Christine McVie, a singer, songwriter and keyboardist who became the biggest hitmaker for Fleetwood Mac, one of music’s most popular bands, died Wednesday. She was 79.
Her family announced her death on Facebook. The statement said that she died at a hospital but did not specify its location. The statement also did not give the cause of her death. In June, McVie told Rolling Stone that she was in “quite bad health” and that she had endured debilitating problems with her back.
McVie’s commercial potency, which hit a high point in the 1970s and ’80s, was on full display on Fleetwood Mac’s “Greatest Hits” anthology, released in 1988, which sold 8 million copies: She either wrote or co-wrote half of its 16 tracks. Her tally doubled that of the next most prolific member of the band’s trio of singer-songwriters, Stevie Nicks. (The third, Lindsay Buckingham, scored three major Billboard chart-makers on that collection.)
The most popular songs McVie crafted favored bouncing beats and lively melodies, including “Say You Love Me” (which grazed Billboard’s Top 10), “You Make Lovin’ Fun” (which just broke it), “Hold Me” (No. 4) and “Don’t Stop” (her top smash, which crested at No. 3). But she could also connect with elegant ballads, like “Over My Head” (No. 20) and “Little Lies” (which cracked the publication’s Top Five in 1987).
All of those songs featured cleanly defined, easily sung melodies, with hints of soul and blues at the core. Her compositions had a simplicity that mirrored their construction. “I don’t struggle over my songs,” McVie told Rolling Stone in 1977. “I write them quickly.”
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