The Fleetwood Mac Song ‘Go Your Own Way’ Was Inspired By This Rolling Stones Track

The Fleetwood Mac song “Go Your Own Way” from their famous Rumours album was inspired by a hit track by The Rolling Stones. Here’s what different band members and a producer said about making the classic rock song and which Rolling Stones track influenced it.

Fleetwood Mac, who wrote "Go Your Own Way," poses together at an event.
Fleetwood Mac: (L-R) Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and John McVie | Steve Granitz/Getty Images

‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac was inspired by a Rolling Stones song

Former Fleetwood Mac producer Ken Caillat, who worked on the Rumours album, revealed what it was like creating the song “Go Your Own Way.” Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham wrote the hit about his breakup with bandmate Stevie Nicks.

“Lindsey was beating his acoustic guitar as hard as he could and screaming his lungs out. The first time I heard it, I thought, ‘What the heck is going on?’” Caillat told MusicRadar in 2012. “It sounded so non-musical. I didn’t know if anything would come from it.”

But the song came together, becoming the lead single from the band’s most successful album. Caillat revealed that the drum part was inspired by a popular Rolling Stones track.

“The right drum approach was crucial. One day, Lindsey came in and said he heard ‘Street Fighting Man’ by the Stones, and he thought that kind of feel would work well,” said the producer. “I remember watching him guide Mick [Fleetwood] as to what he wanted – he’d be so animated, like a little kid, playing these air tom fills with his curly hair flying. Mick wasn’t so sure he could do what Lindsey wanted, but he did a great job, and the song took off.”

Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood described recording ‘Go Your Own Way’ with Lindsey Buckingham 

Fleetwood Mac’s drummer and founding member Mick Fleetwood recalled recording “Go Your Own Way” and said that he “never quite” figured out how Lindsey Buckingham wanted the drums section to sound.

“‘Go Your Own Way’s rhythm was a tom-tom structure that Lindsey demoed by hitting Kleenex boxes or something. I never quite got to grips with what he wanted, so the end result was my mutated interpretation,” Fleetwood told Q Magazine (per Songfacts). “It became a major part of the song, a completely back-to-front approach that came, I’m ashamed to say, from capitalizing on my own ineptness.”

He added that Stevie Nicks, who sang backup vocals on the track, was not happy with some of the lyrics about her. “There was some conflict about the ‘crackin’ up, shackin’ up’ line, which Stevie felt was unfair, but Lindsey felt strongly about,” Fleetwood said. “It was basically, ‘On your bike, girl!’”

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Stevie Nicks admits she ‘resented’ a line from the hit song

The Fleetwood Mac singer has admitted that she “resented” a particular line in “Go Your Own Way.” She found the lyrics “Tell me why/ Everything turned around/ Packing up/ Shacking up is all you want to do” offensive.

“I very, very much resented him telling the world that ‘packing up, shacking up’ with different men was all I wanted to do,” Nicks told Rolling Stone in October 1997. “He knew it wasn’t true. It was just an angry thing that he said.”

She continued, “Every time those words would come out onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him. He knew it, so he really pushed my buttons through that. It was like, ‘I’ll make you suffer for leaving me.’ And I did. For years.”

But the singer got back at her ex-boyfriend with the Rumours song “Dreams.” “‘Dreams’ and ‘Go Your Own Way’ are what I call the ‘twin songs,’” she told Mojo magazine in January 2013 (per Songfacts). “They’re the same song written by two people about the same relationship.”