March 31 2017, 12:01am,
Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 masterpiece, Rumours, is remembered as the ultimate cocaine album, but the warring superstar rockers saved the real excesses for ten years later. Tango in the Night is the last word in sophisticated, expensively produced soft rock, with such FM radio classics as Christine McVie’s Everywhere and Lindsey Buckingham’s Big Love sounding as if they were made for driving your Ferrari down Sunset Strip to.
The songs were, however, born of total chaos. The bassist John McVie was drinking himself into a stupor; Stevie Nicks, busy swapping cocaine for the damaging tranquilliser Klonopin, while also building up her now successful solo career, rarely turned up at the studio. The whole thing came to an end when guitarist Buckingham announced he was leaving the band, reportedly leading to an ugly physical confrontation between him and his former girlfriend Nicks.
All these years later the album seems less like a soundtrack to a designer lifestyle and more a portrait of collapse. Nicks’s little-girl-gone-to-seed croak on the ballad When I See You Again is heartbreaking, and the evergreen synthesizer pop of McVie’s Little Lies smoothes over words about refusing to face up to reality, something the band members appear to have been quite good at.
On this three-disc set not all of the alternative versions are strictly necessary, and Buckingham’s comedy voices on Family Man are as dated as a piano necktie, but for the most part the quintessential Eighties album has ended up being far more profound and enduring than anyone could have predicted. (Warner Bros)