Christine McVie (born Christine Anne Perfect, 12 July 1943, near Greenodd, Cumbria) is an English rock singer, keyboardist, and songwriter. Her primary fame came as a member of the British/American rock band Fleetwood Mac though she has also released three solo albums. McVie has a contralto vocal range.
Christine Anne Perfect was born in the small village of Bouth in the Lake District and grew up in the Bearwood area of Smethwick near Birmingham, where her father, Cyril, was a university lecturer and concert violinist. Christine's mother Beatrice (called Tee) was a so-called medium, psychic, and faith healer. Her grandfather had been the organist at Westminster Abbey. Although Christine was introduced to the piano at the age of four, it was not until age eleven that she studied music seriously, when she was re-introduced to the instrument by Philip Fisher, a local musician and school friend of her older brother John. Continuing her classical training until the age of fifteen, her musical focus made a radical shift to Rock and Roll when John brought home a Fats Domino songbook. Other early influences included The Everly Brothers and The Beatles. Christine now lives in Wickhambreaux Kent
Christine studied sculpture at an art college in Birmingham for five years, with the goal of becoming an art teacher. During that time she met a number of budding musicians in Britain's so-called "blues" scene. Although studying sculpture at the time, Christine seemed to have an innate love for music. Her first foray into the music field didn't come until she met two friends Stan Webb and Andy Silvester in a pub one night. At the time they were playing in a band called "Sounds Of Blue" which had a few dates booked but no bass guitarist. Knowing that Christine had musical talent they asked her to join. Also during that time she would often sing with Spencer Davis. After five years Christine graduated from art college with a teaching degree, but by that time "Sounds of Blue" had split up.
Fresh out of art college, Christine found that she didn't have enough money to launch herself into the art world, so she moved to London, where she worked briefly as a department store window dresser.
In 1968, a friend of Christine told her that her ex-bandmates Andy Silvester and Stan Webb were forming a blues band and were looking for a pianist, so she wrote to them asking to join them. A few days later they replied, inviting her to play keyboards/piano and sing background vocals in their band Chicken Shack. Christine stayed with Chicken Shack for two albums; it was in that combo that her genuine feel for the blues became evident--not only in her Sonny-Thompson-style piano playing, but in her soft, low alto which rendered the songs and standards she did sing authentic. In fact, Chicken Shack scored the top 10 British hit "I'd Rather Go Blind" with Christine on lead vocals. She was given a Melody Maker award for female vocalist for both 1969 and 1970 respectively, and she was lauded for having one of the "top 10 pairs of legs in all of Britain". Christine left Chicken Shack in 1969 after meeting Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie.
Christine was a big fan of Fleetwood Mac at the time and while touring with Chicken Shack the two bands would often run into each other (they were also stablemates at Blue Horizon and Fleetwood Mac had asked to Christine play piano as a session musician for Peter Green's songs on the band's second album, Mr. Wonderful). Encouraged to continue her career, she recorded a solo album, Christine Perfect, which she does not feel is among her better works. As Christine McVie, she joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970, just after marrying Fleetwood Mac bass guitarist John McVie. She had already contributed backup vocals, played keyboards, and painted the cover for Kiln House. The band had just lost founding member Peter Green and its members were nervous about touring without him. McVie had been a huge fan of the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, and since she knew all the lyrics to their songs, she went along. McVie quickly became an essential member of the group and the author of some of its finest songs, a position she would continue to hold for nearly 25 years.
The early 1970s was a rocky time for the band, with a revolving door of musicians, and only the albums Mystery to Me and Bare Trees scoring any successes. Furthermore, a group impersonating Fleetwood Mac was touring the United States without their permission. John McVie's alcohol drinking became unbearable, and Christine had an affair with a music producer.
In 1974, Christine McVie reluctantly agreed to move with the rest of the band to the US and make a fresh start. Within a year, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Buckingham Nicks joined the band, giving it an added dimension. Their first album together, 1975's Fleetwood Mac, had several hit songs, with McVie's "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me" both reaching Billboard's top-20 singles chart. It was "Over My Head" which first put Fleetwood Mac on American radio and into the national Top 40.
In 1976, McVie began an on-the-road affair with the band's lighting director, which inspired her to write "You Make Loving Fun", a top-10 hit on the landmark smash Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all-time. Her biggest hit was "Don't Stop", which climbed all the way to #3 and has become well known as the song Bill Clinton played on the Presidential campaign trail and at his 1993 Inaugural Gala (McVie and the others performed there, as well as at the Super Bowl a few days later). The Rumours tour also included McVie's "Songbird", a ballad which would be the encore of many Fleetwood Mac concerts.
By the end of the Rumours tour, the McVies had divorced. The 1979 double album Tusk produced three more US top-20 hits ("Tusk", which is also the band's first music video, "Sara", and McVie's "Think About Me"), but it was considered a disappointment since it came nowhere near to matching the success of the Rumours album. The Tusk tour continued into 1980, following which the band took time apart. They reunited in 1981 to record the album Mirage at a ch??teau in France. The album, released in 1982, returned the band to the top of the US charts and also contained the top-5 hit "Hold Me", co-written by McVie. McVie's inspiration for the song was her tortured relationship with Beach Boys member Dennis Wilson. Her song, "Love in Store", became the third single from the album peaking at #22 in early 1983.
In 1984, McVie decided to record another solo album, as most of the other band members had done by that point. She created hits with the songs "Got a Hold on Me" (Top 10 pop and #1 adult contemporary) and "Love Will Show Us How" (#30). McVie is quoted in The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits as saying of her solo album, "Maybe it isn't the most adventurous album in the world, but I wanted to be honest and please my own ears with it."
She also met keyboardist Eddy Quintela (12 years her junior), whom she married in October 1986. Quintela would go on to co-write many songs with her that would be featured on subsequent Fleetwood Mac albums. The couple divorced in the mid 1990s.
After covering the Elvis Presley standard "Can't Help Falling In Love" for the Ted Danson / Howie Mandel film A Fine Mess, she rejoined Fleetwood Mac to record the Tango in the Night album, which went on to become the band's biggest success since Rumours ten years earlier. The biggest hit from the album was McVie's "Little Lies", co-written with her husband Quintela, which was top 5 in both the UK and US. Another McVie single from the album, "Everywhere", reached #4 in the UK which would be the band's third highest ever chart peak there and their final top 40 UK hit to date (the single peaked at #14 in the US).
In 1990, the band (now without Lindsey Buckingham) recorded Behind the Mask, but the sales were considerably lower than previous albums and the singles were only marginally successful. The album did, however, enter the UK album chart at #1 but there were no UK hits from the album and only McVie's song "Save Me" made the US Top 40. The second US single release from the album, McVie's "Skies the Limit", was a flop, never even making the Hot 100. McVie had always been reluctant to go on concert tours, preferring to stay close to home with friends and family. Upon the death of her father, Cyril Perfect, that year whilst she was touring for Behind The Mask, McVie made the decision to retire from touring altogether. Despite the departure of Stevie Nicks, McVie remained loyal to Mick Fleetwood and her former husband, recording five songs for the band's 1995 effort Time. The album, which suffered from a lack of publicity and was created by a line-up unfamiliar to the public, was a commercial flop.
The members of the band seemed to have gone their separate ways until Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham got together again for one of Lindsey Buckingham's solo projects. Christine was soon asked to sing and play on some of the tracks. Once 4/5 of the Rumours-era band was reunited, the members decided a reunion was possible. Stevie Nicks was called out of premature retirement and the resulting live album, 1997's The Dance, went to #1 in the US album charts. Despite her reservations, McVie complied with the band's touring schedule, and then performed for the group's 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Grammy Awards show, and the BRIT Awards in the UK. Thereafter, she retired from Fleetwood Mac altogether.
Life after Fleetwood Mac
In the years after The Dance, Christine McVie returned to England to be near her family and stepped out of public view almost completely. In 2000 she did, however, appear in public to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Greenwich, England. Some years later, in December 2003, she went to see Fleetwood Mac's last UK performance on the Say You Will tour in London, but did not join her former bandmates on the stage.
Mid-2004 saw the release of Christine McVie's new solo album, In the Meantime, her third in a career spanning five decades. Recorded in her converted barn in Kent, England, Christine McVie worked on the project with her nephew, Dan Perfect, who contributed guitar-playing, backing vocals, and songwriting. There was no tour to accompany this album, though Christine McVie consented to a limited number of press interviews in the UK and the USA. In 2006 Christine McVie was awarded the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters' Gold Badge of Merit at a ceremony held in London's Savoy Hotel.