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Fleetwood Mac‘s Grammy award-winning, 20-times platinum, No. 1 record, Rumours turned 45 years old on Feb. 4. It’s often considered the band’s magnum opus because of its hits like “Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop,” and “The Chain.”

However, while some fans might know the album like the back of their hand, they may not know something about its iconic album cover. There’s a subtle tribute to earlier days in the group, and it’s strategically placed, dangling between Mick Fleetwood’s legs.

Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks on the cover of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album, 'Rumours.'
The cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ | Jay L. Clendenin /LA Times/Getty Images

The reason why there are two balls hanging between Mick Fleetwood’s legs on the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’

In 1976, Herbert Worthington photographed Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks for the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Fleetwood is holding Nicks’ hand as she poses in her most Rhiannon-like stance.

However, the cover’s real eye-opener is the two wooden balls dangling between Fleetwood’s legs.

According to Rolling Stone, the balls, which are actually “lavatory chains,” are “more than a spur-of-the-moment boyish prank.” They are a nod to one of Fleetwood Mac’s earliest gigs.

“I must admit I had a couple of glasses of English ale – and came out of the toilet with these,” Fleetwood told Maui Time in 2009. “I was very destructive – I ripped them off the toilet and had them hanging down between my legs.”

The wooden balls are also a nod to Fleetwood’s ‘musical lineage’

While the placement of the wooden balls on the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is humorous, “Fleetwood felt it was an appropriate nod to his musical lineage,” Rolling Stone wrote.

“In truth, I started off as a blues player,” Fleetwood continued. “The whole ethic of a lot of blues music is slightly suggestive, might I say. And suitably, I walked out on stage with these two lavatory chains with these wooden balls hanging down, and after that it just stuck.”

For this reason, the balls became Fleetwood’s good luck talisman. They made an appearance at almost all of Fleetwood Mac’s performances, but the originals got lost on the road.

However, Fleetwood had a replica made and makes do with that pair. “I won’t say they’re as old as me, but – it starts getting into X-rated commentary here – my balls are quite old.”


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The balls weren’t Fleetwood’s only prop during Fleetwood Mac gigs

Along with having his balls with him at all times on the road, Fleetwood also went through a long period of placing a dildo on the top of his bass drum. He called it “Harold,” and it soon became the group’s mascot.

However, Harold almost got Fleetwood Mac into some serious trouble.

“Harold’s showbiz life came to a crashing end at an American Southern Baptist college, where we were very nearly arrested for his performance,” Fleetwood told The Express (per Rolling Stone). “Poor Harold was too much for them and, much to my wife’s chagrin, he ended his days on show, sitting on our pine corner cabinet.”

It’s good to know that Fleetwood Mac still had their sense of humor. For most of the 1970s, there was a lot of drama between the five bandmates.

Now, 45 years later, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is still one of the best selling and most popular albums in music history. That cover, and Fleetwood’s wooden balls, will never get old.