Stevie Nicks wrote the lyrics about Lindsey Buckingham as their relationship was falling apart. Buckingham and Nicks share lead vocals on the song.
Pieces of different studio takes were spliced together to form the track. The bass line that comes in at about the 3-minute mark through the song was written independently by John McVie, who was originally planning to use it in a different song.
Suggestion credit: Andy - Arlington, VA
This began as a Christine McVie song called "Butter Cookie (Keep Me There)," which which is available on the expanded edition of Rumours. The beginning of the track wasn't working, but the band loved Mick Fleetwood and John McVie's ending, which was now on tape. So, they counted back from the bass line, used the kick-drum as a metronome, Nicks gave them the lyrics for the verses, Buckinghan and Christine McVie wrote the music and the chorus lyrics, Lindsey added the guitar over the ending, and "The Chain" as we know it was born.
Suggestion credit: Kazryn - Potters Bar, England
This is the only Fleetwood Mac song credited to all five members of their 1977 lineup. Since various pieces were assembled to make the song, they all had some contribution.
This song came to represent the resilience of Fleetwood Mac and the strength of their bond as they continued on for many years despite their personal and professional difficulties. It was often the first song they played in concert.
The low bass line in this song was used by the BBC for the Grand Prix theme tune for many years.
Suggestion credit: David - Runcorn, England
Mick Fleetwood: "'The Chain' basically came out of a jam. That song was put together as distinct from someone literally sitting down and writing a song. It was very much collectively a band composition. The riff is John McVie's contribution - a major contribution. Because that bassline is still being played on British TV in the car-racing series to this day. The Grand Prix thing. But it was really something that just came out of us playing in the studio. Originally we had no words to it. And it really only became a song when Stevie wrote some. She walked in one day and said, 'I've written some words that might be good for that thing you were doing in the studio the other day.' So it was put together. Lindsey arranged and made a song out of all the bits and pieces that we were putting down onto tape. And then once it was arranged and we knew what we were doing, we went in and recorded it. But it ultimately becomes a band thing anyway, because we all have so much of our own individual style, our own stamp that makes the sound of Fleetwood Mac. So it's not like you feel disconnected from the fact that maybe you haven't written one of the songs. Because what you do, and what you feel when we're all making music together, is what Fleetwood Mac ends up being, and that's the stuff you hear on the albums. Whether one likes it or not, this is, after all, a combined effort from different people playing music together." (Courtesy: lucky98fm.com.)
The Rumours album was pieced together by overdubbing individual instruments, since the band was in no position to record at the same time. The only instance of two instruments being recorded together on the album occurs on this song, when the drums and guitar solo are playing together.
This song was used in episodes of Heroes ("Chapter Five 'Exposed'" - 2009), Glee ("Rumours" - 2011) and The Americans ("Walter Taffet" - 2015). It was also featured in the 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where it appears in two scenes. All five Fleetwood Mac members agreed to its use after watching the scenes.
After booting Lindsey Buckingham from the band in 2018, Fleetwood Mac continued to perform this song in their new iteration with Neil Finn and Mike Campbell (Finn handled Buckingham's vocals). Their first public performance with this lineup was on the Ellen show broadcast September 5, 2018 - they opened with the song. The chain may have been broken, but they filled in the missing links.
Esskayess from Dallas, TxWhat a wrenching (but profitable) experience it must be, creating a song that airs one's own "personal laundry." Brings to mind the Mamas and the Papas' song, "I Saw Her Again."
Camille from Toronto, OhRumours was my favorite album at the time it came out. I would play it incessantly. This song used to have such an emotional impact on me. That was well over 30 years ago, and nowadays, I think this song is just okay. The album don't resonate with me like it used to. The songs by Fleetwood Mac used to seem to much deeper and mysterious to me way back when. I know it has to do with the band putting their feelings so well into words and music, expressing so much emotional turmoil, which at that time reflected what was going on in my own life. Now I don't suffer from the angst so I don't relate as much to it.
L from Niagara Falls, OnListen with headphones and before the song even starts, you can hear someone (Buckingham?) whisper "F***" L-NF
Oldpink from New Castle, InA very angry song, suffused with reproach and accusation. One of the very best of the post-Green songs from Mac.
Bryan from Atlanta, GaEver notice that in the breaks when nothing is playing, you can hear Mick keeping time with a very faint "ch ch ch -- ch ch"? I never heard that until I bought the Rumours CD in 1985 and turned the volume way up in those breaks.
Elizabeth from Ithaca, NyI think of this song as a "band" song. I think it is about how a band struggles to stay together and that the "chain" is what is keeping them together. This means they have this incredible bond that keeps them together and they just can't seem to break the bond no matter what drama happens in the band.
Bella from PretoriaRumours is quite an interresting(good Melin,I forgot whether that has one or two 'r's!) CD, because they wrote a lot of songs for each other.It must have been...interresting to make.I'm SO glad the band stayed together despite the breakup stuff!That's why I dig the part where they say 'I can still hear you saying we will never break the chain'.My parents used to play this music all the time.I was just reminded of it when I heard it on TV a few years ago.That's when I fell in love with FM.That was a VERY important day in history!
Constance from Dallas, TxPhenomenal Song! The guitar at the in with Lindsey, Priceless! They all wrote the song! You can hear all of their talents in this one song. The reason i like Fleetwood Mac is because listening to their music is like getting five bands in one. They brought their unique style to the song so track 5 would sound completly different than track one.
Dessire from El Cajon, CaFirst of all almost all the songfact is wrong :/ Stevie did not write this song for lindsey. she wrote ot on the buckingham-niks era. And John Mcvie doesnt even write songs... I t was all like this. They had those rffs for the song. which is the ending of it. John was playing the bass riff and they just needed lyrics. and THEN Stevie ran to get the lyrics she had from the buckingham nicks era. Lindsey was working on the song and he didnt want any help for it. and well they all ended up making the song. No one in the band knew what stevie was writing about xD and it is the ONLY song recorded live :D
Rob from Wilkes-barre, PaThis song just like the album is amazing. It's amazing how much emotion is shown in Rumours and that they could even create such a timeless album as they truly were on the verge of imploding as a band.
Kali from South Australia, Australia
Apb from Farmington, CtOne of the high points in rock history comes when that throbbing single electric guitar note fades in before the close of the song.