Tango In The Night is 35 | The Popjustice Forum

Tango In The Night is 35

Discussion in 'Comeback corner' started by Eric Generic, Apr 13, 2022.

  1. Sheesh, I nearly forgot this!

    Yep, 13th April 1987. First new Mac album in 5 years. Not even the major pop release of that week (which was Mel & Kim's debut album FLM). But one look at that sleeve and I was hooked.


    Here's what I wrote about it in 2016 for my Top 100 Albums of All-Time countdown here on Popjustice:


    1 Big Love 3:40 (UK single, #9)
    2 Seven Wonders 3:43 (UK single, #56)
    3 Everywhere 3:47 (UK single, #4)
    4 Caroline 3:55
    5 Tango In The Night 4:02
    6 Mystified 3:10
    7 Little Lies 3:41 (UK single, #5)
    8 Family Man 4:07 (UK single, #54)
    9 Welcome To The Room…Sara 3:42
    10 Isn’t It Midnight 4:14 (UK single, #60)
    11 When I See You Again 3:49
    12 You And I, Part II 2:38

    This is, in all likelihood, the most-played album/CD in my collection. Ever since its release on April 13th 1987, I’ve been hooked on Tango In The Night. Long before it became a UK chart-topper and sold more than 1.5 million copies over an 18 month period, I knew this was a special album to me. Its belated commercial ubiquity came as a bit of a shock, however.

    In my mind, this was a dark, intoxicating album driven by Lindsey Buckingham’s creative and aesthetic hand (from the specially-commissioned sleeve to the intricate arrangements and beyond). The key songs were Caroline, Big Love, Family Man and the title track. Stevie Nicks was almost a bystander on the record, although two of her main contributions were passably authentic Mac gems.

    The pretty Christine McVie tracks felt a bit lightweight and frothy by comparison to everything else, but Isn’t It Midnight showed some refreshing bite and drama. Little did I know that it would be the frothy McVie songs which would become most synonymous with Tango In The Night and drive its sales into the stratosphere.

    Which is okay, really, as it was still satisfying to see one of my favourite albums of 1987 do so well. There was an irony to Buckingham actually no longer being part of the promotional and touring campaign in support of an album that was originally drawn from a solo project he was working on, but which he turned into a full Mac album to help the greater cause (Fleetwood’s bankruptcy, Nicks’ addiction woes, Warner Brothers demanding new material after a 5 year gap). His departure buggered up the dynamic of the group, unsurprisingly, and the Tango line-up has still never released another studio album in the years since.

    Warner Brothers quite cleverly managed to ride the storm, and reposition the album as a predominantly McVie-led vehicle with three of the last four singles being hers, and then the subsequent tour and line-up changes put her even more in control.

    An excellent Greatest Hits set followed soon after, again planting a new McVie ballad centre stage, which further minimised the potential fall-out of Fleetwood Mac losing their wayward genius.
  2. What an album. And the chutzpah of closing it with "You And I, Part II" - a seemingly bright, very "Good Morning With Anne & Nick theme tune" track that has the darkest lyric on the entire album (which is saying something).
    Hairycub1969, Isobel and Eric Generic like this.
  3. Yes, it gets remembered as a commercial, frothy record by a lot of people. But it was really a pretty dark, exotic, claustrophobic thing that Lindsey originally conceived.
    nostalgiakills likes this.
  4. Oh, wow. Glad this was commemorated. I still need to open my deluxe set.

    This is one of the few albums where I bought every incarnation of the reissue - single, 2-CD, deluxe box set.

    I guess I'm a fan.
    Eric Generic likes this.
  5. Little Lies was the very first Fleetwood Mac song I ever heard and was obsessed with. Christine's vocal and the layering of the harmonies in the chorus...pure ear candy.
  6. Still think it was bizarre that the UK singles went hit, flop, hit, flop, hit, flop as a series.

    Also greatest series of 80s remixes ever.

    Also a very great album!
  7. Tango In The Night is that rarest of things, a perfect album where every song is essential and takes you on a journey. It is evocative of hazy summer nights and feeling nostalgic for a time that never existed. As a PWL pop kid this is the first "adult" album that I ever bought and my love for it has never diminished over the years.

    I was so pleased that the group didn't block the excellent remixes on the 2017 reissue

    nlgbbbblth, Isobel and Eric Generic like this.
  8. I did the same! And kept the original 1987 disc too.
  9. The original mix is a bit twee for my tastes, but the 12" mix is a banger.
    Andy French likes this.
  10. Yes I recall at the time we were all thinking "oh Lindsey will be all precious about his art, and not let the dance mixes be included".
    idratherjack likes this.
  11. Family Man coming out in December, when Lindsey had left the group, was a choice.
  12. I never knew until years after the fact that Isn't It Midnight had been a single - odd that there was no video or 12" remix done for it. Little Lies was my gateway drug into this album in 1987 but over the years Isn't It Midnight has cemented it's place as my favourite track, it's a brilliant slice of synthy pop/rock.

    I think the album works so well as @Eric Generic says due to the contrast between the darker Lindsey tracks and the pop froth of the Christine songs. Tango In The Night is definitely a desert island disc of mine.
  13. If you have The Chain: 25 Years boxset (or even the 2CD redux edition) there's an "alternative" mix of Midnight, which is more synth-heavy.
    lob0to and idratherjack like this.
  14. This is great!

    Is that the single remix?
    Eric Generic likes this.
  15. Honestly don't know, R1 played the album mix as far as I recall.
    idratherjack likes this.
  16. According to discogs, it was just the LP mix on all UK single formats.
    idratherjack likes this.
  17. Bopgo In The Bop. An album!
  18. My favourite Fleetwood Mac album, I remember hearing Isn't It Midnight on radio 2 a few years ago, and from then on I had to hear this album. Is it fair to say Seven Wonders has had a complete reassessment considering it was a bit of a flop on release?
  19. Rumours and Tusk get the laurels (and they're well deserved!) but this will always be my favorite Mac album. It's so warm, hazy and humid I can almost feel the mosquito bites.
  20. I love that Seven Wonders had a resurgence in popular culture thanks to Stevie's amazing cameo in American Horror Story: Coven

    I got chills the first time I watched that.
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