Song of the Week – Hypnotized, Fleetwood Mac


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.

Song of the Week – More Songs About Chocolate and Girls, The Undertones

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The Undertones were a late 70s/early 80s rock band from Derry, Northern Ireland. Their brand of three chord pop punk led to comparisons to Sire label mates, The Ramones. Their songs dealt primarily with teen subject matter, mostly girls and such. (They steered away from political subject matter such as the violence and conflict they were surrounded by at home during “the troubles.”)

They gained their first notoriety when the influential British DJ John Peel championed the band by playing their first single, “Teenage Kicks”, twice during one radio program. He famously named it his all-time favorite song – in fact, a line from the song (“Teenage dreams so hard to beat”) is inscribed on his gravestone.

Today’s SotW is the lead off cut from the band’s second album Hypnotized (1980). It is the tongue-in-cheek titled “More Songs About Chocolate and Girls.” It also pays tribute their other Sire label mates, Talking Heads, whose second album was called More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978).

It comes on with a catchy guitar lick and friendly reggae lilt. It could be a peppier cousin to The Clash’s version of “Police and Thieves.” Later, lead singer Feargal Sharkey implores with his unmistakable warbly vocal:

Sit down, relax and cancel all other engagements
It’s never too late to enjoy dumb entertainment

Ain’t it the truth!

Enjoy… until next week.