In early 1977 I heard the legendary Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac, and I thought it was a bit meh.
You know, it was okay… but it wasn’t about to crack any pots. I thought.
It was a bit American, a bit soft rock for my tastes.
Funny then, that it went on to be one of the biggest, best-selling, most famous, utterly legendary albums of all time, But, hey, you can’t call them all right.
If it makes any difference, I’ve changed my mind. I really like Rumours now. Every song on it thrills me. I don’t know whether it’s because it evokes my lost youth or whether it’s because it’s brilliant. I don’t care, I just love it.
Partly I didn’t like Fleetwood Mac back then because of Stevie Nicks. it wasn’t just the sound of the songs, it was the look of her.
She was too floaty, too hippy, too dippy California girl for tough little me.
Plus, if I’m really telling it like it was, she didn’t look like she had ever had to stand in front of the bathroom mirror for an hour putting concealer on her acne, and that made me quite jealous.
Not like The Jam. Their first big album came along a few months later and set my blood on fire.
They were edgy, jumpy, mean and sharp. They sounded exactly like a British working class teenager felt. They sang our pain. Plus, I could imagine them examining their spots in front of the bathroom mirror. What wasn’t to love?
They’re both still performing, the American soft rockers and the edgy Paul Weller, he who really was The Jam.
I’ve seen them both recently – I watched Paul Weller performing at Glastonbury. It was on the telly though because I have never been to an actual music festival in my life, and I was a bit disappointed.
I mean, he’s not exactly Mr Charisma these days is he? Stylish. I’ll grant you stylish, but somehow Paul Weller’s stage presence over the years has changed from being cool and cutting to grumpy and a bit boring.
And he was wearing a jumper. A jumper! How could he when he looks so good in a suit? It’s as if he’s a … middle-aged man.
Fleetwood Mac, who played at the Arena twice last week, were not like that. They were amazing.
And, in a startling about face, I have to say it is mostly because of Stevie Nicks and her fellow band member Christine McVie. I barely noticed Christine in the old days. She was the plainer one, the sensible-looking one compared with the flamboyant Stevie.
But, boy, I noticed her on Sunday. I had seen Fleetwood Mac before she rejoined the band, and they sound a lot better with her than without her.
But mostly what gladdens my heart is that these two women are now old – and still rocking.
I love that. I love that more than anything. Christine McVie is fully 71 years old, but she is up on stage, still sounding great, looking good – she doesn’t look like the plain sensible one anymore, she looks like she is having fun – and still belting out those brilliant songs, many of which she wrote.
There are loads of old male rockers still performing – now that no one makes money out of recording any more, they have no option really.
Every summer they haul their backsides onto an outdoor stage somewhere and try to remember the words of their old hits, every Christmas they put on a nostalgic seasonal show.
They can be bald, fat, stiff as ironing boards with their creaky old joints – but we accept them.
For women in music, as in every area of life, the standards are different.
We don’t overlook the ageing process in our aging female rockers, we judge it.
But Stevie, 67, and Christine, they are still up there and still out there. There making a pile of money for themselves but they are pushing the barriers for older women everywhere – and that’s no rumour.
Jayne Dawson / Yorkshire Evening Post / Wednesday, 8th July 2015