“Go Your Own Way” is considered to be British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac’s most well-known song, written solely by Lindsey Buckingham about his relationship with fellow bandmate, Stevie Nicks.
According to the podcast “Song Exploder”, Buckingham wrote “Go Your Own Way” for the Rumours album, and it ended up being one of the first songs on the album, the melody stemming from a simple jam session from Buckingham and his electric guitar. In the time that this track was written, all five members of Fleetwood Mac had broken relationships; Christine McVie and John McVie divorces, Mick Fleetwood divorced from his wife for the second time, and of course, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham ended their relationship. In several interviews, Mick Fleetwood has spoken about how despite Nicks and Buckingham being on speaking terms, their conversations would soon turn into arguments with screaming and yelling, and described the house they were all living in as having a “distinctly bad vibe to it, as if it were haunted, which did nothing to help matters…”. As with many other songs on the “Rumours” album, the track is about the personal strain in the relationships between the band members. “Go Your Own Way” was Buckingham’s response to him and Nicks breakup, whom he had known since they were 16, according to CNN. Buckingham had publicly stated his difficultly with the breakup and also having to work with Nicks in a professional environment: “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.”
However, in the second verse, Buckingham uses the lyric: “Packing up, shacking up’s all you wanna do”, which angered Nicks who asked Buckingham to remove the lyrics from the final version of the song. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nicks explained her feelings regarding the lyric: “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.”
The official music video for “Go Your Own Way” was uploaded to the Fleetwood Mac YouTube channel on the 27th September 2018, and features the band singing the song live, however it is not specified where the performance is. The video has a mere 651 thousand views with 365 million streams on Spotify.
Release Date: December 1976
Songwriter: Lindsey Buckingham
Producer/s: Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut & Ken Calliat
Label: Warner Bros.
Music Video Release Date: 27th September 2018
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Accolades: “Go Your Own Way” performed extremely well on the charts within a year of its release, reaching #20 in Australia, #1 in Belgium, #11 & #43 on various Canadian charts; #11 in Germany, #1 in the Netherlands, #23 in New Zealand, #4 in South Africa, #38 in the UK, and #10 and #45 on different US charts. The track is certified Platinum in the UK, and has received various accolades, ranking #120 on the Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, as well as being on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” list. Rolling Stone has also ranked the track Fleetwood Mac’s greatest song.
The lyrics to “Go Your Own Way” can be viewed here: LINK
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