Why Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie Loves ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ by the Beatles

The Beatles have several celebrity fans, including one Fleetwood Mac member who named “Roll Over Beethoven” as one of her favorite songs. Here’s what we learned about Christine McVie and her childhood growing up in a “Beatlemania” household. 

The Beatles recorded songs by other artists — including Chuck Berry

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac perform at Wembley Arena
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac perform at Wembley Arena | Pete Still/Redferns

The Beatles are known for songs written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and other band members. Sometimes the rock group covered originals by other artists. 

The rock band covered several Chuck Berry originals, including “Carol.” “Roll Over Beethoven” made it one of the band’s albums, even impacting one Fleetwood Mac member.

Christine McVie named a Beatles recording one of her favorite songs

The Beatles even inspired other chart-topping musicians. In 1963, The Beatles released their full-length collection With the Beatles. That included “Roll Over Beethoven,” later named a favorite song of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie.

“My parents bought me this album for Christmas, and it was during Beatlemania,” McVie said during an interview with Far Out Magazine. “I was one of the Beatlemaniacs. I must have been about 19-20; oh, I played this record until there was nothing left of it.” 

This song was originally written by Chuck Berry, later recorded by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Now, the Beatles’ version of “Roll Over Beethoven” has over 30 million Spotify plays.

“It was all about the melodies, the songs, the harmonies,” she continued. “The voices were so upfront and crystal clear. I think their use of space was so crucial.”

The lyrics to “Roll Over Beethoven” reference the phrase “roll over in your grave,” meaning that someone isn’t peaceful in death. With the impact and popularity of rock music, it makes sense that the classic composer would be shocked even while dead.

“Well gonna write a little letter,” the introduction states. “Gonna mail it to my local D.J. / It’s a rocking little record / I want my jockey to play / Roll over Beethoven / Gotta hear it again today.”

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Did Fleetwood Mac ever work with the Beatles?

There’s some overlap between the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac’s music, with both releasing originals in the 1960s. However, the Beatles officially split as a band in 1970, the Fleetwood Mac continuing to release Tango in the Night (1987), Rumours (1977), and other hit albums. 

Even if The Beatles noted Fleetwood Mac’s impact on Abbey Road, the bands never recorded music together.

Christine McVie, who appeared as a keyboardist and vocalist for the group, wasn’t a founding Fleetwood Mac member. She joined in 1970, with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joining shortly after. 

As a songwriter, McVie spearheaded originals like “Songbird” and “You Make Loving Fun.” She also co-wrote “The Chain” with the four other band members — Nicks, Buckingham, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. 

Now, music by Fleetwood Mac is available on most major streaming platforms.