You Totally Didn’t Know These Were Fleetwood Mac Covers

Fleetwood Mac, Elmore James, Judas Priest. Photos: Getty Images

Every Wednesday, Douglas Wolk explores the people, places and coincidences that tie disparate musicians together.

This week’s big news in the intersection of new-breed pop musicians and old-school pop musicians is Just Tell Me That You Love Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac, a tribute album that finds the transcontinental classic-rock band’s songs covered by the likes of Best Coast, the New Pornographers, MGMT and the Kills. Fleetwood Mac songs have actually been in the repertoire of some of those bands for a good long while – here’s a live performance of “Silver Springs” that Lykke Li recorded earlier this year.
Fleetwood Mac has always been pretty deeply involved in cover versions, from both directions. The better part of Just Tell Me That You Love Me draws on the records they made between 1975 and 1987 with their best-known lineup — Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. But their commercial breakthrough, the self-titled 1975 record that debuted that lineup, was actually something like Fleetwood Mac’s twelfth album; they’d been in a state of near-constant flux since they’d formed eight years earlier. Even their first single, 1967’s “I Believe My Time Ain’t Long,” was for all practical purposes a cover.
It had a slightly altered title, but it was basically just Elmore James’ immortal, endlessly recycled blues standard “Dust My Broom,” heard here in its 1951 incarnation.

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