Friday, January 22, 2010

Fleetwood Mac: Sentimental Lady

When the band Paris broke up, guitarist/vocalist Bob Welch finished up the songs that were projected for the band’s fated third album and released it as his first solo LP: “French Kiss.” Along with the LP, the first single, “Sentimental Lady,” was resurrected from the material he recorded with Fleetwood Mac. While the original from the LP “Bare Trees” was released as a single, it failed to chart, although it received some minimal album radio airplay. As this Friday’s First cut, I am featuring the original Fleetwood Mac version which also included Bob Welch on vocals.

When Welch redid the tune, he did the following: he sped it up slightly, he cut out a verse, and shortened the song from 4:34 to 2:58. In the 1970s, a single under three minutes had better chances for radio airplay. The tactic worked. In addition, he enlisted two of his former Fleetwood Mac band mates, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood to provide respective backing vocals and drums. In a turn of fate, his replacement in Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham played guitar and sang backup. Buckingham also arranged the tune and he and McVie were the single’s producers.

The song was written for and about Welch’s first wife, Nancy. It became a signature tune for Fleetwood Mac during the pre-Buckingham/Nicks FM days and signaled a change in direction for the band. Donald Brackett in Fleetwood Mac: 40 Years of Creative Chaos (2007) assessed today’s feature: “[T]he best of their [Fleetwood Mac’s] new softer and highly commercial direction was conveyed by Bob Welch’s almost too gentle “Sentimental Lady,” a perfectly crafted love song that was both a hit for Mac and an even bigger hit for Welch when he re-released it as a solo record several years later” (p. 90).

The Hit Version

The Forgotten Fleetwood Mac Member

Unfortunately for Welch, he was not chosen to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac. The inductees included Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Jeremy Spencer. While most of the inductees are unquestioned, I feel that the inclusion of Danny Kirwin and the omission of Bob Welch was a gross error. The inductees included the popular version of Fleetwood Mac and Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer who were founding members, but also included Kirwin who was from the band’s middle period.

A comparison of the contributions of Kirwan and Welch show that Welch’s either equaled or exceeded the contributions of Kirwin.

Danny KirwanBob Welch
Years in Band4.5 years4 years
Exit from the BandFired on TourQuit at end of Tour
Albums with FM45
Song Writer17 Songs20 Songs
Song Collaborator3 Songs3 Songs
Average Album Chart Position8562

In addition to “Sentimental Lady,” two of Welch’s other songs received extensive album airplay in the US. These included “Hypnotized” (from “Mystery to Me”) and “Bermuda Triangle” (from “Heroes are Hard to Find”). I have no qualms in regard to including both Kirwan and Welch as inductees, as their contributions during the middle period of the band were extensive; however, to feature either one without the other is a “mystery to me” (a little FM humor there). Oh well, since the induction occurred 11 years ago, it does not seem that Bob Welch will be recognized for providing four years of great music with Fleetwood Mac.

Next week, Canada's April Wine recycles a little known Canadian recording from several years earlier.


  1. Kirwan (not "Kirwin") which, by the way, to deliberately mispell someone's name is a sign of diminishment--Kirwan was a VASTLY superior musician to your hero Bob Welch in EVERY REGARD. As a guitarist, Welch couldn't hold a candle to Kirwan's brilliant playing and UNEQUALED vibrato. Kirwan's songwriting was superior as well--one example is it was HIS work on BARE TREES that made it a great album, not Welch's "Sentimental Lady". He was also a better singer than Welch. You are obviously not a musician or perhaps you are a "hobbyist" like every other schoolboy with a loser blog.

  2. The one unintentional spelling error was corrected - I spelled his name correctly the other three times. My point was that Welch should not have been snubbed by the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame as his contributions equaled of exceeded those of Kirwan.