In October of 1979, Fleetwood Mac unleashed Tusk on the world … and the world did not react favorably. This was, after all, their follow-up to 1977’s Rumours album, which has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide and spawned numerous Top 40 hits. This was also the band whose alcoholism, drug abuse and infidelity led to implosions in their interpersonal relationships during the Rumours recording sessions.
By 1979, each band member had gone their own way. The three vocalists, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, were so wrapped up in their personal songwriting that bassist John McVie was reported to have said Tusk was like listening to “the work of three solo artists.”
Tusk was a double-LP comprised of 20 songs (Oct.17 is often cited as its official release date in the US, but you can find dates ranging from Oct. 6 to Oct. 26). The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard album chart. Two songs from the collection became Top Ten singles, the title track (written by Lindsey Buckingham) and “Sara” (written by Stevie Nicks). Oddly enough, CD releases of Tusk only offer the four-minute single version of “Sara” — the song’s full-length “album version” can be found on the 1988 Greatest Hits CD.
Despite the critics’ complaints about the album’s lack of cohesive sound and feel, I like a lot of the music on Tusk. Buckingham’s “Walk a Thin Line” may be my favorite track. The beauty of its arrangement, its harmonies and instrumentation, allow me to overlook the band’s imperfections. https://youtu.be/f9DKVtqWTKU