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"Sisters of the Moon"
Single by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Tusk
B-side" Walk a Thin Line"
ReleasedJune 1980
Recorded1978–1979
Genre Rock, hard rock
Length
  • 4:16 (Promo Version)
  • 4:36 (Album Version)
  • 4:42 (Single Version)
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Stevie Nicks
Producer(s)Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut, Ken Caillat
Fleetwood Mac singles chronology
" Think About Me"
(1980)
"Sisters of the Moon"
(1980)
"Fireflies"
(1981)

"Sisters of the Moon" is a song by British-American rock group Fleetwood Mac. It was written and sung by band-member Stevie Nicks and was released in the US as the fourth single from the 1979 album Tusk. The song peaked at No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100, although it was not released in the UK. The single version of "Sisters of the Moon" is included on the compilation The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac and both the 2004 and 2015 remasters of 'Tusk'.

When performed live, the song would usually go for over eight minutes in length, most notably the Mirage Tour version in 1982. [1] The song did not appear on any subsequent tour until their 2013 Tour. [2] "Sisters of the Moon" was also played on the North American and European legs of the On with the Show tour, but with an abbreviated guitar solo.

Cash Box said that the song is "mysterious and marvelous" and particularly praised Lindsey Buckingham's guitar playing, saying that the "notes cry out like a banshee in the night." [3]

Background

"Sisters of the Moon" was written a few years before the making of Tusk. Nicks said in an interview with Jim Ladd in the 1970s that the song was written about her deteriorating health while she was on tour with Fleetwood Mac. "I walked out in front of the mirror and looked at myself and I was sick...so [the lyric] intense silence as she walked in the room was me looking at myself. And the people they love her, that's after the gigs; they're a million people and you're being pulled every way." [4]

Walter Egan, who worked with both Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on his Not Shy solo album (1978), performed the song live in 1977 and 1978. Egan recorded a demo of the song and intended to include it on Not Shy, although Buckingham convinced him to abandon the idea. Buckingham's decision stemmed from personal issues with Nicks rather than the merits of the song. [5]

Starting in July 1978, Fleetwood Mac embarked on their Penguin Country Summer Safari Tour, where they included "Sister of the Moon" in the setlist, their only representative from Tusk, which at that point was only a month in development. [6]

In the liner notes for the 2015 deluxe edition of Tusk, Nicks described the song as her "putting up an alter-ego or something, the dark lady in the corner, and there's this Gemini twin-thing. It wasn't a love song; it wasn't written about a man, or anything precious. It was just about a feeling I might have had over a couple days, going inward in my gnarly trollness". [7] However, producer Ken Caillat commented that the song "meant a great deal to Stevie" at the time and "represented an anthem of friendship for her sorority of girlfriends". Engineer Hernan Rojas recalled that Nicks dubbed her friend group of Sara Recor, Sharon Celani, and Robin Anderson as "members of the sisterhood", all of whom were bestowed golden half-moon pendants. [6]

Recording

Fleetwood Mac rehearsed the song in the summer, but returned to the song in October 1978 after the conclusion of their Penguin Country Summer Safari Tour. The band assembled for conference to determine which verses to retain from Nicks' demo, ultimately opting to record a six minute version. They also reserved the option to edit the song further if they felt it had "single potential". [6]

For the October tracking session, Mick Fleetwood was on drum kit that included a 26-inch kick drum, John McVie used a Fender Precision Bass, Buckingham played a distorted Fender Stratocaster plugged into a Marshall stack, Nicks sang her parts in a stained-glass vocal booth, and Christine McVie used a Yamaha electric piano, having recently received an endorsement deal from the company. John McVie swapped out the Fender bass for his new Alembic soon after. After several hours, the band still lacked a satisfactory take, so they took a break to perform poetry, including Robert Frost's " Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". During this break, members of the rhythm section convened in the control room to listen to the soloed kick drum and snare drum tracks to detect any deviations in the song's tempo. After dinner, the band decided to increase the song's tempo by two beats per minute and resumed work at take 30. They recorded seven more passes, eventually settling on take 35 as the master. [6]

Nicks wanted the backing vocals to be all female, so she and Christine McVie recorded some harmonies during the original tracking sessions. These vocals, which Nicks belted in her head voice, were combined with additional vocals recorded at a later date. Over the next few months, Buckingham overdubbed two tracks of "electric volume swells" and reverbed arpeggio guitars, three tracks of "grungy" Stratocasters, and two acoustic guitars. [6]

Personnel

Charts

Chart (1980) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100 [8] 86

References

  1. ^ "VINTAGE VIDEO: 'Sisters of the Moon'". Stevie Nicks Info. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "FULL VIDEO: The Elusive "Sisters of the Moon" + More Photos - Fleetwood Mac Live in Philadelphia 4/6/2013". Fleetwood Mac News. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  3. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 24 May 1980. p. 21. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  4. ^ Howe, Zoë (2015). Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams, & Rumours. Omnibus Press. pp. 63–64. ISBN  978-1-4683-1066-5.
  5. ^ "Walter Egan, October 13 - 26, 1999: Section 2". The Penguin. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e Caillat, Ken; Rojas, Hernan (2019). Get Tusked: The Inside Story of Fleetwood Mac's Most Anticipated Album. Guilford, Connecticut: Backbeat Books. pp. 42, 62–72. ISBN  978-1-4930-5983-6.
  7. ^ Irvin, Jim (2015). Tusk (2015 Remastered Deluxe Edition) (Liner Notes). Fleetwood Mac. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Records Inc. p. 16. Publisher Warner Bros #2HS-3350.
  8. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

Further reading

The Great Rock Discography by Martin C.Strong. Page 378. ISBN  1-84195-312-1