The Chain

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"The Chain"
Song by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Rumours
ReleasedFebruary 4, 1977
LabelWarner Bros.
Rumours track listing
Audio sample

"The Chain" is a song by the British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, released on their 1977 Rumours.[1][2][3] It is the only song from the album credited to all five members (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, often manually by splicing tapes with a razor blade, at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, with hired engineers Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut.[4]

Following the critical and commercial success of Rumours, "The Chain" has become a staple of the band's live shows, typically the opening song. It was featured as the opening track on The Dance, a 1997 live concert CD/DVD release, as well as several greatest hits compilations. It has attained particular fame in the United Kingdom, where the instrumental section has been used as the theme tune for the BBC and Channel 4's television coverage of Formula One.[5][6]


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", which removed the blues-style motif, but retained the chord progression.[4] 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, which was attached manually using a razor blade to cut and splice the tapes.[7]

Due to the spliced nature of the record (the drums and guitar were the only instruments recorded in each other's company)[8] 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.[4] The finished song itself has a basic rock structure, although it has two distinct portions: the main verse and chorus, and the outro. Influences of hard rock, folk, and country are also present. The Dobro, a type of resonator guitar, supplies the verse riff.[4][9] The guitar uses double drop D tuning: D A D G B D with a capo on the second fret and Travis picking. It is in E minor, which is the relative minor key for G.[10]

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 among 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.[4] 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 25 Years - The Chain and The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac. The vocal range is G3 to C#5.


The Dance version[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[11] 51
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM)[12] 22
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[13] 30

Original version[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 81


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] 2× Platinum 1,200,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


Tantric cover[edit]

"The Chain"
Single by Tantric
from the album After We Go
ReleasedWinter 2004
Tantric singles chronology
"Hey Now"
"The Chain"
"After We Go"

The song was recorded by the American rock band Tantric, released as the second single from their 2004 second album, After We Go. Though being released as a single the song lacked much promotion, debuting at number 36 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

Tantric's cover of the song was used as the theme song for the HBO Documentary series Family Bonds.[16]

Evanescence cover[edit]

"The Chain"
Single by Evanescence
ReleasedNovember 22, 2019
Producer(s)Bobby Tahouri
Evanescence singles chronology
"The Chain"
"Wasted on You"

American rock band Evanescence released a cover version of the song. It was released as a digital download on November 22, 2019 by BMG.[17]


The song features in the launch trailer for the video game, Gears 5, the sixth installment of the Gears of War series. The cover misses out the instrumental section. Amy Lee said, "This cover was so fun to make. We love Fleetwood Mac and wanted to paint a dark and epic picture with our take on 'The Chain'. The lyrics make me feel the power of standing together against great forces trying to pull us apart, perhaps even from the inside. I really wanted to drive that home in our version, and even made everyone in the band sing by the end of it! We're beyond excited to share this with our fans and I'm really looking forward to playing it live."[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

An official music video to accompany the release of "The Chain" was first released onto YouTube on January 9, 2020.[18]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[17]
1."The Chain" (From "Gears 5")4:12


Chart (2019–20) Peak
Czech Republic (Modern Rock)[19] 16
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[20] 61
UK Download (Official Charts Company)[21] 53
US Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[22] 20
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[23] 9
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[24] 36

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States November 22, 2019[17] Digital download BMG

Other media[edit]

The BBC's Formula One coverage used the ending bass line as a theme tune from 1978 until 1996 and again from 2009 to 2015, thus making the song highly recognisable in the United Kingdom.[25] 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" peaked higher at #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.[5] By April 2018, the song had been certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry based on download sales alone.


  1. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  2. ^ "100 Greatest Albums Of All Time - No.2 - Rumours". The Sound. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  3. ^ "How Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' Became One of the Best Albums Ever". Observer. 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e Carroll, Cath (2004). Never Break the Chain: Fleetwood Mac and the Making of Rumours. Vinyl Frontier. pp. 134–136. ISBN 1556525451.
  5. ^ a b "BBC Formula One coverage to bring back Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'". Daily Telegraph. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  6. ^ Klein, Jamie (12 February 2016). "Channel 4 to keep 'The Chain' as F1 theme song". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Penn's Picks: Fleetwood Mac – The Chain". Hit Songs Deconstructed. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Johnson, Heather. "First hand news: Fleetwood Mac co-conspirator Richard Dashut reflects on recording and mixing rumours". EQ. General Reference Center GOLD. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Garbarini, Vic (March 1998). "Interview with Lindsey Buckingham". Guitar World. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3396." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3402." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Fleetwood Mac – The Chain". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  16. ^ Zahlaway, Jon Tantric takes another swing on U.S. club circuit Archived 2009-03-25 at the Wayback Machine (August 26, 2004). Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  17. ^ a b c "The Chain (From "Gears 5") - Single by Evanescence". Apple Music. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Evanescence - The Chain (from Gears 5) [Official Music Video]". YouTube. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  19. ^ "CZ - RADIO - TOP 20 MODERN ROCK - EVANESCENCE - The Chain" (in Czech). IFPI Czech Republic. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  20. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  22. ^ "Evanescence Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  23. ^ "Evanescence Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  24. ^ "Evanescence Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  25. ^ "BBC unveils 2009 F1 coverage – and return of The Chain". 24 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2009.

External links[edit]