The Heartbreaking Inspiration Behind Fleetwood Mac's “Go Your Own Way”

Break-ups are hard. But imagine breaking up with someone and then being forced to spend every day with them working on music that was written about your break-up! Sounds torturous, right? Well, yes — and this was the exact scenario faced by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac during the making of “Go Your Own Way” from their classic album Rumours. Unfortunately, mining such painful emotions may have created an unfixable rift between the former lovers.

The meet cute

Nicks and Buckingham met in a California high school in the late ’60s when Buckingham asked her to join his rock band Fritz, which needed a singer. By the time Fritz broke up and the duo decided they would head out to L.A. to seek fame and fortune, they were a couple.

Not only that, but according to Nicks’ biographer Stephen Davis, they were a “sexy, star-bound couple.” Apparently, they had “an aura about them, a radiance.”

Chasing success and joining Fleetwood Mac

The pair first tried to find success as a folksy double act known as Buckingham Nicks, and they even released an album under that name in 1973. It failed to make an impression, though, and the struggling musicians found themselves released by their record label.

By the end of ’74, though, the duo would join established British-American group Fleetwood Mac — and help them reach heights previously unheard of.

A pressure to follow up success

Those heights included “Go Your Own Way,” the creation of which Buckingham broke down during an appearance on the podcast Song Exploder. The first album with Buckingham and Nicks as part of the band — 1975’s self-titled Fleetwood Mac — had been a big success.

The couple knew they had to follow this up with something great, though. So, they wanted to start work as soon as their tour wrapped up.

“Go Your Own Way” was first out of the gate

Buckingham revealed, “We had this idea to take a break from the road, and to rent a house for like a week or so in Florida and start working on some material for the album we know we’re going to have to start in a few months.”

He added, “The very first thing that got presented was ‘Go Your Own Way.’ That was the first song that I wrote for the album that would become Rumours.”