Open main menu

Tusk is the 12th studio album by British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, released as a double album on 12 October 1979.[3] It is considered more experimental than their previous albums: partly a consequence of Lindsey Buckingham's sparser songwriting arrangements and the influence of post-punk.[4] The production costs were estimated to be over $1 million (equivalent to $3.45 million in 2018), making it the most expensive rock album recorded to that date.[5]

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk.png
Studio album by
Released12 October 1979
StudioThe Village Recorder, Los Angeles, California, Lindsey Buckingham's home
LabelWarner Bros.
Fleetwood Mac chronology
Singles from Tusk
  1. "Tusk"
    Released: September 1979
  2. "Sara"
    Released: December 1979
  3. "Not That Funny"
    Released: February 1980 (UK)
  4. "Think About Me"
    Released: March 1980
  5. "Sisters of the Moon"
    Released: June 1980 (USA)
  6. "Angel"
    Released: July 1980 (NL)

The band embarked on a nine-month tour to promote Tusk. They travelled extensively across the world, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. In Germany, they shared the bill with Bob Marley. On this world tour, the band recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album released in 1980.[6]

Compared to 1977's Rumours, which sold 10 million copies by February 1978, Tusk was regarded as a commercial failure by the label, selling four million copies. It has since been recognized for its influence on various artists and genres.[7][further explanation needed] In 2013, NME ranked Tusk at number 445 in their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[8] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[9]



Going into Tusk, Lindsey Buckingham was adamant about creating an album that sounded nothing like Rumours: "For me, being sort of the culprit behind that particular album, it was done in a way to undermine just sort of following the formula of doing Rumours 2 and Rumours 3, which is kind of the business model Warner Bros. would have liked us to follow."[10] Mick Fleetwood decided early on that Tusk was to be a double album. After their label turned down Fleetwood's offer of buying a new studio to make the record, the band used some of their royalties to construct their own Studio D.[11]

After the studio was built, Buckingham inquired Fleetwood about recording some songs at his home studio. Fleetwood acquiesced, but told Buckingham that the other members needed to be integrated at some point. Fleetwood would overdub his own drums over Buckingham's snare-drum track, which he sometimes played on a Kleenex box.[12] Despite this, three tracks were recorded solely by Buckingham: "The Ledge", "Save Me a Place", and "That's Enough For Me".[13] Producer Ken Caillat commented on Buckingham's obsessive nature in the studio: "He was a maniac. The first day, I set the studio up as usual. Then he said, 'Turn every knob 180 degrees from where it is now and see what happens.' He'd tape microphones to the studio floor and get into a sort of push-up position to sing. Early on, he came in and he'd freaked out in the shower and cut off all his hair with nail scissors. He was stressed."[14]

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Warner Bros. put that on in their boardroom and listened to it for the first time.[15]

Lindsey Buckingham

Buckingham – infatuated with bands such as Talking Heads – was "desperate to make Mac relevant to a post-punk world", according to music journalist Bob Stanley, who commented that, compared to Rumours, Tusk was "unleavened weirdness, as close to its predecessor as the Beach Boys' lo-fi Smiley Smile had been to Pet Sounds. Much of it sounded clattery, half-formed, with strange rhythmic leaps and offbeat tics."[16] Journalist Adam Webb described the Tusk recording sessions as a "cocaine blizzard" that Christine McVie's then-boyfriend, Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson, "never really came out [from]."[17] Music historian Domenic Priore claimed that, for research purposes during the album's recording, Buckingham accessed the master tapes for the Beach Boys' unreleased album Smile, and that the tracks "That's All For Everyone" and "Beautiful Child" most strongly exemplify its influence.[18]

Bassist John McVie commented that the album "sounds like the work of three solo artists", while Fleetwood said it was his second favourite Fleetwood Mac studio album behind Then Play On.[19] "You got that sweetness [from Nicks and McVie] and me as the complete nutcase," Buckingham observed. "That's what makes us Fleetwood Mac."[20]

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
AllMusic     [21]
Blender     [22]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[23]
Rolling Stone     [25]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [26]
Uncut     [27]

Tusk peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 album chart in the U.S., but spent less than 9 months on the chart. It was certified double platinum for shipping two million copies.[28] It peaked at number one in the UK and achieved a platinum award for shipments in excess of 300,000 copies[29]. The album gave the group two U.S. top-10 hit singles, with the Buckingham-penned title track (US number eight/UK number six), and the Stevie Nicks composition "Sara" (US number seven/UK number 37).[30]

In his review for Rolling Stone, Stephen Holden emphasized the experimental nature of the album, with comparisons to the Beatles' White Album: "Like The White Album, Tusk is less a collection of finished songs than a mosaic of pop-rock fragments by individual performers."[1] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice was more ambivalent, lauding Buckingham's production and experimentation, while dismissing Christine McVie's and Stevie Nicks's contributions.[31] Retrospectively, AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine found the album to be timeless, calling it "a peerless piece of pop art" that rivals the more accessible Rumours album in terms of quality.[21] Amanda Petrusich of Pitchfork found the album to be "self indulgent" and "terrifically strange".[24] Contemporary and retrospective reviewers alike have noted the stark contrast between the album's lush opening track, "Over and Over", and jarring production of the following track, "The Ledge".[7][32]

Though the album sold four million copies worldwide, and earned a Grammy nomination in 1981 for its art design in the category "Best Album Package", the band's record label deemed the project a failure, laying the blame squarely with Buckingham (considering the comparatively huge sales of Rumours and the album's unprecedented recording expense).[33] Fleetwood, however, blames the album's relative failure on the RKO radio chain playing the album in its entirety prior to release, thus allowing mass home recording.[34] In addition, Tusk was a double album, with a high list price of US$15.98, which was $2 more than other double albums.[citation needed]

Further releases from the album, "Not That Funny" (UK-only single release), "Think About Me", and "Sisters of the Moon" were slightly remixed for radio, and were less successful. The latter two appear in their 'single versions' on the 2002 compilation The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac, while "Sara", which was cut to 4½ minutes for both the single and the first CD release of the album, appear on the 1988 Greatest Hits compilation and the 2004 reissue of Tusk, as well as Fleetwood Mac's 2002 release of The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac in its unedited form.[35]

Track listingEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Over & Over"Christine McVieC. McVie4:34
2."The Ledge"Lindsey BuckinghamBuckingham2:08
3."Think About Me"C. McVieC. McVie and Buckingham2:44
4."Save Me a Place"BuckinghamBuckingham2:42
5."Sara" (Edited to 4:39 on earlier CD pressings)Stevie NicksNicks6:22
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."What Makes You Think You're the One"BuckinghamBuckingham3:32
3."That's All for Everyone"BuckinghamBuckingham3:03
4."Not That Funny" (Mix differs from original LP version)BuckinghamBuckingham3:11
5."Sisters of the Moon"NicksNicks4:42
Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
2."That's Enough for Me"BuckinghamBuckingham1:50
3."Brown Eyes"C. McVieC. McVie4:27
4."Never Make Me Cry"C. McVieC. McVie2:18
5."I Know I'm Not Wrong" (Mix differs from original LP version)BuckinghamBuckingham3:05
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Honey Hi"C. McVieC. McVie2:41
2."Beautiful Child"NicksNicks5:21
3."Walk a Thin Line"BuckinghamBuckingham3:46
5."Never Forget"C. McVieC. McVie3:34

Expanded and alternative editionsEdit

A 2-disc remastered version of the album was released in 2004, featuring the entire, unedited version of the original album on the first disc and various demos, outtakes and alternative versions on the second disc.

A 5-CD deluxe edition featuring many unreleased demos, live tracks and an Alternate Tusk was released on December 4, 2015.[36]

  • Tusk remastered
  • An alternate version of the complete album consisting of session outtakes, most of which have never been released
  • A selection of singles, demos and remixes
  • Unreleased performances from the band’s 1979–1980 Tusk tour with selections from concerts in London, Tucson, St. Louis, and one song in Omaha.
  • A DVD with both a 24 bit/96 kHz stereo mix and a 5.1 surround mix of the original album

Tusk was also issued as a 180-gram 2-LP set.

Another alternative version of Tusk was released on Record Store Day 2016.[37] In addition to the above outtakes, several other Nicks songs were demoed for Tusk: "Love You Enough" (unreleased), "Beauty And The Beast" (The Wild Heart), "Smile At You" (Say You Will), "Secret Love" (In Your Dreams), "The Dealer" and "Watch Chain" (24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault).[citation needed]


  • * = Previously unreleased; all live tracks are previously unreleased.


Fleetwood Mac

Additional musicians

Production and design

  • Fleetwood Mac – producers
  • Richard Dashut – producer, engineer
  • Ken Caillat – producer, engineer, remastering
  • Rich Feldman – assistant engineer
  • Hernan Rojas – assistant engineer
  • Ken Perry – mastering
  • Peter Beard – photography
  • Jayme Odgers – photography
  • Norman Seeff – photography
  • Vigon Nahas Vigon – art direction, design



Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[60] Gold 167,600[59]
Germany (BVMI)[61] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[62] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[28] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versionsEdit

  • In 1981, Mick Fleetwood covered "Walk a Thin Line" on his solo album The Visitor.
  • In 2002, Camper Van Beethoven released a full cover of the original Tusk album in its entirety. The cover art and track listings are almost identical.
  • In 2004, The Twilight Singers covered "What Makes You Think You're The One" on their covers album She Loves You.
  • In 2007, Mossyrock covered "I Know I'm Not Wrong" for their debut EP which was also called I Know I'm Not Wrong; it was later rereleased on the compilation album The Three EPs.
  • In 2012, The Flowers of Hell included a cover of "Over & Over" featuring Neil Wilkinson and Abi Fry of British Sea Power on their Odes album.[64]
  • In 2012, Tame Impala covered "That's All for Everyone" for the Fleetwood Mac tribute compilation Just Tell Me That You Want Me.
  • In 2012, Craig Wedren and St. Vincent covered "Sisters of the Moon" for the Fleetwood Mac tribute compilation Just Tell Me That You Want Me.
  • In 2012, Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Matt Sweeney covered "Storms" for the Fleetwood Mac tribute compilation Just Tell Me That You Want Me.
  • In 2012, Marianne Faithfull covered "Angel" for the Fleetwood Mac tribute compilation Just Tell Me That You Want Me.
  • In 2012, Best Coast covered "Storms" for the B-side of the title track of their second album The Only Place.


  1. ^ a b Rolling Stone, 13 Dec 1979
  2. ^ Grimstad, Paul. "What is Avant-Pop?". The Brooklyn Rail.
  3. ^ "'s new Tusk album scheduled to be released today..." (12 October 1979). "A Star for Fleetwood Mac". Los Angeles Times: A44.
  4. ^ Elan, Priya. "Album A&E – Fleetwood Mac, 'Tusk'". NME. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  5. ^ Cormier, Roger. "15 Albums That Cost a Fortune to Make". Mental Floss. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  6. ^ Brackett, Donald (2007). Fleetwood Mac: 40 Years of Creative Chaos. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 150. ISBN 9780275993382.
  7. ^ a b Giles, Jeff. "How Fleetwood Mac Made A Masterpiece That Flopped". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  8. ^ NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013
  9. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  10. ^ Graff, Gary. "Lindsey Buckingham on Fleetwood Mac's Risk-Taking Classic Album 'Tusk': Exclusive Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  11. ^ Evans, Mike (2011). "Superstardom". Fleetwood Mac: The Definitive History. 387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016: Sterling. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4027-8630-3. "It was Mick Fleetwood, however, who made the first decision concerning the new record: that it was going to be a double album. Given that just the one disc of Rumours took so much time to complete, he realized that a double would be far more expensive in terms of studio costs alone. The answer, Mick proposed, was to buy their own studio...the Warner executives turned the idea down without a second thought...So instead of working in their self-owned setup, the band spent a small fortune of its own royalties advance having a custom-designed annex, Studio D, built at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles
  12. ^ "Fleetwood Mac Create Tusk, 1979". Stevie Nicks Info. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Lindsey Buckingham: Musician Magazine No.33". Fleetwood Mac UK. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  14. ^ Giles, Jeff. "How Fleetwood Mac Made a Masterpiece That Flopped". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  15. ^ Appleford, Steve. "Q&A: Fleetwood Mac on Reissuing 'Rumours' and Making New Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  16. ^ Stanley, Bob (7 March 2008). "How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  17. ^ Webb, Adam (14 December 2003). "A profile of Dennis Wilson: the lonely one". The Guardian.
  18. ^ Priore, Domenic (2005). Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece. Sanctuary. p. 193. ISBN 1-86074-627-6.
  19. ^ Fleetwood, Mick; Bozza, Anthony (October 2014). Play On. 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104: Little, Brown, and Company. ISBN 9780316403405. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  20. ^ Elliott, Paul (October 2013). "Eye of the hurricane". Classic Rock #189. p. 58.
  21. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Tusk – Fleetwood Mac". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  22. ^ Collis, Clark. "Fleetwood Mac: Tusk". Blender. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: F". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 24 February 2019 – via
  24. ^ a b Petrusich, Amanda (17 July 2016). "Fleetwood Mac: Tusk". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  25. ^ Walters, Barry (22 December 2015). "Fleetwood Mac: Tusk (Deluxe Edition)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  26. ^ Coleman, Mark; Kemp, Mark (2004). "Fleetwood Mac". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 303–04. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  27. ^ "Fleetwood Mac: Tusk". Uncut (83): 112. April 2004.
  28. ^ a b "American album certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Tusk". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Tusk". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Type Tusk in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "Fleetwood Mac - Chart History". Billboard. 9 February 2017.
  31. ^ Christgau, Robert (31 December 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  32. ^ Waggoner, Nate. "Fleetwood Mac's Tusk Is Everything That's Missing from Music Today". KQED. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  33. ^ Rooksby, Rikky (1998). The Complete Guide to the Music of Fleetwood Mac. Omnibus Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-7119-6310-X.
  34. ^ Fleetwood, Mick; Davis, Stephen (1991). My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac. p. 219.
  35. ^ "Sara - Fleetwood Mac | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  36. ^ Kreps, Daniel (30 October 2015). "Fleetwood Mac Prep Massive 'Tusk' Reissue". Rolling Stone.
  37. ^ Sheppard, Jack. "Record Store Day 2016: David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan lead releases". Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  38. ^ a b Forte, Dan. "Lindsey Buckingham – Musician Interview, June 1981". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  39. ^ Irvin, Jim (2016). Tusk (2015 Remastered) (Liner Notes). Fleetwood Mac. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Records Inc. p. 14. Publisher Warner Bros #2HS-3350.
  40. ^ Giles, Jeff. "35 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Tries Something New With 'Tusk'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  41. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  42. ^ " Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  43. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 32, No. 12". RPM. 15 December 1979. Archived from the original (PHP) on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  44. ^ " Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  45. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  46. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  47. ^ " Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  48. ^ " Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  49. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  50. ^ " Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  51. ^ "Fleetwood Mac > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 July 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  52. ^ "allmusic ((( Tusk > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  53. ^ "Album Search: Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  54. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1979". RPM. 22 December 1979. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  55. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1979 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  56. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1980". RPM. 20 December 1980. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  57. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1980" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  58. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (20 December 1980). – Year End Charts – Year-end Albums – The Billboard 200.
  59. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  60. ^ "French album certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (in French). InfoDisc. Select FLEETWOOD MAC and click OK. 
  61. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Fleetwood Mac; 'Tusk')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  62. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Tusk" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Tusk in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  63. ^ "British album certifications – Fleetwood Mac – Tusk". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Tusk in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  64. ^ Adams, Gregory (7 September 2012). "Flowers Of Hell Reveal Odes Details". Exclaim!. Retrieved 9 September 2012.

External linksEdit