Christine McVie’s Favorite Beatles Song Revealed
via Christine McVie - Topic / Youtube
Christine McVie, who sadly passed away in November 2022, brought a wealth of qualities to Fleetwood Mac, including grace, talent, and a soothing presence. It’s no coincidence that the band’s music became more engaging and refined after she joined.
McVie served as both a co-vocalist and keyboard player in the legendary band, and she was undeniably one of their most exceptional songwriters. Throughout her career, she crafted notable songs such as “You Make Loving Fun”, “Little Lies”, and the haunting “Songbird”.
In 2017, during her appearance on the BBC’s Desert Disc Islands, a show where participants imagine themselves stranded on a desert island and choose essential songs, McVie shared insights into the eight songs she couldn’t live without.
One of her picks was a track from one of the earlier records of The Beatles, a cover of the Chuck Berry classic “Roll Over Beethoven”, which she had played incessantly when she was around the age of 19 or 20.
McVie was once a Beatlemaniac
“My parents bought me this album for Christmas, and it was during Beatlemania. I was one of the Beatlemaniacs. I must have been about 19-20; oh, I played this record until there was nothing left of it,” the singer reminisced.
The Fab Four’s version of “Roll Over Beethoven” was included in their acclaimed second album With the Beatles. It became a 1963 landmark album and was often included in lists of ‘greatest albums’, though it was easily eclipsed by other albums the band created later in their career.
McVie fell in love with the song and the record and cherished “the melodies, the songs, the harmonies”. The iconic songwriter added, “The voices were so upfront and crystal clear. I think their use of space was so crucial.”
The other songs that McVie named in the Desert Disc Islands episode were: Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto No. 4 in F Minor”; Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame”; Fleetwood Mac’s “Man of the World”; The Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown”; The Beach Boys’ “Angel Come Home”; Ralph Vaughan Wiliams’ “The Lark Ascending”; and Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Home”.
And The Beatles were fans of the Father of Rock N’ Roll
Originally a Chuck Berry hit in 1956, “Roll Over Beethoven” found George Harrison as the lead vocalist when The Beatles included it on their second album. It became one of the three songs featuring George on lead vocals on With The Beatles, alongside “Devil In Her Heart” and his original composition “Don’t Bother Me”.
The Beatles held a deep admiration for Chuck Berry’s music, covering more of his songs between 1957 and 1966 than any other songwriter.
Initially, John Lennon sang most of The Beatles’ Chuck Berry covers, including ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ until 1961 when George Harrison took over as the lead vocalist. The song remained in their repertoire until the conclusion of their U.S. tour in September 1964.
‘Roll Over Beethoven’ served as the opening track on the second side of ‘With The Beatles,’ the band’s second UK LP, released on November 22, 1963. In the United States, it led off ‘The Beatles’ Second Album,’ which was released on April 10, 1964.
There is “no reason” to reform again after McVie’s death
In an October 2023 interview with Vulture, the band’s equally iconic lead singer Stevie Nicks found it unthinkable to continue performing as Fleetwood Mac after the death of Christine McVie, whom she considered her best friend.
“Christine was my best friend… Who am I going to look over to on the right and have them not be there behind that Hammond organ? When she died, I figured we really can’t go any further with this. There’s no reason to,” the singer said.
Nicks articulated her feelings, stating, “When Christine died, I felt like you can’t replace her.”
The “Edge of Seventeen” singer underscored McVie’s profound significance as not only her musical counterpart but also her dearest friend, with whom she spent more time than any of her other closest friends, excluding those within the Fleetwood Mac circle.
“I had no idea where I was going”
In 1967, Christine McVie unexpectedly ventured into the world of blues with the band Chicken Shack, despite her classical music upbringing.
She recalled, “I didn’t know what I was doing.” One day, a friend spotted her through the window of Dickins and Jones and, during her coffee break, approached her with an offer.
“And he said, ‘You want to join a band? We’re forming a group called Chicken Shack, we need a keyboard player,’” McVie casually described. Despite her proficiency in playing the piano, she had little familiarity with the blues genre. Nonetheless, she accepted the position.
Like any astute musician, McVie promptly immersed herself in blues records, listening to them incessantly. “I stole a few licks here and there and got myself a little library of stuff to play. That’s when I joined Chicken Shack, and god knows, I had no idea where I was going.”
Joining Fleetwood Mac and finding success
McVie’s introduction to Fleetwood Mac came about when Chicken Shack opened for them at various small venues in London. “I started talking to John, and I fell head over heels for him,” she revealed, referring to John McVie, her former spouse and bandmate.
Due to conflicting schedules, McVie eventually chose to depart from Chicken Shack and temporarily embraced domestic life. Her entry into Fleetwood Mac occurred when original member Peter Green, while in Germany, “took a tab of acid, and kind of never came back”. When McVie joined the band, Fleetwood Mac embarked on a new musical direction, and their trajectory soared.
In 1974, Fleetwood Mac journeyed to the United States, where they encountered Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, completing their lineup. At that time, Mick Fleetwood had informed McVie that their inclusion in the group would ultimately depend on her ability to get along with Stevie Nicks, as McVie had been the sole woman in the band up to that point.
Fortunately, their chemistry was readily apparent. McVie recalled, “I just thought she was charming and funny. I just remember her sense of humor, which she still has to this day, and I adore her. Plus, Lindsey was the god, he was such a good-looking guy, and then the chemistry flowed from there.”