IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED
Fleetwood Mac has gone through numerous line-ups in its 50 year career though it’s been pretty stable since Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined in 1975. But for the first 8 years the band went through several incarnations. The first was the blues based band led by guitar hero Peter Greene. When Greene left, Danny Kirwan took over as the main songwriter. Version 3.0 came about when Bob Welch stepped forward with his songwriting and vocals.
Today’s SotW is Welch’s “Hypnotized” from the album Mystery to Me (1973).
In a 2012 article for Rolling Stone, David Fricke wrote “The best song Welch ever gave the Mac, “Hypnotized” was urgent noir propelled by a shuffling mix of guitars and (Christine) McVie’s electric-piano understatement, with Welch singing in a sleepwalking cadence like a Raymond Chandler detective musing to himself in a late-night rain.”
“Hypnotized” was released as a single, but it was buried as the B-side to Mac’s cover of The Yardbirds “For Your Love.” (If you’re a vinyl album geek like me, you’ll try to find a copy of the album that erroneously lists an unreleased song called “Good Things (Come to Those Who Wait)” that never made it onto the album because it was dropped at the last minute and replaced by “For Your Love.”) Fortunately for Welch and the Mac, “Hypnotized” became an FM rock radio staple in the 70s.
It starts with a very catchy Mick Fleetwood drum pattern – a snare crack and three beats on the bass drum under an insistent patter on the high hat. Once the beat is firmly established it’s followed by some slick guitar interplay. Christine Mac and Bob Weston provide soothing backing vocals.
The lyrics have an early 70s, Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan) inspired, mystical vibe.
They say there’s a place down in Mexico
Where a man can fly over mountains and hills
And he don’t need an airplane or some kind of engine
And he never will
According to Mojo (Jan 2013), “Welch apparently wrote this eerie electric blues after dreaming that a UFO piloted by a Navajo shaman had landed on the tennis court in Fleetwood Mac’s communal country pile.”
Sadly, Welch died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in his suburban Nashville home in 2012. But he left us a strong legacy of music in his work with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, especially the album French Kiss (1977).
Enjoy… until next week.