The Fleetwood Mac Song In Which Mick Fleetwood Exploits His ‘Ineptness’
The story of how a track was produced is sometimes more interesting than its writing process. While some songs might arise from personal experiences, they can also be inspired or impacted by health struggles. This was the case with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’ in which Mick Fleetwood played the drums differently due to his learning disability and completely changed the song’s initial sound trajectory.
Sometimes the very thing that might be considered a hindrance to most could very well become the thing that ensures the most unusual outcome. For instance, Mick Fleetwood’s dyslexia changed his way of thinking about rhythm and how he plays the drums, and because of his health struggle, he significantly contributed to one of the bands most popular songs, ‘Go Your Own Way.’
The song’s journey started with Lindsey Buckingham bringing the track to Fleetwood, influenced by the Rolling Stones’ ‘Street Fighting Man.’ Although the initial goal was to have a similar sound, Mick’s attempt was further from anything they had heard anyone do before, but it perfectly complemented the track that became a top 10 hit.
“The rhythm was a tom-tom structure that Lindsey demoed by hitting Kleenex boxes or something,” Fleetwood had said in the documentary ‘Classic Albums.’ “I never quite got to grips with what he wanted, so the end result was my mutated interpretation. It became a major part of the song, a completely back-to-front approach that came, and I’m ashamed to say, from capitalizing on my ineptness.”
After the song became what it is today, Fleetwood shared that the incompetence he believed he had resulted from his learning disability. “Dyslexia has absolutely tempered the way I think about rhythm and the way I’ve played my instrument,” he wrote in his memoir, ‘Play On.’ “By nature, what we drummers do is manage a series of spinning plates, but my methods of keeping my plates spinning are entirely my own. I really had no idea, nor the ability to explain in musical terms, what I was ever doing in a particular song.”
The complexity and atypical nature of his playing on ‘Go Your Own Way’ were also astonishing for other drummers. As they continued to talk about his playing and the rhythms he created, Fleetwood realized he was unaware of how the song came about, as it was a natural consequence of a health struggle. His dyslexia was a blessing in disguise, allowing him to create an unusual sound that no one in the rock scene was accustomed to.