Fleetwood Mac legend Christine McVie dies aged 79

Christine McVie in 1987
(Image credit: Aaron Rappaport)

Fleetwood Mac legend Christine McVie has died aged 79, it has been confirmed. In a post shared on her official Facebook page tonight, November 30, a statement reads:

"On behalf of Christine McVie’s family, it is with a heavy heart we are informing you of Christine’s death. She passed away peacefully at hospital this morning, Wednesday, November 30th 2022, following a short illness. She was in the company of her family. We kindly ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this extremely painful time, and we would like everyone to keep Christine in their hearts and remember the life of an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally. RIP Christine McVie.”

A statement from Fleetwood Mac was shared soon after, reading: "There are no words to describe our sadness at the passing of Christine McVie. She was truly one-of-a-kind, special and talented beyond measure. She was the best musician anyone could have in their band and the best friend anyone could have in their life. We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so missed."

Born in Bouth in Lancashire in 1943, Christine Anne Perfect was raised in Smethwick near Birmingham where her father was a concert violinist. Classically trained, her tastes changed with the discovery of rock'n'roll piano players like Fats Domino. At college she met Stan Webb and Andy Silvester and in 1968 she joined their blues band band Chicken Shack. She had an immediate impact: their debut single, 1968's It's Okay With Me Baby, was written by Perfect.

In 1969 they covered I'd Rather Go Blind, the Etta James hit of a couple of years earlier, with Perfect delivering an astonishing lead vocal. The song went to no.14 in the UK singles chart and Christine won the Melody Maker award for Best Female Vocalist for the next two years in a row.

Perfect became Christine McVie in 1968. Chicken Shack had shared a bill with Fleetwood Mac at the Windsor festival the preceding year, and she and Mac bassist John McVie had become an item.

She appeared, playing keys and piano as Christine Perfect, on the Mac's second album Mr Wonderful and, after Peter Green's departure, on the Then Play On and Kiln House albums (she also provided the gatefold illustration for the latter). 

She officially became a member of Fleetwood Mac at a New Orleans gig in August 1970, and went on to play on every subsequent Fleetwood Mac album until 1997's The Dance. McVie, who played keyboards and sung with the band, also wrote some of their most famous songs, including Don't Stop and You Make Loving Fun from Fleetwood Mac's smash hit 1977 album Rumours, and Little Lies, from 1987's Tango In The Night. She left the band in 1998. 

"I’d had enough of flying,” she told Classic Rock in 2016. “I didn’t want to get on another plane. And I’d had enough of living out of a suitcase. I missed my roots. Because I’m a Cancer, you know. We’re domestic bodies. We like to cook, and we like our nests. And I was aching for my nest.

"It had to be England, close to my brother, just outside Canterbury. The green, green grass of home. And for a few years, it was fantastic – the dogs, the Aga. I was the quintessential retired country gal. But it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. 

"I started to become very isolated. I felt like I was rattling around this huge house on my own, not doing anything. And I became quite unwell, so I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something about this. I’ve got to find a way of getting on a plane again.’”

McVie returned to Fleetwood Mac in 2014, and over the next three years worked with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham on the songs that would become 2017's Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie album. 

McVie's last concert with Fleetwood Mac was at benefit show for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco in November 2019, although she also appeared onstage at the Mick Fleetwood & Friends tribute show to Peter Green at the London Palladium in March 2020.

Rumours of a final Fleetwood Mac tour persisted, and while McVie was happy to talk of one-off events, she was reluctant to commit to a more punishing schedule.

“I don’t feel physically up for it,” she told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem, which debilitates me. I stand up to play the piano, so I don’t know if I could actually physically do it. What’s that saying? The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.

“I’m getting a bit long in the teeth here. I’m quite happy being at home. I don’t know if I ever want to tour again. It’s bloody hard work.”

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site. 

With contributions from