The Chain

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For other uses, see The Chain (disambiguation).
"The Chain"
Song by Fleetwood Mac from the album Rumours
Released February 4, 1977
Recorded 1976
Genre Rock
Length 4:28
Label Warner Bros.
Writer Lindsey Buckingham
Mick Fleetwood
Christine McVie
John McVie
Stevie Nicks
Producer Fleetwood Mac, Ken Caillat & Richard Dashut
Rumours track listing
Audio sample
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"The Chain" is a song by British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, released on their best-selling album Rumours. The only song credited to all five members of the Rumours-era lineup - Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood - "The Chain" was created from combinations of several previously rejected materials, including solo work by Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie. It was assembled - sometimes manually by splicing tapes with a razor blade - at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, with hired engineers Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut.[1] Following the critical and commercial success of Rumours, "The Chain" has been featured on The Dance, a 1997 live concert CD/DVD package, as well as several greatest hits compilations. It attained particular fame in the United Kingdom, where it is used as the theme tune for the BBC's Formula One coverage programme Grand Prix.[2]

Background[edit]

According to interviews on the writing of Rumours, the final section of "The Chain"—beginning with a bass progression—was created by John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Stevie Nicks had written the lyrics separately and thought they would be a good match; she and Christine McVie did some reworking to create the first section of the tune. Other elements were worked in from an early project of Christine's called "Keep Me There".[1] The blues-style piano motif was removed, and the remainder combined with a bridge from yet another piece manually using a razor blade to cut and splice the tapes. To complete the song, Buckingham recycled the intro from an earlier song from a duet with Nicks, "Lola (My Love)", originally released on their self-titled 1973 album.

Due to the spliced nature of the record - the drums and guitar were the only instruments actually recorded in each other's company - and its sporadic composition and assembly from different rejected songs, "The Chain" is one of only a few Fleetwood Mac songs whose authorship is credited to all members of the band at the time.[1] The finished song itself has a basic rock structure, although it has two distinct portions: the main verse and chorus, and the outro. The song shows influences of hard rock, folk, and country. The song also uses a dobro to play the famous riff.[1][3]

Release and reception[edit]

Rumours garnered widespread critical acclaim upon its release. Subsequent analysis of "The Chain" has also led many to cite it as one of the most evocative expressions of the internal fracture between various band members at the time. Buckingham and Nicks were ending their relationship at the same time that John and Christine McVie's marriage broke down, as did that of Fleetwood and his wife Jenny Boyd.[1] In 1997, Fleetwood Mac released a live concert CD/DVD package called The Dance, which featured the reunion of the Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac members. The rendition of "The Chain" reached number 30 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It has also appeared on The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac and 25 Years - The Chain.

The ending as used by the BBC's Formula 1 coverage and other media outlets

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The BBC's Formula One coverage used the ending bass line as a theme tune from 1978 until the BBC's loss of TV rights to ITV Sport in 1997, thus making the song highly recognisable in the United Kingdom.[4] On 29 March 2009 the song re-entered the UK Chart at #94 through downloads, following confirmation from the BBC that it would be reintroduced, the BBC having regained broadcasting rights from ITV. On 20 March 2011, "The Chain" scaled further heights to reach #81 in the UK chart following a campaign on Facebook to try to get the song to number 1 for the start of the 2011 Formula One season.[2]

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

There have been numerous covers of "The Chain". 1980s rock band Shark Island included a cover of "The Chain" on their 1989 album Law of the Order, notable for not including the famous bass solo in the song. Canadian heavy metal band Kick Axe performed a cover of "The Chain" on Rock the World, their third studio album, released in 1986. In 2004, Kentucky hard rock band Tantric covered this song on their second album After We Go. It was also released as one of their singles. In 2009, Three Days Grace originally recorded "The Chain" for their album Life Starts Now but was one of the few not put on the record. However, it was put on their Lost in You EP, and since September 22, 2009, they have been playing "The Chain" at their concerts throughout their tour. The band also performed it at IHeartRadio in December 2009, and Shawn Colvin performed a cover of the song for Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. The hard rock band Taking Dawn also performed a cover of "The Chain" on their 2010 debut album titled Time to Burn. They regularly perform the song as part of their live sets.

A cover of the song by the band Tantric was used as the theme song for the HBO Documentary series Family Bonds.[5] This song was sampled by rap artists Bone Thugs-n-Harmony in the song "Wind Blow" off their album Strength and Loyalty, and rapper Project Pat used the bass line in the last section of the song on his song "Don't Save Her" off his album Mista Don't Play. It was also sampled in Sway DaSafo's debut single titled "Up Your Speed".

In other media, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie have a feature on their BBC Radio show called The Chain which is a list of songs, each track having something in common with the one before it, beginning with "The Chain" and introduced each time with the bassline from the song. Little Big Town sometimes covers this song.

Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, Ben Howard, Haim and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed this song live for the final song of their Summer Stampede festival at the Olympic Park, London, in July 2013.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Carroll (2004) p. 134-136.
  2. ^ a b "BBC Formula One coverage to bring back Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'". Daily Telegraph. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Garbarini, Vic (March 1998). "Interview with Lindsey Buckingham". Guitar World. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "BBC unveils 2009 F1 coverage – and return of The Chain". crash.net. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  5. ^ Zahlaway, Jon Tantric takes another swing on U.S. club circuit LiveDaily.com (August 26, 2004). Retrieved March 22, 2008.

Written sources[edit]

  • Caillat, Ken (2012). Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1118218086. 
  • Carroll, Cath (2004). Never Break the Chain: Fleetwood Mac and the Making of Rumours. Vinyl Frontier. ISBN 1556525451. 

External links[edit]