Artist News

Christine McVie dies

By | Published on Thursday 1 December 2022

Christine McVie

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie has died, aged 79.

A statement on her official Facebook page reads: “On behalf of Christine McVie’s family, it is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death. She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, 30 Nov 2022, following a short illness”.

“She was in the company of her family”, it added. “We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally”.

In their own statement on Twitter, Fleetwood Mac said: “There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one of a kind, special and talented beyond measure”.

“She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life”, they continued. “We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed”.

Born Christine Perfect in Lancashire in 1943, McVie’s music career began as a member of blues band Chicken Shack, with whom she enjoyed some success.

Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac were both signed to the Blue Horizon record label and performed on the same bills a number of times. In 1968, she performed session piano on Fleetwood Mac’s second album, ‘Mr Wonderful’, and the same year also married the band’s bassist, John McVie.

She left Chicken Shack in 1969 and recorded her debut solo album, ‘Christine Perfect’, which came out the following year. But the album was a commercial failure, and McVie decided to retire from the music industry.

However, that retirement was short-lived and later that year she became a full-time member of Fleetwood Mac. Her first album with the band as part of the main line-up was 1971’s ‘Future Games’, to which she contributed the songs ‘Morning Rain’ and ‘Show Me A Smile’, as well as co-writing ‘What A Shame’.

Over the next two years, the band released three more albums, with tensions within the band leading to numerous line-up changes during that time. These tensions included the strained marriage of Christine and John McVie, due to the pressures of continually working together and John’s alcoholism. When guitarist Bob Weston had an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd Fleetwood, the band finally collapsed and they announced their split in 1973.

The split was only temporary though, and the band reunited without Weston in 1974 – after a legal battle over ownership of the name, which had seen their manager Clifford Davis put his own new version of the band on the road.

That year, the band also moved to the US, and soon added Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham to their line-up, completing the best known version of the band. They released their first album with this line-up, ‘Fleetwood Mac’, in 1975, which was successful and helped to revitalise the band’s career. One single from it, the Christine McVie-penned ‘Over My Head’, was a top 20 hit in the US.

Tensions within the band continued however, and – following the release of ‘Fleetwood Mac’ – both couples in the band – The McVies and Buckingham and Nicks – split up. Meanwhile, Mick Fleetwood was going through his own divorce and the members of the band had become heavy drug users.

Ultimately deciding to keep the band together, they were under pressure to record a follow-up. That record was 1977’s ‘Rumours’, which went on to become one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. Spawning several hit songs, the album’s lyrics largely documented the failing relationships of the band’s members.

McVie continued to record and perform with Fleetwood Mac, and in 1984 also released her second solo album ‘Christine McVie’, which featured contributions from Buckingham, Fleetwood, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and keyboard player Eddy Quintela, whom she married in 1986.

She left Fleetwood Mac in 1998, after developing a fear of flying, and became far less active. She did, however, release a third solo album, ‘In The Meantime’, in 2004, after divorcing from Quintela.

She subsequently joined Fleetwood Mac on stage for two performances in 2013 – the first time she had been on stage for fifteen years – and then rejoined the band the following year, remaining a member of the line-up until her death.

The band did not record any more albums during this time – McVie’s last being 1995’s ‘Time’ – though she and Buckingham released an LP together, ‘Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie’, which also featured a number of their bandmates, in 2017.

Fleetwood Mac as a band and McVie personally worked with Warner Music from the 1960s onwards, and in a statement this morning the major’s CEO for Recorded Music, Max Lousada, said: “The loss of Christine McVie is not only devastating to all of us in her Warner Music family across the globe, but to the entire music community and her countless millions of fans”.

“From her early days with Chicken Shack to her phenomenal time with Fleetwood Mac to her brilliant solo work, Christine has been in our collective musical consciousness for nearly six decades”, he went on. “Her voice was unmistakable and indelible, her songwriting beautiful and peerless, and her live performances powerful and entrancing. She was, and is, a musical icon for the ages, and she will be deeply missed. Our condolences go out to her family, friends and bandmates”.

Kevin Gore, President of Global Catalogue, Recorded Music, added: “The Warner family has lost a dear friend of many decades with the passing of Christine McVie. An exceptionally gifted musician, her signature vocals and impeccable songwriting are front and centre on many of Fleetwood Mac’s most beloved hits as well as her string of beautiful solo albums”.

“I had the honour of spending time with Christine a few years ago to discuss how to best present her solo work, and I’m so pleased with the collection she produced, which recently earned a Grammy nomination”, he continued.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Christine’s family, bandmates, and friends, along with her legions of fans around the world. Warner Music will continue to honour and preserve Christine’s unparalleled legacy and, though she may no longer be with us, we will all, like the songbird, keep singing her songs”.