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"Murrow Turning Over in His Grave"
Song by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Say You Will
Released2003
Length4:12
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Lindsey Buckingham
Producer(s)Lindsey Buckingham
Edward R. Murrow

"Murrow Turning Over in His Grave" is the second track on Fleetwood Mac's 2003 album Say You Will. It was written and sung by Lindsey Buckingham. [1] The lyrics to the song are politically charged, with Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine labeling the song as "an anti-media tirade". [2] The song references Edward R. Murrow, a mid-20th century American newsman known for his honesty and integrity.

Background

"Murrow Turning Over in His Grave" originated as a Buckingham solo song that was slated to appear on his Gift of Screws album, but Buckingham ultimately gave the song to Fleetwood Mac for Say You Will. [3] The original Gift of Screws album was intended to be a follow-up to his 1992 album Out of the Cradle, and Buckingham had worked on several new songs, including "Murrow Turning Over In His Grave", in Hollywood during the mid 1990s with producer Rob Cavallo. [4] Buckingham wrote "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave" during the murder trial of O. J. Simpson as a response to the prominence and prevalence of news outlets such as Court TV, which Buckingham criticized for "stooping to a new low" and being opportunistic in its news reporting. [5] An unmastered version of the song was leaked online in 2001 under the working title "Murrow". [6]

Buckingham mentioned in an interview with Performing Songwriter that "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave" is about the concentration of media ownership. "We're seeing that coming true on so many levels. Especially in the world today, where all the media is basically owned and controlled and edited to a certain point of view, in the name of objective news, by all the same people who are tied in with another company. A good example would be GE owning NBC. Murrow would be turning over in his grave if he were to see all of this." [7]

While "Murrow Turning Over In His Grave" did not appear on any of the setlists for the Say You Will Tour, [8] the song was performed live by Buckingham in 2005 as part of a Soundstage TV special. [9]

Structure and production

The song features Buckingham singing the two verses in a falsetto with the chorus being composed of many overdubbed vocals. [10] Considerable studio production manipulation is used to give the song a synthetic and technological mood. It was described by Billboard as a "bass-heavy" stomper, [11] and by writer Ken Richardson as "fascinating dark stuff". [12] Buckingham's guitar style on the song was described by Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune as a "psychedelic sun shower". [13]

The song's closing section features a distorted guitar solo of over 90 seconds while three separate guitars accompany, including a slide guitar. To create a distorted effect on his vocals, Buckingham recorded a cluster of 5-7 vocal tracks that were out of tune with each other. He said of its recording: "This song has elements of something quite traditional and recognizable in an almost generic sort of way, yet it departs from that at the chorus when you're suddenly into this weird Brian Wilson/ Yardbirds acid thing. I would never want to do something that was generic all the way through." [14] The vocals of the chorus partially recreate the traditional song " Black Betty", [15] with Buckingham singing "Ed Murrow had a child, the damn thing went wild" in a shared mix with the song's title, which is sung simultaneously.

Meaning

Lindsey Buckingham has said that the song was written to reflect his belief that Edward R. Murrow, an iconic CBS News journalist in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, would be greatly dismayed by the present-day media. [16] Murrow was a great believer in honesty and integrity in delivering news to an international audience, notably stating:

"To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful." - Edward R. Murrow [17]

Personnel

References

  1. ^ Light, Alan (18 April 2023). "Say You Will Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  2. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (April 16, 2003). "Review: Fleetwood Mac, Say You Will". Slant. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  3. ^ Swanson, Dave (15 April 2013). "When Fleetwood Mac Mounted a Semi-Reunion on 'Say You Will'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Lindsey Buckingham Reveals Stories Behind His Solo Songs And Whether He'll Ever Rejoin Fleetwood Mac". Stereogum. 2018-12-10. Retrieved 2023-09-01.
  5. ^ Bottomley, C.; Macnie, Jim. "Fleetwood Mac: Over 100 Million Served". VH1. Archived from the original on 8 December 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  6. ^ "Still Going Insane - A Lindsey Buckingham Resource". www.fleetwoodmac-uk.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2023. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  7. ^ DeMain, Bill (May 2003). "Performing Songwriter, Volume 10, Issue 69". The Blue Letter Archives. Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2023-09-01.
  8. ^ "The Say You Will Tour". Archived from the original on 21 March 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  9. ^ "Lindsey Buckingham - Soundstage Presents Lindsey Buckingham", AllMusic, retrieved 2023-08-25
  10. ^ Fleetwood Mac: Searching For Gems Beyond The Hits. The Quietus. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  11. ^ Caulfield, K. (2003) ‘Say You Will’, Billboard. New York: P-MRC, p. 29–.
  12. ^ Richardson, K. (2003) Fleetwood Mac: Say You Will, Sound & vision (New York, N.Y.). AV Tech Media, p. 101–.
  13. ^ Kot, Greg (21 April 2003). "Four-fifths of the "Rumours"-era Fleetwood Mac".
  14. ^ Thompson, Art (April 2003). "Guitar Player - The Eternal Return". The Blue Letter Archives. Archived from the original on 30 December 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  15. ^ Strickland, Andy (5 May 2003). "Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 20 June 2003. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  16. ^ Leibovich, Mark (March 27, 2005). "Edward R. Murrow, Welcome To the Full-Spin Zone". Washington Post.
  17. ^ Boiko-Weyrauch, Anna. "Edward R. Murrow". FASPE Journalism. Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2016.