To The Gypsies That Remain
John McVie started the year by returning to his roots. His old boss, John Mayall, recruited him and fellow former-bandmates Mick Taylor and Colin Allen for a Bluesbreakers reunion tour. The tour commenced in January in the San Francisco area and then continued in Australia before returning to the US. They played the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey along with Blues legends like Albert King, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. This performance was videotaped, and eventually released on videocassette as Blues Alive. Additional shows, this time in Washington, D.C., were recorded (audio only) and released years later--Mayall was between labels at the time of the tour--as 1982 Reunion Concert.
Meanwhile, ex-Bluesbreaker Rick Vito appeared on Bonnie Raitt's album Green Light in January, guesting on guitar on four tracks including the excellent "Keep This Heart In Mind" (which also features his new employer, Jackson Browne, on vocals). The two also appeared on Browne-cronie Greg Copeland's Revenge Will Come. Vito's first recorded work with Jackson Browne himself came out in June, the track "Somebody's Baby" from the soundtrack to that summer's smash teen-comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Thanks to the success of the film and soundtrack album, Browne had the biggest hit of his career...with "Somebody's Baby" going as far as Number 7 on the Billboard charts.
Another song from that soundtrack album, which came out in August, was Stevie's shimmering anthem "Sleeping Angel", which should've been released as a single in its own right. It was eventually rereleased in 1991 as a B-side and then finally on Stevie's box-set CD collection in 1998.
The LP that emerged from lengthy Fleetwood Mac sessions (begun in mid-1981) came out in the last week of June 1982. Mirage roared up the charts and stayed five weeks at the Number One spot, while peaking at Number 5 in the UK. A mellower affair than any of their previous albums, Mirage is primarily collection of ballads and slower-tempo tracks. Yet the absence of uptempo rockers (a la "Go Your Own Way" or "Monday Morning") does not mean that the album is in any way lackluster. Indeed, some of the band's most memorable songs ("Hold Me" and "Gypsy", to name but two) appear here. Perhaps it indicates a more contented, matured state of mind of all three songwriters, as compared to the frenzied years of the late '70s.
Spearheaded by the music video, the lead single, Christine's "Hold Me" rocketed up the charts, holding onto the #4 slot for seven weeks. The video was an elaborate affair, with the band playing at being a team of archaeologists "discovering" musical instruments in the desert. Hot on the heels came Stevie's showpiece, "Gypsy", which was also accompanied by an expensive video production, complete with gauzy, lacy backdrops, rainfall, and dancing children. The B-side is a non-album track, Bob Nolan's old cowboy song "Cool Water", featuring for the first time ever on record the vocal stylings of John Graham McVie! It scored the #12, and Chris's followup, the cheerful "Love In Store" made #22. A late entry in the singles race, Buckingham's "Oh Diane" did not chart in the US at all, but ironically was the only single that DID chart in the UK, going as high as #9. It was released in both the usual black-vinyl single format, and also as an EP (coupled with studio tracks "The Chain" and "Rhiannon") in both black vinyl and as a picture disc! However, a further UK single, "Can't Go Back" (which was released the following April) did not share that success.
While the band did go on the road in support of Mirage, they avoided recreating the massive year-long Tusk tour by limiting the dates to the US only, and only during the months of September and October 1982. The highlights were released on videocassette in 1984 as Fleetwood Mac In Concert: Mirage Tour 1982. It's a straight performance piece, with thirteen (of the twenty-two tracks typically performed) full-length songs, in contrast to the previous official video release.
Peter Green's new disc (which had been recorded over a year before), White Sky, came out in June in Britain, and in Canada in the Fall, but like every album after Little Dreamer, it did not achieve US release. The record is worth a listen, but one gets to feeling that Peter was starting to unravel a bit during the proceedings. He does not contribute any songs whatever (that duty is now the exclusive province of his brother Michael), and arguably the best track on the album is not even sung by Peter (again, Michael is filling in)! Peter, however, is featured on the embarassing "The Clown", which was selected to be the single. A pale shadow of "Man of the World", the track is tellingly indicative of Green's feelings about how his audience saw the man and being manipulated by all around him. The strange part is that this was also written by his brother!
Other session work by the various members of the band followed the usual pattern: Stevie and Christine appeared on Robbie Patton's second album Orders from Headquarters, on the tracks "Smiling Islands" (which got to #52 in the Billboard charts) and "Look Away", respectively. Lindsey appeared on Linda Ronstadt's album Get Closer, playing accordion on "Talk to Me of Mendocino" and singing on John Stewart's "Jenny was a Dream Girl" on his album Blondes. Future Mac Billy Burnette appeared on his cousin Rocky's album Heart Stopper, yet nearly all the tracks on that album also appeared on the 1980 album Rocky Burnette! He also guested on Michael Smotherman's self-titled album.
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