Tusk (album)

Tusk is the twelfth 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 $3.52 million in 2019), making it the most expensive rock album recorded to that date.[5]

Tusk
Fleetwood Mac - Tusk.png
Studio album by
Released12 October 1979
Recorded1978–79
StudioThe Village Recorder, Los Angeles, California, Lindsey Buckingham's home
Genre
Length74:25
LabelWarner Bros.
Producer
Fleetwood Mac chronology
Rumours
(1977)
Tusk
(1979)
Live
(1980)
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. In 2013, NME ranked Tusk at number 445 in their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[7] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[8] In 2000 it was voted number 853 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[9]

BackgroundEdit

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]

Even with the custom studio, Warner Brothers still charged the band for the recording sessions. Production costs rose beyond a million dollars, far more than Rumours. Regarding the album's production costs, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham stated: "During the making of Tusk, we were in the studio for about 10 months and we got 20 songs out of it. Rumours took the same amount of time. It (Rumours) didn't cost so much because we were in a cheaper studio. There's no denying what it cost, but I think it's been taken out of context."[12]

After the studio was built, Buckingham queried 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. Most of Buckingham's demos were augmented with contributions from other members. Fleetwood overdubbed his drums over Buckingham's snare-drum track, which he sometimes played on a Kleenex box.[13] Despite this, three tracks were recorded solely by Buckingham: "The Ledge", "Save Me a Place", and "That's Enough For Me".[14] 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."[15]

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.[16]

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."[17] Journalist Adam Webb described the Tusk recording sessions as a "cocaine blizzard" from which Christine McVie's then-boyfriend, Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson, "never really came out."[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] "You got that sweetness [from Nicks and McVie] and me as the complete nutcase," Buckingham observed. "That's what makes us Fleetwood Mac."[21]

Release and receptionEdit

Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [22]
Blender     [23]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[24]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[25]
Mojo     [26]
Pitchfork9.2/10[27]
Record Collector     [28]
Rolling Stone     [29]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [30]
Uncut     [31]

Tusk peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 album chart in the US, but spent less than nine months on the chart. It was certified double platinum for shipping two million copies.[32] It peaked at number one in the UK and achieved a platinum award for shipments in excess of 300,000 copies.[33] The album gave the group two US 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).[34]

In his review for Rolling Stone, Stephen Holden emphasized the experimental nature of the album, comparing it to the Beatles' "White Album" in that "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.[35] 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.[22] Amanda Petrusich of Pitchfork found the album to be "self indulgent" and "terrifically strange".[27] 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".[12][36]

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).[37] 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.[38] In addition, Tusk was a double album, with a high list price of US$16.00, or $56.00 in 2019 terms.[39]

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.[40]

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. McVie2:44
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
2."Storms"NicksNicks5:31
3."That's All for Everyone"BuckinghamBuckingham3:03
4."Not That Funny" (CD mix differs from original LP version)BuckinghamBuckingham3:11
5."Sisters of the Moon"NicksNicks4:42
Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Angel"NicksNicks4:54
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" (CD 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
4."Tusk"BuckinghamBuckingham3:37
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.

2004 deluxe edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."One More Time (Over & Over)"C. McVie4:42
2."Can't Walk Out of Here (The Ledge)"Buckingham2:04
3."Think About Me"C. McVie2:36
4."Sara"Nicks8:48
5."Lindsey's Song #1 (I Know I'm Not Wrong)"Buckingham3:06
6."Storms"Nicks5:22
7."Lindsey's Song #2 (That's All for Everyone)"Buckingham3:04
8."Sisters of the Moon"Nicks5:10
9."Out on the Road (That's Enough for Me)"Buckingham1:52
10."Brown Eyes"C. McVie5:00
11."Never Make Me Cry"C. McVie2:23
12."Song #1 (I Know I'm Not Wrong)"Buckingham2:50
13."Honey Hi"C. McVie3:48
14."Beautiful Child"Nicks5:24
15."Song #3 (Walk a Thin Line)"Buckingham3:16
16."Come on Baby (Never Forget)"C. McVie3:40
17."Song #1 (I Know I'm Not Wrong)" (Alternate take)Buckingham2:40
18."Kiss and Run"Jorge Calderon2:05
19."Farmer's Daughter"Brian Wilson, Mike Love2:15
20."Think About Me" (Single version)C. McVie2:43
21."Sisters of the Moon" (Single version)Nicks4:40

A 5-CD deluxe edition featuring many unreleased demos, live tracks and an Alternate Tusk was released on December 4, 2015.[41]

  • Tusk remastered
  • A selection of singles, demos and remixes
  • An alternate version of the complete album consisting of session outtakes, most of which had never been released
  • 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.

Disc two: singles, outtakes, sessions
No.TitleLength
1."Think About Me (Single remix)"2:46
2."That's All for Everyone (Remix)"2:52
3."Sisters of the Moon (Remix)"4:42
4."Not That Funny (Single remix)"3:15
5."Sara (Single edit)"4:36
6."Walk a Thin Line (Song #3 – 3/13/79)"3:15
7."Honey Hi (Alternate version – 10/18/78)"3:48
8."Storms (Alternate version – 11/30/78)"5:13
9."Save Me a Place (2nd version – 10/10/78)*"3:15
10."Never Make Me Cry (Version – 4/17/79)"2:17
11."Out on the Road (aka "That's Enough for Me" Demo – 12/19/78)*"2:43
12."I Know I'm Not Wrong – Lindsey's Song #1 (Demo)"3:07
13."I Know I'm Not Wrong (10/10/78 version)*"3:18
14."I Know I'm Not Wrong (11/3/78 version)*"3:05
15."I Know I'm Not Wrong (4/25/79 version)*"2:23
16."I Know I'm Not Wrong (8/13/79 version)*"3:00
17."I Know I'm Not Wrong (1/23/79 version)*"3:02
18."Tusk (Demo – 1/15/79)*"5:07
19."Tusk stage riff (Demo – 1/30/79)*"3:05
20."Tusk (Outtake track – 2/1/79)*"4:15
21."Tusk (Outtake mix – 1/23/79)*"4:35
22."Tusk (USC version – 6/4/79)*"3:52
Disc three: the alternate Tusk
No.TitleLength
1."Over & Over (4/2/79)*"4:40
2."The Ledge (3/13/79)"2:07
3."Think About Me (2/18/79)*"2:45
4."Save Me a Place (10/18/78)*"3:04
5."Sara (3/10/79)"8:48
6."What Makes You Think You're the One (2/24/79)*"3:29
7."Storms (6/2/79)*"5:32
8."That's All for Everyone (10/20/78)*"3:45
9."Not That Funny (5/19/79)*"3:25
10."Sisters of the Moon (11/12/78)"5:14
11."Angel (4/2/79)*"4:56
12."That's Enough for Me (9/29/78)*"1:52
13."Brown Eyes (with Lindsey and Peter Green, 9/20/78)*"5:08
14."Never Make Me Cry (2/8/79)*"2:14
15."I Know I'm Not Wrong (11/2/78)*"3:04
16."Honey Hi (10/11/78)*"3:09
17."Beautiful Child (10/9/78)*"5:40
18."Walk a Thin Line (4/6/79)*"3:22
19."Tusk (7/19/79)*"3:36
20."Never Forget (6/29/78)*"3:46
Disc four: Tusk tour live I
No.TitleLength
1."Intro (Wembley, 6/26/80)"1:10
2."Say You Love Me (Wembley, 6/26/80)"4:07
3."The Chain (Wembley, 6/20/80)"7:56
4."Don't Stop (Wembley, 6/27/80)"3:55
5."Dreams (Wembley, 6/20/80)"4:14
6."Oh Well (Wembley, 6/20/80)"3:33
7."Rhiannon (Tucson, 8/28/80)"9:20
8."Over & Over (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"5:13
9."That's Enough for Me (Wembley, 6/21/80)"2:37
10."Sara (Tucson, 8/28/80)"8:16
11."Not That Funny (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"4:04
12."Tusk (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"5:30
Disc five: Tusk Tour live II
No.TitleLength
1."Save Me a Place (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"2:59
2."Landslide (Omaha, 8/21/80)"4:41
3."What Makes You Think You're the One (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"4:17
4."Angel (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"5:14
5."You Make Loving Fun (Wembley, 6/20/80)"4:37
6."I'm So Afraid (St. Louis, 11/5/79)"7:55
7."World Turning (Wembley, 6/22/80)"12:29
8."Go Your Own Way (Wembley, 6/22/80)"9:23
9."Sisters of the Moon (Wembley, 6/22/80)"7:51
10."Songbird (Wembley, 6/27/80)"4:14

Another alternative version of Tusk was released on Record Store Day 2016.[42] 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]

Note

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

PersonnelEdit

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

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[65] Gold 167,600[64]
Germany (BVMI)[66] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[67] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[68] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[69] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[32] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

ReferencesEdit

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  8. ^ 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.
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External linksEdit