Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Video of the Week: "Hold Me" (Fleetwood Mac)

This week's video is 1982's "Hold Me" by Fleetwood Mac, a group whose history rivals that of any soap opera. Formed by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, the group has been through many lineup changes but is best known for its "classic" configuration that also includes keyboardist Christine McVie, guitarist Lindsay Buckingham, and vocalist Stevie Nicks. During the recording sessions for this lineup's second album, 1977's Rumours, Christine and John were in the process of ending their marriage, in large part because of his alcohol abuse, Buckingham and Nicks were ending their relationship, and Nicks and Fleetwood had an affair also. While much of the group's tempestuous dynamic is reflected in their fantastic songwriting, the fact that they managed to produce so much great music is a testament to just how good and dedicated they were. It helped that Fleetwood and John McVie formed an incredibly tight rhythm section for the band, Buckingham was one of the most inventive and talented guitarists of the century, and he joined Nicks and Christine McVie as extraordinary songwriters whose voices made for a distinctive blend despite the three of them having totally different singing styles.

 This song was included on the album Mirage, which may explain the video's surreal desert imagery. The video is also influenced by Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte. The numerous mirrors in the video might suggest the fractured nature of the group's relationships, but they may also just be there to look cool, which was a major element of visual style in many music videos from the early 1980s.

 The song was written by Christine McVie and Robbie Patton, who opened for FM on tour. McVie shares lead vocal duties with Buckingham, with Nicks joining on the chorus. Meanwhile, Fleetwood and John McVie engage in an archeological dig which seems to end in the enviable discovery of a lot of guitars, though I doubt all that sand is good for them. Reportedly the video shoot was an ordeal for the band members and the crew, partly because of the heat of the desert and partly because various members of the band did not want to be around each other, which is understandable given the drama between all the personnel. And yet, out of all that comes a fun video and a very catchy song.

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