Deep Dive: Fleetwood Mac, HYPNOTIZED

Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Posed group portrait of Fleetwood Mac in September 1973. Left to right are Bob Weston, Christine McVie, Bob Welch, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

In 1973, Fleetwood Mac was a much different entity than the group most famously fronted by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The outfit was in the middle of a transitional era while recording eighth studio album, Mystery to Me. The previously hardcore blues band was moving in a decidedly more pop direction, courtesy of songwriters Christine McVie and Bob Welch. Among the tunes Welch contributed to the set was the eternal radio favorite, "Hypnotized."

"'Hypnotized' was first a shuffle-time blues rocker for singer Dave Walker (ex-Savoy Brown lead singer) when Fleetwood Mac had Dave on board as a band member for a (very) short while," the late Welch shared with Songfacts. "When we realized that Dave was not fitting in musically with what we were trying to do, I hurriedly re-wrote the lyrics in Christine McVie's upstairs living room at Benifolds, the 'mansion' south of London where we all lived and recorded at the time - it was a 20-room house. The 'playing field' mentioned in one of the verses made a reference to the large grass tennis court which was part of the property... and kind of spooky at night."

Sequenced to land in the middle of side 1 of Mystery to Me, "Hypnotized" was relegated at the b-side of Fleetwood Mac's cover of the Yardbirds' "For Your Love." When the single was sent out to radio programmers and DJs, however, were far more enamored with "Hypnotized."

"I was (and still am) interested in the paranormal - UFOs, the Carlos Castaneda books about the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan - so I incorporated a lot of these themes and references into the song," Welch added about the song's creation. "The 'place down in Mexico' refers to Castaneda's Yaqui sorcerer, Don Juan, who is presumably doing 'astral' travel. The 'strange, strange pond' with 'sides like glass' refers to a strange anomalous depression in the North Carolina woods near Winston-Salem, North Carolina which a friend told me about, which, at the time, freaked him (and his dirt-biking buddies) out."

"Hypnotized" had such staying power at radio that in 1999, Welch received an award from ASCAP recognizing 25 consecutive years of airplay for the song.