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Don't Stop

Lyrics Guitar Tabs MIDI Real Audio

Written by Christine McVie.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Jessica Morgan, Becky, Ali, BN, Villavic, Rhiannon, Stacey A, Stephanie M, and Lauren.


"Don't Stop was written not for Bill Clinton, but for John McVie, " Mick Fleetwood noted, laughing. Don't Stop was the third single from Fleetwood Mac's phenomenal Rumours album, and most certainly helped fuel the fire that was Fleetwood Mac in the 1970s. It is an unusual Fleetwood Mac song, in that it is in 6/8 time (shuffle rhythm). It cycles as the harmonic turnaround at the end of each verse or chorus leads into the next verse or chorus. It is one of Fleetwood Mac's most upbeat and optimistic tunes.

Don't Stop was written during the recording of the Rumours album in 1976 around the time that John and Christine McVie were breaking up. It was one of the classic breaking up songs from an album that also included Dreams and Go Your Own Way, Stevie Nicks' and Lindsey Buckingham's messages to one another. Christine knew the best way she could communicate with John was through music, so she wrote the song as a message to him. Christine said at that time that she still had a lot of love for John. She knew things were over between them, but she wanted the best for him. Perhaps she was referring to John's drinking problems and problems in the studio, getting "blocked." So, maybe she is telling John that it will pass and the next time he plays it will be better. It is also a general message of universal optimism for people to hold onto, including the rest of the band. She might mean that the days when sales were low and the members were leaving are over, and the new lineup and album was going to be much better than that.

It cannot go without mention that, in 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton used Don't Stop as his campaign theme song. This was flattering to the band, especially Christine McVie, as she wrote it. She did mention that the song had an entirely different meaning for her than the meaning Clinton intended by it. When Clinton won the election, it did a favor for Fleetwood Mac fans by generating a reunion of sorts. The band's most popular lineup of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham performed Don't Stop together at the inaugural gala in January 1993. These five people had not performed together live in ten years. This likely did much to bridge the gap that had formed since 1987, when Lindsey Buckingham chose not to participate in the Shake the Cage tour to support the Tango in the Night album, and in 1992 when Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie chose no longer to tour with Fleetwood Mac, though Christine would continue to record with them.

If you wake up and don't want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You'll see things in a different way.

This is a general message to anyone who might hear the song to try to change their outlook. If they are depressed, just be patient, it will get better. It is probably also directed at the other members of the band. Since they were all having such a difficult time while they were making Rumours, she wanted to give them hope that soon everything would improve soon. She is talking to John, too. He was very sad at their parting of the ways, and she telling him that it might take a while, but he would get over it and go on to an even better future. This could be referring to John's problems with alcohol, saying that if he wakes up feeling bad or hung-over, it will pass as the day goes on. It's a positive statement. Take each day as it comes; give it a new start. She is reminding John (and all others) that even if you are successful, you can't be happy every day. So, you need to count your blessings rather than dwell on the past.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don't stop, it'll soon be here,
It'll be, better than before,
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.

This chorus repeats after each verse, and it is the central message of the song. Things could look pretty bad today, but tomorrow you'll have a new perspective. Christine was knew she was going to leave John for good by the point this song was written, but she wanted him to look toward the future. What happened between them in the past was over, and there was no going back to change it. But, the future would be better because they would be friends. That was an improvement over fighting. Christine had already moved on, and she wanted John to do the same, because he is a big part of Fleetwood Mac, and they needed him to keep on going. Once again, we see a statement to the general public not to dwell on the past, because it is gone. Instead, hope for a brighter tomorrow. Time flies quickly, so live each day as it comes, and make the best of it.

Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you've done,
If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.

This is a part of the song clearly aimed at John. He had obviously made some mistakes in his life, and in their relationship. Some of these mistakes had probably lead to their separation. She wants him to know she has forgiven him for those things. It was bad that they can't stay together, but there are still good time to be had for John. It won't stay this way forever. He doesn't need to wallow in self-pity about their breakup and what he did to cause it. He can forgive himself and be happy. Also, to anyone who hears the song, the same thing. We've all made mistakes, but learn from them, don't dwell on them. The future can be great.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don't stop, it'll soon be here,
It'll be, better than before,
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.

The chorus repeats here, restating the main theme of the entire song: Look to tomorrow if today is bad. Things can only get better.

All I want is to see you smile,
If it takes just a little while,
I know you don't believe that it's true,
I never meant any harm to you.

This shows Chris still feels for John. And, she wants the other members of the band to be happy too. It has been a long time since she has seen them all smiling and enjoying themselves. The tension and pain they all are experiencing while making Rumours will be over eventually, and hopefully when it is, they will all enjoy one another's company once again. "I know you don't believe that it's true, I never meant any harm to you." This line is probably written mostly to John. She is saying that, although it seems difficult to understand, she is divorcing John not to hurt him, but because it is best for both of them.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don't stop, it'll soon be here,
It'll be, better than before,
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.

The chorus repeats again, one more time driving home the message of hope that anyone can identify with.

Don't you look back,
Don't you look back.

Don't look back at the past, look to the future, because that is where your life is headed.

Don't Stop is one of the Fleetwood Mac classics. If you stopped a random people in a supermarket or shopping mall and asked them to name a Fleetwood Mac song, it would be highly likely they would frequently cite Don't Stop. It also seems to be a popular song among all Fleetwood Mac members and one that they enjoy performing live. It can be considered a different type of love song, sort of a good-bye letter in song or a tune of inspiration for all people. Either way, it is still popular today among Fleetwood Mac fans and radio listeners alike.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

Copyright 1995-2001, Martin and Lisa Adelson
All Rights Reserved.