American Top 40 PastBlast, 10/27/79: John Stewart, “Midnight Wind”

Those almost three years between Rumours and Tusk comprised a marvelous period where members of Fleetwood Mac would pop up on other people’s records. I can quickly think of four top 10 songs from late 77 to mid 79 where some subset of Christine, Lindsay, and Stevie appeared: “Sentimental Lady,” “Magnet and Steel,” “Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’,” and “Gold.” I like all of these (I wrote about one of them just two weeks ago), and I imagine that the outside help had something to do with it.

My favorite song of this tiny sub-genre, though, has to be the second single from John Stewart’s Bombs Away Dream Babies, which is at its peak of #28 on this show. I learned from Casey about Stewart’s notable place in the music scene: being part of the second wave of success for the Kingston Trio, writing “Daydream Believer.” One time when my pals and I were rummaging through WTLX’s album closet in the fall of 83, I came across Dream Babies Go Hollywood, the follow-up to his hit record. Perhaps chagrined at not finding the LP with the hit singles (the stash we inherited contained precious few albums you’d call essential for the operation of a radio station–I fear it’d been raided by past generations of jocks or their friends), I regret to say I never gave it a spin.

Back at the beginning of September I wrote about how often it’s nighttime when I think back to the fall of 79. “Midnight Wind” is so much a part of that sense. It evokes the dark thoroughly, from the title, to Stewart’s beckoning lyrics and distant vocals, winding on through to Buckingham’s searing guitar work at the end. But it’s Nicks that ends up stealing the show, wailing like a ghost for Miranda to join the party. It sounds like an offer impossible to refuse, even if one is likely to regret the consequences. I just want to crank this one, put it on repeat, and let it roll.

I didn’t think of myself as a Stevie Nicks fan boy at all back in the day, but she’s received mention several times here at the old blog already. Upon reflection, I do dig a very high percentage of the stuff she wrote/sang between “Rhiannon” and “If Anyone Falls” (perhaps oddly, “Dreams” has never done all that much for me); maybe I’m just now connecting some dots that have always been there.

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