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Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird,” Dead at 79

McVie passed away Wednesday following a short illness

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Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac has died at 79
Christine McVie, photo by Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

    Christine McVie, the legendary vocalist and songwriter who lifted Fleetwood Mac with clear-eyed optimism, has died at the age of 79.

    McVie “passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness. She was in the company of her family,” according to a statement. “We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally.”

    “There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie,” Fleetwood Mac added in a separate statement. “She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished CHristine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”

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    McVie’s Fleetwood Mac bandmates Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood also penned their own individual tribute posts, as did scores of other musicians who found inspiration in her work. You can find a full list of tributes to McVie here.

    Born in Lancashire, England in 1943 as Christine Perfect, McVie came up in the UK’s fabled blues scene of the 1960s and had her first taste of success as part of the band Chicken Shack. In 1968 she married Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie, though they would divorce in 1976. In 1969 she left Chicken Shack, and in 1971 she joined Fleetwood Mac, where she would elevate the quality of the musicianship while providing some much-needed stability.

    Before McVie left the band in 1998 she wrote dozens of their best known songs, eight of which ended up on Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits album in 1988. While some of her bandmates tended towards cynicism, McVie’s songs often floated on hope, even on tracks like the Tango in the Night cut “Little Lies,” the beauty of which rests on an unshakable desire to “believe in you.”

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    She also wrote or co-wrote “Say You Love Me” and “Over My Head” from the band’s 1975 self-titled white album, “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun,” and “Songbird,” off of Rumors, “Everywhere,” from Tango in the Night, “Hold Me” for Mirage, “Skies the Limit” on Behind the Mask, and “I Do” off Time, in addition to countless beloved non-singles and B-sides.

    During her long career, McVie released a handful of solo albums: 1970s Christine Perfect, 1984’s Christine McVie, and 2004’s In the Meantime, as well as the 2017 collaborative effort Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie. In 1998, the same year she left the band, she was one of eight members of Fleetwood Mac inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Her later years were hindered by agoraphobia and a fear of flying, though she rediscovered her love of performing and rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014. “It was amazing, like I’d never left. I climbed back on there again and there they were, the same old faces on stage,” she told The Guardian in an interview at the time.

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    Revisit some of McView’s best-known songs below.

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