Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours sold over 40 million copies, topped charts around the world, and won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Ken Caillat, along with Richard Dashut and the band, produced this album over a span of 12 months in a number of classic studios: Wally Heider Studios (L.A. location), Record Plant (Sausalito), Producer's Workshop, Sound City, Davlen Sound Studios, Criteria Recording (Miami), and even University of California, Berkeley's Zellerbach Auditorium. Ken tells us the story of making this album, in his engaging, candid, and casual way. For us recording geeks, Ken explains a fair amount of the process (while still attempting to make it easy on the layperson). Surprises? They ran two sets of masters in Sausalito and were able to fly the later overdubs back with the help of a genius engineer and a VSO (vari-speed oscillator). Ken hit the tape lightly, ran it at 15 ips speed and used Dolby noise reduction, keeping transients intact and avoiding tape compression. Producer's Workshop, where the pristine mixes of Rumours were completed, is described like it was a revolutionary step forward for studios, with its gear obsessively maintained and modified. Not surprising were the accounts of the breakups, arguments, cocaine, pot, and Lindsey Buckingham being difficult. This book is an excellent companion to the DVD of the Classic Albums episode on the making of Rumours, one of my favorite "making of" documentaries from that UK series, and I devoured it faster than anything I've read recently. Ken, along with Richard, went on to record more Fleetwood Mac albums (Tusk, Mirage, and Live) but as he says at the end of Making Rumours, "That's another story..." 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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