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The Chain Never Lasts Forever


For those of us of a certain age, and usually with a UK back-story, Fleetwood Mac and their iconic track The Chain, from the planet moving album Rumours released in February 1977, shall for all time be the F1 theme tune.

Three minutes and five seconds into what until then has been mostly a Fleetwood Mac-style medium pace ballad explodes. Firstly, John McVie kicks off one of the most memorable bass lines of the past one hundred years. Some seconds later Lindsey Buckingham kicks in the lead guitar before, about one minute into the break, the rest of the band, including Christine McVie, crank it up for the glorious finale.

The Chain was actually made up from a number of different projects members of the band had been working on, including Stevie Nicks and Buckingham before they even joined Fleetwood Mac, and as a result it is one of the few tracks on which all five band members are given song-writing credit.

So it was from around 1978 until 1996, that the BBC used this segment of a remarkable tune as the introduction to F1 each race weekend.

Now here we are. December 2022, and on 30th November 2022, at the age of 79 Christine McVie shrugged off this mortal coil and joined, one is safe to assume, the choir immortal.

While she appeared throughout the The Chain she was not directly involved in the segment of it used by F1, yet it was still her track.

Keyboards, backing vocals, artistic input. What merit a life?

George Harrison slept at the McLaren factory while his McLaren F1 road car, the original designed by Gordon Murray, and powered by a naturally aspirated BMW engine, was being built. Focus and passion know only one way to move forward.

Mick Schumacher is named after Mick Doohan, a good friend to Michael. Daniel Ricciardo comes from a proud Italian blood line which knows what both hard work and focus look like. They are both in danger of having careers which flutter in and out of public awareness while Fleetwood Mac fly onward, ever driven by artistic mania and robust recall of very fine days.

Fleetwood Mac was formed in London in 1967. It must be said that the UK public obviously had a pre-Spice Girl love of differing music styles, as their very blues based track Albatross, an instrumental, became a UK number one in November 1968. Methinks that would not happen today. No. Really. Not. At this early stage both John McVie and Mick Fleetwood were already band members, but this particular track was written by lead guitarist (at the time) Peter Green.

Peter Green - whose life had effectively been destroyed by a couple of German drug pushers Fleetwood would still very much like to meet up with - left, life happened, and we arrive at the 1977 line-up of Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitars), Stevie Nicks (lead vocals, tambourine and hand claps), Christine McVie (Vocals, organs, keyboards, and a whole pile of 1970's keyboard stuff), John McVie (bass guitar) and Mick Fleetwood (drums, plus a pile of percussion that would make Neil Peart and Stuart Copeland blush).

After the self-titled (eponymous for the sophisticated among us...) Fleetwood Mac album came Rumours. Quite simply, if at this time you were over the age of ten and under the age of thirty, and did not own this album you had a social relationship problem.

So it was with mild surprise that the BBC (God bless Auntie...) elected to use that massive bass riff starting at three minutes and five seconds into a track buried on side two of a very blues infused, alternate album by a bunch of ah, chemical inspired hippies, was selected as an F1 theme tune.

Dang did that choice work!


Dear reader, because pure, I survive or I die, human spirit when unleashed knows a kindred spirit.

Mick Fleetwood and his gang of intense musicians knew what it took to register on the public radar. So did the BBC producer who elected to use their tune. Animal passion I know thee, for I am thee.

Mick is on record as saying he is missing "a few years", and Stevie Nicks, likewise, says "do not take the drugs they recommend to get you off the drugs... just stop taking everything."

Elite performance in any field; music, sport, performing art, visual art, (heck curse me...) politics, all take a remarkable ability to retain focus, pile in everything you have, and ignore the doubters.

I've just reset my floor standing speakers on English precision engineered disks that allow the speakers to stand on our natural wooden floor without causing damage. My Lord! The precision, spatial depth, stereo sound stage, all have returned to a level which makes me want to reach for my top 500 CDs and LPs and relive them all! Personal disclaimer, it's taken me eight years to do this having moved house, and that is seven years and eleven months too long, my bad...

So Christine has passed along. As I type this I'm playing Rumours from the CD not streaming. I also own it on LP but my record deck needs a major service, not least the replacement of a broken audio technics stylus (thanks oldest child...) before I'm back to LP playing, which much to my significant amusement is back in as a real thing these days! Young Folk (which these days for me is anyone under 50, but I'm specifically thinking under 35 in this case...) are back in love with analogue audio!

Imagine if that love of analogue audio were to transmute into a love of analogue motoring technology... you know... V10 engines, and all that. But no, the motoring future is electric.

I've been a lover of steam puck from way back. Long before Bio-Shock made it a mini-mainstream thing. The Cyber-Punk anthology Mirror Shades came out way back in 1986. Which let's be honest is now not only so last century, but also 36 years ago. Ouch. Then people feel that K. W. Jeter coined the term "Steam Punk" in 1987, to highlight UK style Victorian (19th century) stuff, infused with modern stuff.

If the FIA had an artist in residence rather than a phalanx of hamster wheel running engineers and spreadsheet obsessed accountants, we might actually see the unbelievable production of beauty.

Christine and the Fleetwood gang produced so, so many moments of art that transcended the every day. Yet she dies. Yet those of us left remember. That is the circle of life. Lived loud, proud, and excited! Or combine nothing, upset nothing, question nothing. And arrive at your final day as a true Job's Worth. You are gone, and your meaningless spreadsheets die with you. No one's hero. No one's musical muse. No one's leading light. No one's love of fifty lifetimes.

As AC/DC so perfectly stated; "For those about to rock. We salute you."

So many dead and our only future story is to join them. Let us not go gently to that endless winter night.

Christine, I've no idea if a single F1 driver will be at your grave side, yet they, along with all the fans of that era, owe you a debt of artistic brilliance.

You did not go gently into that endless winter night. May we have the courage to follow your example.

A true F1 legend which I'm not sure Liberty Media have the insight, or artistic grace to acknowledge. You know. Max Moseley would have been at your funeral. Oh, I just checked the ether, and he is already waiting for you, grave side with a most wonderful wreath of laurel and lily. It looks beautiful. Just like the past as I recall it. Oh look! There is Fangio, and Moss. Oh my, this is going to be a beautiful day. Your afterlife welcome is going to be simply perfect. My on-going thanks on behalf of the still living. God's speed Christine.

Max Noble

Learn more about Max and check out his previous features, here



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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 28/12/2022 13:32

"Wonderfully evocative piece.
I never saw the Fleetwoods live, but did see Chicken Shack,which at the Windsor Blues Festival sometime in the mid 1960's. I think that lineup included Christine Perfect (if you can remember it you weren't really there etc.).
Whilst thinking about this piece I found myself remembering "hurtling" around Surrey on my Honda 50 wearing my dad's old RAF Greatcoat often clutching an armful of Chicken Shack, John Mayall & assorted 60's "Legends'" LPs.... Music is probably the most evocative of art forms.

I too have installed the round floor protecting blobs to appease SWMBO and avoid my heavy floor-standing speakers making holes in our wood floors. Although I much prefer using my HiFi system to listen to music I get a thrill however the music is played.....


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2. Posted by Max Noble, 21/12/2022 7:27

"@ClarkwasGod… Ah! Sweet simple days of Galaxy warping humour… :-)"

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3. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 20/12/2022 17:38



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4. Posted by Max Noble, 20/12/2022 12:18

"@ClarkwasGod - sweet simple times… What an honour to see that line up. Yup, she was the Yoko Ono, or the Linda McCartney for this band. Funny how people can unleash forces which have profound impacts. How many times could Sir Jackie have died on a race track? 5,000 times. 6,000 times…? Yet that is not how the day went. He, and his *seriously* tartan trousers are still with us. Life! Mr D. Adams where are you now…?"

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5. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 19/12/2022 13:10

"Saw them at a small club right when Albatross was Nr. 1. You never know, at the time, just how good something is, until it disappears, or, in this case transforms into a more mainstream band. Always loved Peter Green's playing, and went to see him more recently with his Splinter group - even with his prodigious powers diminished, he was still able to totally upstage John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. As for Christine McVie, we were not, at the time, so well-disposed to Christine Perfect, as she was then, as she seemed to be the "beginning of the end" of the band as they were (and as I still prefer). However.....that part of The Chain - just "right" (and thank goodness F1 didn't/couldn't use it."

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6. Posted by Chester, 17/12/2022 16:12

"Ohhh.... wow... tears in my eyes... what a write up. Thank you, Max. Ohhh..."

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7. Posted by stihlbait, 16/12/2022 20:06

"Every word so true, music is so evocative, just like the sound track of Formula one engines at 20,000 rpm. "

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8. Posted by Editor, 16/12/2022 12:35

"And with perfect timing, BBC 4 is showing three programmes about the band on Saturday (17 December)"

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9. Posted by ancient70!, 16/12/2022 11:54

"Brilliant piece Max, how is it that a piece of music can just send you, even if you cant understand a word or know what is about, yet it totally enthrals you! Fleetwood Mac surely qualify as pretty special! Oh I must confess I have also sinned! Moved house 5 years ago and have not replaced my floor standing speaker spikes and wooden floor protecting cups. Shame on me!"

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10. Posted by Max Noble, 16/12/2022 11:53

"@All - so glad it is stirring positive memories. My thanks for constructive feedback."

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11. Posted by Wokingchap, 16/12/2022 10:44

"Thoroughly enjoyed this, thankyou Max. I played a few gigs sharing headline with FM in the early 70s on the UK circuit... always a pleasure, and my first pro guitar...a 59 Les Paul Junior... belonged to Peter Green, but I suspect everyone who sold one in those days said it belonged to PG.
George Harrison must have had a good reason to sleep at the McLaren hq, he lived in Esher just a few miles away.
Rip George and Christine."

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12. Posted by Greg, 16/12/2022 10:42

"@Max. Long time fan of Fleetwood Mac from the early days with Peter Green and as she was Christine Perfect. I think I have nearly all their albums from the 60's onwards. Truly a great band. "

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13. Posted by @R1Racing71, 16/12/2022 8:12

"Nice piece, I enjoyed that. Here we are on an F1 website discussing Fleedwood Mac, such is the power of the band.
I too went to see FM at the NEC a few years back with the full line up - an absolute force of nature they were."

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14. Posted by KKK, 15/12/2022 22:44

"I went to Wembley arena in 1988 to see Fleetwood Mac and I bacame an ardent fan ever since. I was left breathless, The sight of Mick Fleetwood playing his "body" drum will stay with me forever. What a band !"

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15. Posted by RomeoPapaKilo, 15/12/2022 18:46

"What a wonderful piece of writing. Thank you. A lump in my throat....."

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