The street where Christine McVie grew up is only a few minutes from where I live, if you ever feel like popping over, I'll show you. I'll also tell you of sightings by fans, anecdotes, and some tales that are so far-fetched they're funny (shopping on Abbey Road with Brian Wilson? Really!?).
Bearwood's most loved and most famous daughter has left us and the sense of grief is immeasurable. It's a cliche to say that you only really realise just how important an artist was to their audience when they die but this is one of those situations. Christine McVie was a rare and extraordinary songwriter, there was something that felt genuine and heartfelt in her lyrics, whether it be ballads 'The Way I Feel' or 'Songbird' or the sleek mid-80s hits 'Everywhere' and 'Little Lies'. We mourn the passing of those artists whose work touches upon those universal truths. Christine McVie was such an artist.
Born in the Lake District, Christine Perfect grew up in Bearwood and during the mid-60s became immersed in the local Blues music scene. To have been a woman in such a male-dominated environment must have taken considerable strength. After a brief time with Chicken Shack (you need to track down her vocal on their version of Etta James' 'I'd Rather Go Blind'), she married John McVie and joined him in his band - Fleetwood Mac.
Because we are so familiar with the huge Fleetwood Mac of 'Rumours' it's easy to a). overlook the songs Christine wrote in the pre-Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks era and b), see the songs that she wrote (including 'Over My Head', 'Don't Stop', 'Say You Love Me' and the aforementioned 'Songbird') as a sideshow to the romantic saga that dominated the band when this was where the real songwriting genius lay.
I'm certain that many Christine-led playlists and features are being compiled right now that will take in everything from Chicken Shack to Fleetwood Mac, her solo albums, and that fabulous collaboration with Lindsay Buckingham in 2017. She was an intuitive singer and songwriter, someone who could really touch the audience with the emotion of her lyrics. Someone who could make large and impersonal arenas seem warm and intimate when she sang. RIP Christine McVie.