The Story of... 'Don't Stop' by Fleetwood Mac

2 December 2022, 16:17

'Don't Stop' is one of Fleetwood Mac's most successful and enduring songs. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
'Don't Stop' is one of Fleetwood Mac's most successful and enduring songs. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

"Don't stop thinking about tomorrow."

Fleetwood Mac's pop rock stomper is undoubtedly one of the most optimistic and uplifting songs of the past half century.

It's also one of the most successful and enduring songs from the long list of illustrious anthems that have made Fleetwood Mac a globally adored band since the 1970s.

It's a love letter to moving on with your life, and forever focusing on the silver linings to get you through times of difficulty.

But what inspired the song? Who wrote it? Did it have an impact on a presidential election?

Here's all you need to know about Fleetwood Mac's 'Don't Stop'.

Who wrote ‘Don’t Stop’?

Fleetwood Mac's keyboardist and singer Christine McVie penned the lyrics to 'Don't Stop'.

Since joining the group in 1968, Christine was an ever-steady presence helping the British band transition from their blues beginnings into a pop rock powerhouse.

It wasn't until 1971 that she began to flourish as a songwriter in the band, and soon became one of their key creative components.

She was integral in the most successful iteration of Fleetwood Mac, writing some of their biggest hits like 'Everywhere' and 'Little Lies' after 'Don't Stop'.

What inspired ‘Don’t Stop’?

Christine McVie in 1978.
Christine McVie in 1978. Picture: Alamy

Fleetwood Mac's internal troubles were well-documented during the writing and recording of their iconic album Rumours.

Having initially joined the band being married to bassist John McVie, the couple filed for divorce after eight years together. But of course they remained bandmates throughout the entire time.

Originally called 'Yesterday's Gone', Christine wrote the song as a positive affirmation for the former lovers, as an ode to leaving the past behind.

It's one of the sunnier moments on Rumours, given that most of the bandmate's creative contributions were centred around their relationship turmoil.

The trials and tribulations of life on the road whilst juggling a marriage became too much for Christine, who broke up with John and filed for divorce whilst they were on tour.

"I was aware of it being rather irresponsible. I had to do it for my sanity. It was either that or me ending up in a lunatic asylum", she said in an interview a year after they split.

Not that John McVie was entirely aware he directly inspired the song, saying in 2015: "I never put that together. I’ve been playing it for years and it wasn’t until somebody told me, ‘Chris wrote that about you.’ Oh really?"

Did ‘Don’t Stop’ help Bill Clinton become president of the United States?

Bill Clinton used 'Don't Stop' as the theme to his presidential election campaign in 1992, so it did in fact help him become POTUS.

Clinton was the first 'baby boomer' president, so wanted to use a track that appealed to voters in this demographic and had a positive message.

It also hinted at a message for the public to move on from his own relationship transgressions and marital strife, though was mainly taken as a song of hope and renewal during the election campaign.

Was Bill Clinton the reason Fleetwood Mac got back together?

Former US president Bill Clinton has remained good friends with Fleetwood Mac throughout the years.
Former US president Bill Clinton has remained good friends with Fleetwood Mac throughout the years. Picture: Alamy

As Bill Clinton won his presidential campaign, his use of 'Don't Stop' thrust Fleetwood Mac back into the spotlight.

At the time, the Rumours-era lineup hadn't performed together since 1982 - Lindsey Buckingham quit the band just before the tour for 1987's Tango In The Night, and Stevie Nicks left in 1991.

Using his presidential persuasion, Clinton managed to get Fleetwood Mac to reunite for his inaugural gala in 1993 the day before he was sworn into office.

From then onwards, Fleetwood Mac went from strength to strength and transformed into the arena rock band we now them as now.

When was ‘Don’t Stop’ released and how did it perform?

The iconic Fleetwood Mac lineup of Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, and Stevie Nicks. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
The iconic Fleetwood Mac lineup of Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, and Stevie Nicks. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images). Picture: Getty
'Don't Stop' was released as the third single from 1977's Rumours.
'Don't Stop' was released as the third single from 1977's Rumours. Picture: Alamy

'Don't Stop' featured on Fleetwood Mac's best-selling 1977 album Rumours and was released as the third single.

In the US the song would peak at No.3 on the Billboard charts, but didn't fare quite as well in the UK only reaching No. 32.

‘Don’t Stop’ was the last song that Christine McVie would ever perform with Fleetwood Mac

On 30th November 2022, Fleetwood Mac legend Christine McVie sadly passed away at the age of 79 after a short illness.

The final ever time she'd perform with Fleetwood Mac was on November 20th, 2019, at Dreamfest in San Francisco’s Oracle Park.

In what could now be seen as an incredibly poignant moment, the band closed out their set with 'Don't Stop', the song that Christine would lend her immaculate voice to for the last time.

A song so synonymous with Christine McVie that it could very well be considered her theme tune, it's fitting that it'd also mark the end of her tenure with Fleetwood Mac.

Has anyone else covered ‘Don’t Stop’?

Several artists have covered 'Don't Stop', most notably the likes of Elton John and Status Quo.

In 2013, Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt covered the iconic Fleetwood Mac song for that year's John Lewis advert which saw it reach No.61 in the charts.