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"Songbird"
Single by Fleetwood Mac
from the album Rumours
A-side" Dreams"
ReleasedFebruary 1977 (1977-02)
RecordedMarch 3–4, 1976
Studio Zellerbach Auditorium, Berkeley, California
Genre Soft rock
Length3:20
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Christine McVie
Producer(s)Fleetwood Mac, Ken Caillat, Richard Dashut

"Songbird" is a song by the British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac. The song first appeared on the band's 1977 album Rumours and was released as the B-side of the single " Dreams". It is one of four songs written solely by Christine McVie on the album.

McVie frequently sang the song at the end of Fleetwood Mac concerts. [1] Her former husband, John McVie, recalled that "When Christine played "Songbird", grown men would weep. I did every night." [2]

In 2022, the song was given an orchestral arrangement by Vince Mendoza on McVie's Songbird (A Solo Collection) compilation album. [3] This version received a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals. [4]

Background

McVie wrote "Songbird" in half an hour around midnight, but didn't have anyone around to record it. To ensure she did not forget the chord structure and melody, McVie remained awake the entire night. [5] The next day, McVie played the song for producer Ken Caillat at the Sausalito Record Plant. [6]

Caillat loved the track and suggested she record it alone in a concert style approach. Their first venue of choice, the Berkeley Community Theatre, was unavailable, so the band instead booked the Zellerbach Auditorium for March 3, 1976. [7] To create the appropriate ambience, Caillat ordered a bouquet of flowers to place on McVie's piano. He then requested three spotlights to illuminate the flowers from above. When McVie arrived at the auditorium, the house lights were dimmed so her attention was brought to the illuminated flowers on the piano. [8]

For the recording session, 15 microphones were placed around the auditorium to capture the performance. [7] The recording session went into the next morning due to the difficulty of recording the song live in one take. [8] Lindsey Buckingham strummed an acoustic guitar offstage to keep the tempo. [9]

Personnel

Charts

Weekly charts

Weekly chart performance for "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mac
Chart (2022) Peak
position
UK Singles Downloads ( OCC) [10] 27
US Digital Song Sales ( Billboard) [11] 26
US Rock Digital Songs ( Billboard) [12] 9

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom ( BPI) [13] Platinum 600,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions

Eva Cassidy version

Eva Cassidy's version was released in 1998 on her posthumous compilation album of the same name Songbird. Despite being released two years after her death from melanoma, the album eventually reached number 1 in the UK in 2001. [14] "Songbird" finally entered the UK Singles chart in September 2009 at number 56, after a contestant (Shanna Goodhead) performed the song on The X Factor.

Other versions

Willie Nelson covered "Songbird" on his 2006 album Songbird, making it the second album to be named after the song. The album peaked at number 87 on the Billboard 200. [15]

Bedouine closes her 2021 self-released album Waysides with a cover of "Songbird". [16]

Mick Fleetwood collaborated with ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro and released their own rendition of "Songbird" on July 12, 2023, which would have been McVie's 80th birthday. [17]

On November 30, 2023, The Corrs covered "Songbird" on the one year anniversary of Christine McVie's death. [18]

References

  1. ^ Evans, Mike (2011). Fleetwood Mac – The Definitive History. New York, NY: Sterling. p. 146. ISBN  978-1-4027-8630-3.
  2. ^ Weingarten, Christopher; et al. (2 May 2022). "Fleetwood Mac's 50 Greatest Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 November 2023.
  3. ^ Sinclair, Paul (25 April 2022). "Christine McVie / Songbird (A Solo Collection) – SuperDeluxeEdition". Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  4. ^ "Watch: Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt And Mick Fleetwood Honor Christine McVie In A Heartfelt Performance Of "Songbird" 2023 GRAMMYs Performance GRAMMY.com". www.grammy.com. Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie Talk Duets Album". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  6. ^ "Ken Caillat Revisits Rumours". GRAMMY.com. 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  7. ^ a b Bosso, Joe (December 13, 2022). "Fleetwood Mac's classic album Rumours track-by-track: Songbird". MusicRadar. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Runtagh, Jordan (February 3, 2017). "Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours': 10 Things You Didn't Know". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Benitez-Eves, Tina (2022-12-02). "The Meaning Behind Christine McVie's "Spiritual" Fleetwood Mac Song "Songbird"". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2023-07-02.
  10. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Chart History". Billboard Rock Digital Songs for Fleetwood Mac. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  13. ^ "British single certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Songbird". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  14. ^ The Official UK Albums Chart Top 75, August 25, 2001. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
  15. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  16. ^ Easton, Ben (2021-11-01). "Bedouine Closes Her New Album with a Cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird"". Cover Me. Retrieved 2024-05-16.
  17. ^ "Hear Mick Fleetwood's Instrumental Tribute of "Songbird" for Christine McVie". Goldmine Magazine: Record Collector & Music Memorabilia. 12 July 2023. Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  18. ^ Katkins, Jamie (30 November 2023). "The Corrs Honour Christine McVie With Stunning Cover Of Fleetwood Mac's 'Songbird'". Dig!. Retrieved 2 December 2023.