From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Rattlesnake Shake"
Single by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Then Play On
B-side"Coming Your Way"
ReleasedSeptember 1969 (US) [1]
Genre Blues rock
Psychedelic blues
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Peter Green
Producer(s) Fleetwood Mac [2]

"Rattlesnake Shake" is a song by British rock group Fleetwood Mac, written by guitarist Peter Green, which first appeared on the band's 1969 album Then Play On. The track was one of the band's crowd-favorites in the late 1960s. [3]


Although " Oh Well" was a hit in the UK in October 1969, the song was not released in the United States at that time. Instead, Clifford Davis, who was Fleetwood Mac's manager at the time, selected "Rattlesnake Shake" to be released in the US, since he thought it would become a big hit, [4] but it did not chart. After the commercial failure of "Rattlesnake Shake", "Oh Well" was released as the follow-up single in January 1970, and subsequently became a minor hit, reaching No. 55 on Billboard. Mick Fleetwood ranked the song in his top 11 favorite Fleetwood Mac songs of all-time list since he was able to participate in bringing out the character of the song. [5]

According to Mick Fleetwood, the double-time shuffle near the end of the song was spun out of an improvised jam. "It incorporated the freedom to go off on a tangent, to jam – the classic ‘Do you jam, dude?’ We learned that as players. You hear that alive and well in the double-time structure that I put in at the end, which on stage could last half an hour. It was our way of being in the Grateful Dead." [5]

In a Q&A, Peter Green admitted that "Rattlesnake Shake" was about masturbation, reckoning that the lyrical content was inspired by Fleetwood. [6] Fleetwood would later back up this claim in his 2014 autobiography "Play On", stating that "Rattlesnake Shake" is an ode to masturbation as a cure for the blues. "I'm named in it, as a guy who does the rattlesnake shake to jerk away my sadness whenever I don't have a chick. That was an appropriate immortalisation of my younger self..." [7] To achieve the rustling noises heard at the end of each chorus, Green used the sounds of an actual rattlesnake found on an audio tape. [8]

Critical reception

The song has been well-received; the magazine Rolling Stone hailed the track as Peter Green's best song along with " Albatross". [9] Ultimate Classic Rock placed it at No. 7 on their Top 10 'Peter Green Fleetwood Mac Songs' list. [10] Paste Magazine also ranked the song number No. 19 on the 20 Best Fleetwood Mac Songs Of All Time, and was just one of two Peter Green songs to appear on the list, the other being "Oh Well". [11]


Fleetwood Mac

Chart performance

Chart (1970) Peak
Netherlands ( Dutch Top 40 Tipparade) [12] 4

Cover versions

A different recording of "Rattlesnake Shake" also appears on Mick Fleetwood's solo album, The Visitor. Released in 1981, this recording featured Peter Green, the track's composer, on guitar and vocals. During this time, Peter Green was beginning to reemerge professionally and had released a series of solo albums. The rerecorded 1981 version reached No. 30 on the Mainstream Rock chart. [13]

Also in 1981, Bob Welch recorded a live version of the track on his album Live at The Roxy, with contributions from Stevie Nicks (tambourine), Christine McVie (maracas), Mick Fleetwood (drums), Robbie Patton (cowbell), Alvin Taylor (guitar), Robin Sylvester (bass), Joey Brasler (guitar), and David Adelstein (keyboards). The album was released in 2004. [14]

A 1973 live version of "Rattlesnake Shake" appeared on Aerosmith box set "Pandora's Box" in 1991. [15]

In 2005, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Rick Vito covered "Rattlesnake Shake" on an album of the same name. [16] The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band recorded a live version of "Rattlesnake Shake" for their album " Blue Again! in 2008". [17] This version featured Rick Vito on guitar and vocals.

Five years later, the song was rehearsed for a Mick Fleetwood Blues Band concert. Christine McVie had given Mick Fleetwood a call and asked him if she could play at an upcoming gig in Hawaii, to which Fleetwood agreed. The same day, Fleetwood and Rick Vito brought a piano to her hotel suite and rehearsed " Don't Stop" and "Rattlesnake Shake", both of which were played at the Hawaii concert along with "Get Like You Used to Be" and " World Turning". [18]

Personnel (Mick Fleetwood version)

  • Peter Green – vocals, lead guitar
  • Mick Fleetwood – drums, percussion
  • Richard Dashut – percussion
  • George Hawkins – bass guitar
  • Todd Sharp – guitar
  • Lord Tiki – hand drums
  • Tony Todaro – percussion
  • The Clapettes – percussion
  • Ebaali Gbiko – percussion, backing vocals


  1. ^ Fleetwood, Mick (1993). My 25 years in Fleetwood Mac. Hyperion. p. 159. ISBN  0-297-81336-6.
  2. ^ "Fleetwood Mac:Then Play On". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  3. ^ Evans, Mike (2011). Fleetwood Mac: The Definitive History. New York: Sterling. p. 56. ISBN  978-1-4027-8630-3. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  4. ^ Morthland, John. "Fleetwood Mac Then Play On Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Bosso, Joe (27 July 2012). "Mick Fleetwood: My 11 Greatest Recordings of All Time – Rattlesnake Shake". musicradar. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  6. ^ "The Penguin Q&A Sessions: Peter Green, August 19 – September 1, 1999". The Penguin. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  7. ^ Fleetwood, Mick; Bozza, Anthony (October 2014). Play On: Now, Then & Fleetwood Mac (First ed.). New York: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 105–106. ISBN  978-0-316-40342-9.
  8. ^ Fisher, Ben. "Green God Breaks His Silence (Guitar Player, November 1994)". The Blue Letter Archives. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "Peter Green – 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  10. ^ DeRiso, Nick. "Top 10 Peter Green Fleetwood Mac Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  11. ^ "The 20 Best Fleetwood Mac Songs of All Time". Archived from the original on 2019-05-15. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  12. ^ "Tipparade-lijst van week 1, 1970" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  13. ^ "Mick Fleetwood Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Penguin Discography: Rattlesnake Shake". Archived from the original on 2 May 2005. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Pandora's Box – Aerosmith". AllMusic. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  16. ^ "Rick Vito: Rattlesnake Shake". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  17. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "Mick Fleetwood Blues Band: Blue Again!". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Fleetwood, Mick; Bozza, Anthony (October 2014). Play On: Now, Then & Fleetwood Mac (First ed.). New York: Little, Brown And Company. pp. 315–16. ISBN  978-0-316-40342-9.