Dia Dipasupil/Getty ImagesIt’s not every band that gets an award presented to them by a former president. But then, it’s not every former president who credits a band for helping him get elected.
President Bill Clinton was on hand to honor Fleetwood Mac as the “MusiCares Person of the Year” Friday night New York City. They were the first band — as opposed to solo artist — ever honored at the annual pre-Grammy event, which raises money for the charitable arm of the Recording Academy.
“I want to say how honored I am to honor the band whose famous song ‘Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow’ has been played for me more than ‘Hail to the Chief,'” said Clinton. He recalled that the idea to use Fleetwood Mac’s signature song was given to him in 1991, when a young man who picked him up at the airport in California encouraged him to run for president, and then suggested “Don’t Stop” be his campaign theme song.
“They can still bring us to our feet, put a song in our hearts and remind us never to stop thinking about tomorrow,” said Clinton, before presenting Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie with their awards.
“You are magical. You are fantastic,” Stevie said of the band’s fans, as part of a long speech that was at times touching and hilarious. “We love you, because you’re just awesome!” She also spoke about how thrilling it was to see so many artists perform Fleetwood Mac songs, how grateful they are to have fans of many generations, and how her heart would always be broken over the death of her BFF Tom Petty, last year’s MusiCares honoree.
During the evening, artists from the worlds of pop, country and alternative rock took the stage to perform Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits. Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band and Alison Krauss represented country, performing, respectively, “Dreams,” “Secondhand News,” “Don’t Stop” and “Songbird.”
On the red carpet, Keith Urban recalled that, as a kid growing up in Australia, his next door neighbors bought Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1977 album Rumors the day it came out and then threw a party where they played the album over and over again. “I remember that night so vividly,” he said, citing the album’s first track, “Secondhand News,” as his favorite Mac tune.
The Mac themselves closed out the evening with five of their classics: “The Chain,” “Little Lies,” “Tusk,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Go Your Own Way.” Harry Styles, the One Direction member who cites Fleetwood Mac as as a major inspiration for his solo album, joined in on “The Chain.”
Here’s who performed what:
Imagine Dragons, “Big Love”
Brandi Carlile, “Say You Love Me”
Portugal. The Man, “I’m So Afraid”
Juanes, “Hold Me”
Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas, “Songbird”
Keith Urban, “Secondhand News”
Lorde, “Silver Springs”
Jared Leto, “Never Going Back Again”
Miley Cyrus, “Landslide”
Zac Brown Band, “Don’t Stop”
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