Fleetwood Mac touring this summer with their hit Rhiannon about a witch

Dave Masko's picture

It’s considered one of the great rock songs of all time, so it’s no wonder that Fleetwood Mac’s haunting song “Rhiannon” – about a witch – is a standout on the newly re-mastered first album featuring Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

One of the most successful periods in the long history of the British-American rock band “Fleetwood Mac” was some 40 years ago when Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band and sang the haunting “Rhiannon.” In turn, fans of Stevie Nicks’ hit song “Rhiannon,” can expect to see all the band mates together again during this summer’s super concert tour, featuring Mick Fleetwood on drums, Christine McVie on keyboards, John McVie on bass, Lindsey Buckingham on lead guitar and Stevie Nicks on vocals. It was last May, that Rolling Stone magazine reported Nicks announcing that Fleetwood Mac would go out on tour again in 2012; while also talking about a possible new album. As for Nicks’ song “Rhiannon,” a newly released re-mastered CD of the first modern album, simply titled “Fleetwood Mac,” includes liner notes that reveal where this haunting song came from, and why it’s still considered one of the “signature” tunes for any Fleetwood Mac concert.

Also, Nicks was recently quoted by British media stating: “Fleetwood Mac will gather again and we’ll either make another record or we won’t and we’ll just go on tour.” In turn, no details have been released by the band about summer tour dates as of this reporting.

Rhiannon is about a witch

According to the CD notes in the re-mastered “Fleetwood Mac” CD, the classic Stevie Nicks song “Rhiannon,” is an “intoxicating piece that would become identified with Nicks and the band like no other.”

This never before released explanation of the song Rhiannon also reveals who the tune is “derived from Welsh mythology about a good witch and the birds that bore away her pain.”

Rhiannon by Stevie Nicks

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn't you love to love her?
Takes through the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover?

All your life you've never seen a woman
Taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you Heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark
And then she is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark
And when the sky is starless

All your life you've never seen a woman
Taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you Heaven?
Will you ever win? Will you ever win?

Rhiannon… “

Remembering Rhiannon & looking forward to its 2012 edition

The haunting song “Rhiannon” was written by Stevie Nicks and originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac on their self-titled album from 1975 that’s recently been re-mastered in a special edition CD with bonus material that includes a much longer version of “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win),” that was voted in the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine.

In turn, the song is always referred to as simply "Rhiannon" on Fleetwood Mac albums. The suffixed title "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)" was only used on singles in certain foreign releases’ prompting fans who hear the song in England or Japan to remark, “is that the same Rhiannon?”

While Fleetwood Mac fans are already lining up for tickets to the forthcoming return of the band in concert this summer, there’s no doubt that new live versions of Rhiannon will include Nicks saying, “This is a song about an old Welsh witch.”

Fans may also remember that during the band’s heyday, between 1975 and 1980, Fleetwood Mac’s live performances of Rhiannon were said to take on a “theatrical intensity” with the song building to a climax in which Nicks’ vocals were only matched by her twirling on stage in a sort of trance state where Nicks herself once told Rolling Stone that she was “connecting to the spirit of Rhiannon that the audience also felt.”

Also, there’s a Rolling Stone concert review that states how the song built to a climax in which Nicks' vocals were so impassioned that, as drummer and band co-founder Mick Fleetwood said, "her Rhiannon in those days was like an exorcism."

Rhiannon’s muse was an old legend

Nicks said in a Rolling Stone interview that she discovered Rhiannon through a novel called “Triad,” by Mary Leader. The novel is about a woman named Branwen, who is possessed by another woman named Rhiannon. Also, there’s mention of the Welsh legend of “Rhiannon” in this novel, but its author noted how the characters in her novel bear little resemblance to their Welsh namesakes: Both Rhiannon and Branwen who are legendary female heroes in Medieval Welsh legends.

In turn, Nicks said she bought the novel in an airport just before a long flight and thought the name was so pretty that she wanted to write something about a girl named Rhiannon. She wrote "Rhiannon" in 1974, three months before joining Fleetwood Mac, and has claimed that it took 10 minutes to write.

After writing the song, Nicks learned that Rhiannon originated from a Welsh goddess, and was amazed that the haunting song lyrics applied to the Welsh Rhiannon as well. Nicks researched the Mabinogion story and began work on a Rhiannon project, unsure of whether it would become a movie, a musical, a cartoon, or a ballet.

Nicks counters “witch” claims, still

Also, it’s know to Fleetwood Mac fans that Nicks even avoided wearing black clothing for "about two years" in an effort to distance herself from the witchcraft and dark arts associations surrounding her as a result of the lyrics to "Rhiannon" giving fans the wrong impression.

In addition, no successful Fleetwood Mac tour as ever not included Rhiannon in some form or another; with the final tour of “Mac” featuring “Rhiannon” as the song to end their show.

In turn, fans told Rolling Stone that they expect Fleetwood Mac to play the band’s haunting hit, “Rhiannon,” and they can’t wait for “Stevie to spin across the stage while singing Rhiannon.”

Image source of the “Fleetwood Mac” band line-up from 1992 – some 20 years ago - when Mick Fleetwood said “we stopped as a band.” However, the Fleetwood Mac has said “we’re back,” and is set to tour this summer. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleetwood_Mac

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