|Single by Fleetwood Mac|
|from the album Tusk|
|B-side||"Never Make Me Cry"|
|Released||September 19, 1979|
|Producer(s)||Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut, Ken Caillat|
|Fleetwood Mac singles chronology|
Short sample of Tusk to demonstrate the percussion-driven production and integration of USC Marching band within the song.
"Tusk" is a song by Fleetwood Mac from the 1979 double LP of the same name. The song peaked at number 8 in the US for three weeks, reached number 6 in the UK (where it was certified Silver for sales of over 250,000 copies), number 5 in Canada and number 3 in Australia. It was one of the first songs to be released using a digital mixdown from an original analog source.
Looking for a title track for the as yet unnamed album, Mick Fleetwood suggested that they take the rehearsal riff that Lindsey Buckingham used for sound-checks. Producers Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat hence created a drum-driven production. In addition to normal drums, Fleetwood Mac also experimented with different found sounds on the song. Fleetwood and Buckingham played lamb chops and a Kleenex box on the track respectively.
"I'm playing floor toms, and I overdubbed a lot of American Indian wood tribal drums. It's a whole hodgepodge of Kleenex boxes, drums, weird stuff, slapping of lamb chops and things. I got a big leg of lamb in there somewhere – I'm hitting it with a spatula." [laughs]— Mick Fleetwood
The single was recorded live together with the supporting video at Dodger Stadium (without an audience) in Los Angeles, California in collaboration with the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band. The performance was also filmed for the song's music video.
The Trojan marching band's part both set a record for the highest number of musicians performing on a single and earned the marching musicians a platinum disc. Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood presented it to the Trojan band on October 4, 1980 during a game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, this time in front of a huge crowd. The song was also performed live during Fleetwood Mac's concert in 1997 in conjunction with the USC Band.
The single was released with two different picture sleeves in many territories: The first featured the black and white picture of producer/engineer Ken Caillat's dog Scooter snapping at a trouser leg, the same as that used for the album cover, whilst the second featured a plain cover with the same font as the album cover but without the dog picture. A very limited promotional 12-inch version, featuring mono and stereo versions, was also released to US radio stations.
A radically different mix of the track exclusively appeared on the retrospective four-disc compilation 25 Years – The Chain in 1992.
A live performance of the song recorded at Dodger Stadium on June 4, 1979 with the USC Marching band was used as a music video. John McVie was in Tahiti during the Dodger Stadium recording, but he is represented in the video by a cardboard cutout carried around by Mick Fleetwood and later positioned in the stands with the other band members.
- Lindsey Buckingham – guitar, Kleenex box, vocals
- Christine McVie – electronic organ, backing vocals, accordion (live performances only)
- Stevie Nicks – backing vocals
- John McVie – bass guitar
- Mick Fleetwood – drums, percussion, lamb chops
- Additional personnel
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- "Talent in Action" Billboard December 20, 1980: TIA-10