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Fleetwood Mac’s dangly balls sell for US$100,000. Here’s the story behind them.

When Fleetwood Mac was putting the finishing touches on the Rumours album, a designer named Desmond Strobel was hired to come up with a concept for the artwork. One of the people he hired was photographer Herbert W. Worthington, someone who had been associated with the LA music scene for years.

The final image featured a witchy, Rhiannon-y Stevie Nicks in a cape with a leg thrown over the thigh of a foppish Mick Fleetwood, half-perched on a stool holding a crystal ball and sporting a couple of dangly balls from the crotch area.

So what does it all mean? Why feature just two of the five members of the band?

No clue–and that’s the whole point. The goal was to create something strange and mysterious, an image that would stand out in the record store. And it certainly worked. Rumours remains one of the best-selling albums in history and the crystal ball became part of the band’s iconic imagery.

But we must talk about the dangly balls. First, they’re made of wood. Second, they’re actually two lavatory chains stolen from toilets that had been with Mick since the early days of Fleetwood Mac. He’d often walk out on stage wearing those things for shock value and after time, they kind of became good luck charms. It’s said that Mick never sat down behind his kit onstage without his toilet chain balls.

Bottom line is that the balls are a big and very personal part of Fleetwood Mac’s history and imagery. Over time, they fell into the possession of the late Christine McVie. Before she passed earlier this month, she’d arranged to have some of per possessions sold at auction.

No wonder then that when the hammer fell at Julien’s, they brought in US$100,000. A lot of money for a couple of pieces stolen from a British crapper, huh?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38291 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Fleetwood Mac’s dangly balls sell for US$100,000. Here’s the story behind them.

  • Fleetwood Mac was a headliner for a concert in 1975 in St Louis called the Super Jam at Busch Stadium. I worked security and saw Mick Fleetwood backstage squeeze one of those balls and a hand leaped out the front of his pants and went back in

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