Fleetwood Mac Friday #7: “Silver Springs”
“Silver Springs” was cut from Rumours in maybe the band’s worst decision, (what, did they have to make room for “Oh Daddy?”) but, as my sister, Hope, pointed out, it’s what Rumours is all about: the lines “I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you / You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you” are literally true, because Rumours was such a hit that Lindsey Buckingham could never have escaped Stevie Nicks after its release. Every time he goes into Duane Reade, he hears her singing about heartbreak.
When my cousin Dante was in hospice care, Hope and I would go with his sister, Theo, to Nick’s Lounge in Berkeley, because it’s the kind of place where you can never be the saddest person present. Hope and Theo would sing a karaoke rendition of “Silver Springs.” Karaoke then became kind of a study in how to take a song about one specific thing and transmute it into being about your own feelings. Around this time, Dante was overwhelmed with juggling visits from people who cared about him, often people who just wanted to hold his hand and stare at him and cry. Like what was he supposed to do? Console them, the non-dying people? He was sleepy all the time, and doped-up. The old Dante, vivacious, mischievous, charming, a physical force in the room, only came out in glimpses anymore. The song articulates a distinctly feminine jealousy and hurt that doesn’t have to be romantic, applies to any situation of hurt or loss, especially when your own situation of hurt and loss is so overwhelming that you can apply it to anything anyway. “Time cast its spell on you” is a very elegaic phrase, but the line I quoted earlier doesn’t quite apply: he got away, he haunts us.
The Mac recorded Rumours in Sausalito. In my experience, the Bay Area can be a hard place to express anxiety and grief; other peoples’ smug gratitude and shrill self-righteousness manage to shout over you. Buckingham won when “Silver Springs” was cut from Rumours and used as a B-side to his “Go Your Own Way,” but Nicks’ philosophy won out in the larger sense. Look at the way Buckingham and Nicks turn their heads to the side and scream their lyrics at each other, even now, like some Marina Abramovic performance. That’s how you deal with your emotions: by screaming them at each other forever. Not going your own way, but chained. Like family.
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