The Story Of “Go Your Own Way” By Fleetwood Mac
One Of The Most Popular Breakup Songs
It’s no secret that Fleetwood Mac’s magnum opus “Rumours” was a product of personal issues and relationship troubles among the band members. Its first single “Go Your Own Way” was written by Lindsey Buckingham at a time when he and Stevie Nicks already severed their romantic ties. He worked on it in between the shows for their 1976 Fleetwood Mac Tour.
While staying at a rented house in Florida, he started with the chord progression before coming up with the opening line “Loving you isn’t the right thing to do.” He and Nicks already broke up but they were still on speaking terms. They were far from being friendly with each other though because most of their conversations ended up in arguments and screaming matches.
Buckingham stated, “I was completely devastated when she took off. And yet I had to make hits for her. I had to do a lot of things for her that I really didn’t want to do. And yet I did them. So on one level I was a complete professional in rising above that, but there was a lot of pent-up frustration and anger towards Stevie in me for many years.”
Nicks was aware that it was “a message within a song” and she obviously didn’t like it. She told Rolling Stone, “I very much resented him telling the world that ‘packing up, shacking up’ with different men was all I wanted to do. He knew it wasn’t true. It was just an angry thing that he said. Every time those words would come onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him. He knew it, so he really pushed my buttons through that. It was like, ‘I’ll make you suffer for leaving me.’ And I did.”
Buckingham found inspiration from The Rolling Stones’ 1968 song “Street Fighting Man.” He knew what he wanted the drums to sound like and so he supervised Mick Fleetwood behind the kit. Producer Ken Caillat recalled, “He’d [Buckingham] be so animated, like a little kid, playing these air tom fills with his curly hair flying. Mick wasn’t so sure he could do what Lindsey wanted, but he did a great job, and the song took off.”
Although it only peaked at #10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, it was a hit in several countries. It also became one of the band’s most enduring songs.