Tusk is the 12th album by the British/American rock band Fleetwood Mac. Released in 1979, it is considered experimental, primarily due to Lindsey Buckingham's sparser songwriting arrangements and the influence of punk rock and new wave on his production techniques. Bassist John McVie has commented that the album sounds like "the work of three solo artists" (Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie), whilst Mick Fleetwood later proclaimed that it is his favourite and the best Fleetwood Mac studio album created by the group. Costing over $1 million dollars to record (a fact widely noted in the 1979 press), it was the most expensive rock album made up to that point.
Tusk peaked at No. 4 in the U.S., spent over five months within the top 40, and was certified double platinum for shipping two million copies. It peaked at No. 1 in the UK and achieved a Platinum award for shipments in excess of 300,000 copies. The album gave the group two U.S. top-ten hit singles, with the Buckingham-penned title track (US #8/UK #6), and the Stevie Nicks composition "Sara" (U.S. #7/UK #37). Further releases from the album, "Not That Funny" (UK only single release), "Think About Me" and "Sisters of the Moon" were less successful; however, the latter two appear in their 'single versions' on the 2002 compilation The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac. "Sara" was cut to 4½ minutes for both the single and the first CD release of the album, but the unedited version has since been restored on the 1988 Greatest Hits compilation and the 2004 reissue of Tusk as well as Fleetwood Mac's 2002 release of The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac. Original guitarist Peter Green also took part in the sessions for Tusk, but his playing on the Christine McVie track "Brown Eyes" is not credited on the album. However, on the alternate version (at 30 seconds longer) that was released on 25 Years – The Chain, Green's distinctive guitar playing can be recognized, especially at the end of the song.
Though the album sold 4 million copies worldwide, and earned a Grammy nomination in 1981, to its art designers in the category "Best Album Package", in comparison to the huge sales of Rumours and the unprecedented recording expense, the band's record label deemed the project a failure, laying the blame squarely with Buckingham. Fleetwood, however, blames the album's relative failure on the RKO radio chain playing the album in its entirety prior to release, thus allowing mass home recording. In addition, Tusk was a double album, with a high list price of $15.98 ($2.00 more than other double albums).
The band embarked on a massive 18-month tour to promote Tusk. They travelled extensively across the world, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and UK. In Germany they shared the bill with reggae superstar Bob Marley. It was on this world tour that the band recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album, which was released in 1980.
In 1990, Ken Caillat originally remastered the album to compact disc, with the original album in the same track order as the vinyl LP. Warner Bros. released the CD in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Germany, under various catalog numbers.
A 2-disc remastered version of the album was released in 2004, featuring the entire, unedited version of the original album on the first disc and various demos, outtakes and alternate versions on the second disc:
In 2012, Marianne Faithfull covered "Angel" for the Fleetwood Mac tribute compilation Just Tell Me That You Want Me.
In 2012, Best Coast covered "Storms" for the B-side of a promo-only 7" featuring the title track of their 2nd album The Only Place. It was released as a bonus track on the Australian edition of the album and the cover was also performed live around this time including on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.