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Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie dies aged 79

‘There are no words to describe our sadness,’ the band wrote

Tom Murray,Nicole Vassell
Wednesday 30 November 2022 19:47 GMT
Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie dies aged 79

Christine McVie, the Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter and musician, has died aged 79, her family announced on Wednesday (30 November).

The family’s statement said McVie had died peacefully in hospital, adding: “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.”

Her official cause of death has not been disclosed, however her family said she had succumbed to a “short illness”.

McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 after marrying bassist John McVie, and left after 28 years in 1998 before returning in 2014. She was behind a number of the legendary band’s biggest hits, including “Everywhere”, “Little Lies”, “Don’t Stop” and “Say You Love Me”.

In a statement, the band wrote: “There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. 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.”

McVie was born Christine Perfect in the Lancashire village of Bouth on 12 July 1943. Music was a part of her life from a young age, and an integral part of her family dynamic. Her father, Cyril Percy Absell Perfect, was a concert violinist and music lecturer, while her grandfather was an organist at Westminster Abbey.

Though she studied sculpture with the intention of becoming an art teacher, she befriended blues musicians and began performing.

Christine McVie (PA)

Ahead of her career with Fleetwood Mac, McVie had been a fan. From 1967, she was part of a blues band on the same label named Chicken Shack. While acting as a pianist and background singer for Chicken Shack, she played as a session musician for some of Peter Green’s songs on Fleetwood Mac’s second album, Mr Wonderful.

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After joining the band full-time in 1970, McVie moved to the US with the other members in 1974. The following year saw Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham join, and soon after followed the release of the self-titled album Fleetwood Mac.

The album included the McVie songs “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me”, the former being the first song to launch the band onto American radio and into the national Top 20.

1976 saw the release of Rumours, one of Fleetwood Mac’s quintessential albums and one of the best-selling records of all time. One of McVie’s songs on the album, “You Make Loving Fun”, was inspired by her affair with the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant.

Christine McVie (centre) with the other members of Fleetwood Mac (AP)

Christine and John McVie divorced in 1976, but remained friends and professional collaborators.

From 1979 to 1982, McVie dated the Beach Boys’ drummer and co-founder Dennis Wilson. Their tumultuous relationship was the inspiration for the Fleetwood Mac song “Hold Me”, released in 1982. Wilson died by drowning the following year.

Her next marriage was to Eddy Quintela, a Portuguese keyboardist and songwriter, in 1986. Together the couple created several songs, including “Little Lies” from Fleetwood Mac’s 14th studio album, Tango in the Night (1987). They divorced in 2003, and Quintela died in 2020.

In a 2019 interview with The Independent, McVie shared her experience of being one of two women in a male-dominated music group in the 1970s, and confirmed that, while she had found the crude antics of her bandmates amusing, she had also felt respected.

“Fleetwood Mac were a rude bunch – they had dirty minds; they still do – but I used to laugh because I thought they were hysterical,” she explained. “I kind of became one of the guys, which I think I still am to this day, but I was always treated with great respect.”

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks in 2018 (Getty)

As a member of Fleetwood Mac, McVie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, but left the band to go into semi-retirement later that year. She rejoined the band in January 2014 before winning the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement mere months later.

McVie won two Grammy awards, and received her final Grammy nomination earlier this year.

“Songbird (Orchestral Version)”, taken from her first solo music compilation, Songbird, is in contention in the Best Arrangements, Instruments and Vocals category.

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