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 album Rumours.[1][2][3] It is the only song from the album with writing credits from 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 Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie. The song was assembled, often manually by splicing tapes with a razor blade, at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, with 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 of the band's greatest hits compilations. The song 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.[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 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 song is in E minor, which is the relative minor key of G major.[10] The vocal range is G3 to C5.

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 years long 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. Additionally, the studio version began appearing on the charts in 2009, where it debuted at number 94 in the UK. Two years later, the song peaked at number 81.[11] By 2020, the song had been certified 2x Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry based on download sales alone.



The Dance version[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[12] 51
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM)[13] 22
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[14] 30

Original version[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
UK Singles (OCC)[15] 81
Chart (2017–2020) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[16] 85
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 78
Scotland (Official Scottish Singles Chart)[18] 55
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[19] 7
Billboard Global 200[20] 142

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Position
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[21] 79
Chart (2020) Position
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[22] 85

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[23] Gold 45,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] 2× Platinum 1,200,000double-dagger
United States
United States
digital Remastered LP version

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

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.[27] On 29 March 2009, the song re-entered the UK Chart at number 94 through downloads, following confirmation from the BBC that it would be reintroduced, the BBC having regained broadcasting rights from ITV. On March 20, 2011, "The Chain" peaked higher at number 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]

"The Chain" appeared on 25 Years - The Chain and The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac.

"The Chain" also appeared on Marvel Studios's film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, first being featured on the second trailer for the movie, and then on the movie itself. "The Chain" also appears in the "Awesome Mix Vol. 2" for the movie's official soundtrack.

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. However, even though the song was released as a single, it lacked much promotion, and debuted at number 36 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

Tantric's cover of the song was used as the theme song for the 2004 HBO Documentary series Family Bonds.[28]

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. The song was released as a digital download on November 22, 2019 by BMG.[29]


The song features in the launch trailer for the video game, Gears 5, the sixth installment of the Gears of War series. However, the cover misses out on the instrumental section. Amy Lee, the lead vocalist of Evanescence 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."[30]

Music video[edit]

An official music video to accompany the release of "The Chain" was first released onto YouTube on January 9, 2020.[31]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[29]
1."The Chain" (From "Gears 5")4:12


Chart (2019–20) Peak
Czech Republic (Modern Rock)[32] 16
Scotland (OCC)[33] 61
UK Download (OCC)[34] 53
US Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[35] 20
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[36] 9
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[37] 36

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States November 22, 2019[29] Digital download BMG


  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. ^ "The Chain by Fleetwood Mac @ Song Key Finder". Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Fleetwood Mac | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3396." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3402." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  16. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 19 October 2020". The ARIA Report. No. 1598. Australian Recording Industry Association. 19 October 2020. p. 4.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Singles: Week Ending 16 Oct 2020". IRMA – Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100: Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2020-10-25.
  19. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Billboard Global 200: October 24, 2020". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  21. ^ "Hot Rock & Alternative Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  22. ^ "Hot Rock & Alternative Songs – Year-End 2020". Billboard. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "Danish single certifications – Fleetwood Mac – The Chain". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  24. ^ "British single certifications – Fleetwood Mac – The Chain". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  25. ^ "Nielsen SoundScan charts – Digital Songs – Week Ending: 5/13/2017" (PDF). Nielsen SoundScan. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Nielsen SoundScan charts – Digital Songs – Week Ending: 6/1/2017" (PDF). Nielsen SoundScan. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  27. ^ "BBC unveils 2009 F1 coverage – and return of The Chain". 24 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ a b c "The Chain (From "Gears 5") - Single by Evanescence". Apple Music. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  30. ^ January 2020, Scott Munro09. "Evanescence share video for their epic cover of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain". Metal Hammer Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  31. ^ "Evanescence - The Chain (from Gears 5) [Official Music Video]". YouTube. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  32. ^ "CZ - RADIO - TOP 20 MODERN ROCK - EVANESCENCE - The Chain" (in Czech). IFPI Czech Republic. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  35. ^ "Evanescence Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  36. ^ "Evanescence Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  37. ^ "Evanescence Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2020.

External links[edit]