Christine McVie’s 12 Essential Songs

Here’s McVie, as a songwriter, doing her best Lindsey Buckingham, rising to her bandmate’s challenge of bringing a punkier edge to the band’s sprawling 1979 double album “Tusk.” Buckingham and McVie always had special musical connection, and few Mac songs capture it better than this one: Their vocals sound particularly simpatic on the chorus harmonies, and McVie’s hard-driving electric piano provides a fitting complement to Buckingham’s fiery riffs.

And here’s McVie doing her best Christine McVie. An understated, underappreciated gem buried on the C side of “Tusk,” this tender heartstring-tugger places McVie’s angelic voice front and center, the faintest hints of guitar and keyboards forming little more than an ethereal mist in the background.

Speaking of underappreciated gems, this soulful McVie tune is a highlight of the band’s 1982 album, “Mirage,” with all due respect to the bouncy, irresistibly fun “Hold Me,” which McVie co-wrote with singer-songwriter Robbie Patton.

McVie only released three solo albums: the bluesy “Christine Perfect” (1970), the low-key “In the Meantime” (2004) and, most memorably, a self-titled release in 1984, when the other members of the band were focusing on their solo careers. “Got a Hold on Me” sounds, in the best way, like it could have easily appeared on any ’80s Fleetwood Mac album — it even has Buckingham on lead guitar.

A modern classic that’s still everywhere — including on a certain ubiquitous car commercial circa fall 2022 — this sparkling smash from the band’s late-80s return “Tango in the Night” remains one of Fleetwood Mac’s high watermarks. “I wanna be with you everywhere,” McVie sings on that infectious chorus, as succinct an encapsulation of falling in love as pop music can manage, as the sleek, glimmering production perfectly mirrors the butterflies she’s singing about.

When McVie first wrote the anthemic “Don’t Stop,” she was trying to create a song that would cheer up her ex-husband, and also hoping that Fleetwood Mac would survive the making of “Rumours.” Twenty years later, when the band reunited for the live LP “The Dance,” the song had not only helped “Rumours” become one of the best-selling albums in history, but it had also been the campaign song of the then-current President. This celebratory finale from “The Dance” — featuring an entire marching band! — turned out to be, in retrospect, a bittersweet snapshot: “The Dance” would be the final Fleetwood Mac album to feature McVie. The following year, she left the band to live a quieter life off the road for nearly two decades; she returned for a tour in 2014.

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