor, prompted enough interest to push the late American's singer's version into the UK Top 75 Singles Chart.

Comments: 32

  • Meocyber from Alma. Co.Christine completely owns this song. Listened to all the covers. Sorry, they dont match/repeat the depth, musicianship Christine gave this. Like 99.9 % of covers they bend fm. the writers soul in the song.
  • Steve from Whittier, CaOf course, this is NOT the Kenny G "Song bird" from 1986.;)
  • Sandy from Austin, TxI sing this song to my 3 year old daughter when I am trying to get her to sleep at night. She loves it, and so do I. After all, what mother wouldn't wish for love, happiness, and safety for their child. :-)
  • Oldpink from Farmland, InGorgeous song, and Christine singing her own piece was even more fortuitous, given that her voice (to me at least) has always had a somewhat mournful/wistful quality to it.
  • Keira from Nsw, AustraliaBeautiful song. Both ladies sing it wonderfuly but listen to the version sung on "Glee", by Santana. It is amazing - by far the best.
  • Taylor from Bronx, NyI love cover versions...and I like when they differ from the originals, as I like to hear other people interpret good music. Eva Cassidy's version is very lovely and I will definitely add it to my rotation...thanks for that. However, Christine's version is still the best. I agree that the original recording had an emotionality to it that so far, I've never heard matched...by anyone else or even when I saw FM perform it live.
  • Al from Tamworth, AustraliaI love to hear both of these ladies sing, but Christine's groove sends shivers up my spine. (no offense to Eva, RIP)
  • Dantelle from London, United KingdomWhy bother to record a track like songbird,when the original is without a shadow of a doubt,is better,-i'll tell you why, to trade on the original kudos.its a cheap shot.cover versions are pointless unless you can do it better,and in most cases it aint.OK so some are a homage to the artiste,and that's flattering,but how many versions of one song do we actually need?
  • Tony. from Glasgow., United KingdomThis may surprise some people but Fleetwood Mac intended to bring out a longer version than the one on Rumours.

    There was a demo version which i found was incredibly lovely.

    The full lyrics are as follows.

    For you, there'll be no more crying,
    For you, the sun will be shining,
    And I feel that when I'm with you,
    It's alright, I know it's right

    To you, I'll give the world
    to you, I'll never be cold
    'Cause I feel that when I'm with you,
    It's alright, I know it's right.

    And the songbirds are singing,
    Like they know the score,
    And I love you, I love you, I love you,
    Like never before.

    You'll smile,and you make me feel good inside,
    It's a feeling,and it's so hard to hide,

    And I wish you all the love in the world,
    But most of all, I wish it from myself.

    And the songbirds keep singing,
    Like they know the score,
    And I love you, I love you, I love you,
    Like never before, like never before.
  • Tam from Baton Rouge, LaHow can anyone NOT love Eva Cassidy's angelic cover of Songbird. I would bet Christine McVie feels honored to have her song interpreted in such a magical way. That is what real music is meant to be. Shared and interpreted. An absolutely beautiful song written by a great singer-songwriter and covered quite powerfully by an incredible singer whose life was tragically cut short.
  • David from Lb, CaI just had a listen to Eva Cassidy's (may she rest in peace) version of this song and I would say I have two complaints: she uses a guitar as the lead instrument and she uses backup singers. There is no comparison between the two. The song was written with the piano in mind and only the personal touch of a soloist will suffice.
  • Paul from Dublin, IrelandHayley Westenra has just released a beautiful version of this song on her album River of Dreams.

    I have been a fan of Christine's since I'd rather go blind in the late sixties and I love her version of Songbird too......

    Hayley has the most beautiful and delicate tone and is currently touring the UK on the River of Dreams concert tour with the quartet Raven. The concert may include a rendition of Songbird.
    there is a version up on YouTube.. well worth a listen
  • Mike from Washington, DcThe timbre of Christine's voice gives it layer of melancholy-informed-by-experience that I find very intimate and touching. But there is no denying that Eva does a sterling version with an incredible talent that aims higher than mere mimicry-- and succeeds in its own fashion. Both are jewels.
  • Tony from Chicago, IlSung lovely! Christine McVie takes over the vocals on this song! just a beautiful singing voice and incredible piano!!!!!!!
  • Bruce from Melbourne, AustraliaI agree with Clive. Good as Christine's version is, Eva's is decidedly better. However, why the comment about spelling and writing? And having done so, why spell to as too, and why split infinitives? People in glass houses shouldn't through stones.
  • Clive from Oxford, United KingdomI realise I will probably get insulted by people who cannot spell or write English BUT I am afraid that I much prefer the version of Songbird sung by Eva Cassidy. That is not too for a moment deny the beauty of the original writing for which Miss McVie deserves all the credit in the world, its just that Eva Cassidy sings it with a passion that is beautiful to listen too.
  • Colin from London, United KingdomThis is a lovely song, written and performed beautifully by my fellow Brit, Christine McVie. However, I cried when I heard the version by Eva Cassidy, a wonderful voice who came to our notice too late.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFFo1pu4q7Q
  • Matt from Raleigh, NcThe story goes: After one show and before the encore, Mick, who suffers from hypoglycemia, was too exhausted to come back and play. Christine played Songbird and has been their closer ever since. I saw them in Pittsburgh in '97 and ended with this, only to sing "Farmers Daughter" shortly thereafter (written by Brian Wilson for their '80 double live album). A nice touch even though we, most likely will never see the "Rumours" line-up again. (check out the lyrics for Farmer's Daughter).
  • Constance from Dallas, TxI don't care for covers at all. Even if the person has a better voice, it's not as authenic. Christine wrote a great song and did it best.
  • Susan from San Francisco, CaChristine wrote an incredible song. About 8 yrs. ago I heard Eva Cassidy's version, and although I'm not fond of people doing covers, she does an INCREDIBLE job. She has an amazing, soulful voice. I'm sure she made Christine very proud. If you notice on Eve's "Songbird" album notes, Mick F. is a fan of hers. She died too young.
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaJust because someone gets some facts wrong, doesn't make it OK to attack them personally. As for the song itself, I haven't heard Eva Cassidy's version. But Christine McVie does an outstanding job performing it, regardless of who wrote it.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandDessire, you've just made Americans look like a complete nation of arseholes.... Eva Cassidy, even tho' she's not a patch on Chritine McVie died of Cancer after recording her version of Songbird, she was tlanted and wonderful and you should give respect where it's due you wanker.
  • Dessire from El Cajon, CaAhh actually this song.. yes me again :D... Christine was playing around in the studio when the producer of the cd heard her and asked her to play it again. and she was likee .. hmm ok haha she didnt remember what she was playing. and SHE said that it was like a little blessing for all of them. It closed almost all the Concerts. and John Mcvie said that when they were gonna do the dance she didnt want to play that song because she didnt wanna cry anymore hahaha he also said that it made him and mick cry.. So sweet :] And who the F* is eva cassidey.. No one does this song better then christine r_r
  • Jessica from Jefferson City, MoTom Cruise and Katie Holmes danced to this song at their November 2006 wedding
  • Steve from Staten Island, NyI heard somewhere, perhaps on the radio that Christine did "Songbird" in one take, by herself.
  • Rick from Humboldt, Ia6 hits were off of the album "rumours", and of the five non-hits, its very hard to tell which is the best, but I think it's either this or secondhand news. I wish there was a songfacts for secondhand news because it's an awesome song.
  • Dominique from Rochester, NyI liked the version done by Fleetwood mac. I fell in love with the version done by Eva Cassidy
  • Chris from Downers Grove, IlThere was a lovely bunch of flowers and a bottle of champagne waiting for Christine when she arrived at Zellerback to record the song.
  • Adam from Poplar Bluff, MoI agree, Eva Cassidy's version is gracefully elegant.
  • Lazer from Buffalo, NySongbird" was not actually recorded in the studio, but rather it was recorded in the cavernlike emptiness of Zellerback Auditorium (University of California, Berkeley), which very much enhanced the emotionality of the track.
  • Sam from Dublin, Irelandeva's version is magical....
  • Laine from Kalamazoo, MiEva Cassidy also does a beautiful version of this song. Check it out if you can.
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