Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie dead: ‘Songbird’ legend was 79

Christine McVie, vocalist and keyboardist of Fleetwood Mac, has died at age 79.

Her family broke the news on McVie’s Instagram account, writing that she died at a hospital Wednesday morning following a “short illness.”

“She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally. RIP Christine McVie,” the statement read.

Fleetwood Mac also confirmed the news in a tweet, writing: “There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life.”

“We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed,” the statement ended.

The band’s co-lead singer, Stevie Nicks, posted a handwritten note to Instagram that included lyrics to the 2020 Haim song “Hallelujah” as a salute to McVie. “I had a best friend, but she has come to pass. One I wish I could see now. You always remind me that memories will last. These arms reach out, you were there to protect me like a shield,” Nicks penned, closing it with, “See you on the other side, my love. Don’t forget me – always, Stevie.”

Born Christine Anne Perfect in England, she was first a member of the British band Chicken Shack, singing lead vocals on their UK hit “I’d Rather Go Blind” in 1967.

Two years later, she married Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and appeared on the band’s albums “Mr. Wonderful” (1968) and “Then Play On” (1969) before becoming a permanent member in 1971.

Christine McVie, 79, died Wednesday morning following a "short illness."
Christine McVie, 79, died Wednesday morning following a short illness.
Getty Images

Christine and John were divorced by the end of the band’s 1978 tour to promote “Rumours,” their Grammy-winning 11th album that included the seminal songs “Go Your Own Way” (written by Lindsey Buckingham), “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Lovin’ Fun” — the latter two written by McVie, who also wrote their 1977 hit “Songbird.”

McVie was later married to fellow keyboardist and songwriter Eddy Quintela from 1986 to 2003.

McVie was with Fleetwood Mac for 28 years, departing the group in 1998, the same year the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, she returned to the group in 2014 — despite telling The Post in 2004 that it was “not going to happen.”

During that interview, McVie said that her status in the group — even with her being one of the key songwriters — was really as a background figure.

“I sang and played keyboard, so I was virtually a statue at the back of the stage,” she told The Post. “I’m not complaining about that; I enjoyed that role. I could never have done what Stevie (Nicks) did. That wasn’t my desire. I don’t have the ability to be a diva. I can’t flaunt. I don’t have that kind of stage presence. I think of myself as just a band member.”

Of working alongside her ex-husband, McVie told Rolling Stone in June that it was less of a rocky venture than others’ inter-group relationships.

Bob Welch, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac pose for a portrait in August 1974.
Bob Welch, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac pose for a portrait in August 1974.
Michael Ochs Archives

“Well, we used to fight occasionally, but not that often. I think we sorted our differences out by then, and we actually got on really well … It was never as melodramatic as Stevie and Lindsey,” McVie said, adding that they do still keep in touch. “And right now, we don’t live in the same hemisphere. He lives in LA; I live in London. But we occasionally write to each other or phone each other … He’s been suffering with a few health problems, but he’s OK. So we talk a fair bit. He’s a good man, John.”

She also told Rolling Stone that she saw herself as the Mother Teresa of the group amidst the freewheeling drug use and romantic entanglements — ultimately as someone who tried to keep the peace and enjoyed the whirlwind.

“I don’t think I thought about it that much. I enjoyed the storm,” she said. “Even though I am quite a peaceful person, I did enjoy that storm. Although it’s said that we fought a lot, we actually did spend a lot of our time laughing. So, that must have been forgotten. Great sense of humor.”

Mike Campbell, John McVie, inductee Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac appear at the group's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.
Mike Campbell, John McVie, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac appeared together in 2019.
WireImage

In a June 2022 interview with the Guardian, she cited her time with Nicks and Buckingham as some of the most momentous — if tumultuous — for her as a group member.

“That was pretty sensational. We had our fights here and there, but there was nothing like the music or the intensity onstage,” she recalled. She also called the “Rumours” era “a blast,” adding that “it felt incredible to us that we were writing those songs.”

All in all, though, she told The Post in 2004, she had had her fill of life on the road.

“I miss the people, but I don’t miss the life. Touring, traveling and living out of suitcases – I’ve grown out of that,” declared McVie, who was the recipient of the Trailblazer Award at the UK Americana Awards in 2021.

Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac perform onstage during The Classic West at Dodger Stadium on July 16, 2017.
Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac perform onstage during the Classic West at Dodger Stadium on July 16, 2017.
Kevin Mazur

When asked about her goals for the next few years, she told Rolling Stone in June that she had one particular, now-heartbreaking goal: “Stay alive, hopefully. Well, I’ll be 80 next year. So, I’m just hoping for a few more years, and we’ll see what happens.”

In April 2022, McVie released a solo collection, “Songbird,” having released three prior solo albums: “Christine Perfect” in 1970, “Christine McVie” in 1984 and “In the Meantime” in 2004.

Not long after dropping “Songbird,” McVie was asked whether she still might make another album.

“Every once in a while, an idea might pop into my head – but by the time I have woken up the next morning, I’ve forgotten it,” she told the UK’s Uncut blog earlier this year. “I haven’t thought about making another record. The ‘Songbird’ album might be my swansong.”






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