Studio Version Appears on Say You Will (2003)
I heard that Lindsey wrote this song in two different phases of a relationship (I suppose with Cheri) - the chorus when things were going good, then the verses when things were going bad. She's giving him a hard time, she's messing with him, it's running hot and cold (sounds familiar. Poor Lindsey - same problems over and over.) She steals away, then she wants to kiss him - when he wants her, she pretends not to notice him, pretends that she's not there, pretends that she doesn't care about him and doesn't miss him. All this after she calls to him! He doesn't know what to do. He just wants to love her - really badly! He would bleed to do it! Ouch! He's willing to work at it, even if she isn't. "Somebody's got to see this through... somebody's got to sacrifice" to make this relationship work.
However, there is another layer to this song in light of the FM reunion that I find very interesting. The bridge beginning with "Somebody's got to see this through" is word-for-word the same as the bridge in You Do or You Don't. That song is about his determination to leave FM. Now, years later, he's back again - and I think the insertion of the same words in this song is a deliberate attempt to show that things have come full circle. He changes the context so that it applies to the personal healing he's receiving from the reunion as opposed to the personal healing he once got from escaping FM all those years ago.
This time, the sacrifice he's making is his pride, a sacrifice which is necessary if he's going to work with FM, make the reunion "work out right" - not just musically or monetarily, but on a personal level as well. After all, "all the world" could see the conflicts, and probably found them fascinating - definitely entertaining! Now, they're going to see that those conflicts have been resolved. Very appropriate for The Dance, and very clever of Lindsey, I must say, to use the device of lyrical repetition to achieve that full-circle effect.
LADY Q T speculates:
To begin with, I think my analogy has to do with Lindsey's inability to really ever get over Stevie for good. I read somewhere that at the beginning of The Dance tour, Lindsey had actually dedicated BTLH to Stevie a few nights, not to Kristen. This got me thinking. Then, I read something about someone trying to get over an ex-boyfriend, but she just wouldn't leave him alone, and people kept telling her not to "pick at the scabs". That just brought to mind BTLH. And I began to think about how Lindsey was trying to get over Stevie all these years, but everytime the wound would heal a little, he would see her again... perhaps she would "reach out to kiss" him... or "takes [his] breath away"... or "once again she calls to [him]". This, in effect, would cause the scab to be taken off of the wound of their love... stop the healing process... and cause him to bleed (in pain) once again.
The fact that Lindsey writes, "I would bleed to love her" is saying that he doesn't want to continue with the healing process... he knows it's going to hurt again to get involved, but he just can't help himself. Also, I think that everytime he sees Stevie, that scab *is* ripped off, and it's very difficult for him to continue to heal, so as long as they are together, it never will. The scab just keeps getting picked off, and he just keeps bleeding and bleeding for her. He knows this, and it seems like the song is saying that he doesn't mind not healing, so long as he can be with her and love her. :-) I think that's *sooo* romantic!
I think this is yet another one of Lindsey's songs that on the surface is about one or more of his girlfriends, yet has Stevie at the core. His phrase "I would bleed to love her" means he wants to love another woman, and he is willing to try very hard, even to the point of causing himself pain. I feel Lindsey has had so much pain over the years because he couldn't let Stevie go, but that he did reach a place in his life for a while when he really did yearn to be free of the "spectre". He had access to many beautiful women, all willing to share their life with him, and since he did try to have long-term relationships that tells you he wanted to be in love with somebody else.
Carol Ann, Cheri, Anne,...etc.. were all pretty and perfectly nice, but it seems wanting to be in love somebody and really feeling that emotion for real are two different things. You can't dictate to your heart, just as he said in GYOW, "Lovin' you isn't the right thing to do, how can I ever change things that I feel?" I think BTLH is about him trying to change what his heart feels, but it's not working. It didn't work at the time this was written, and from all appearances present day SYW Lindsey has all but given that notion up! I guess he now knows you can't tell your heart how to react.
So, bottom line, you can want to be in love, even to the point that you would bleed to to do it, but if your heart belongs to another, it cannot be done..... not for all of the beautiful and tantalizing women in the world.
I see Stevie in every line...once again she steals away , then she reaches out to kiss me...it is SOOOO typical of their relationship that there is this DANCE of love/hate... and how she takes my breath away, pretending she doesnt miss me....to me, it is an obvious reference to Lindsey's reaction to Stevie's act of indifference....
Once again she calls to me, then she vanishes in thin air (here I see ties to Stevie's "track a ghost thru the fog" bit) how she takes my breath away, pretending she's not there...(Stevie may think she's invisible, but apparently Lindsey sees her)
and the chorus is most telling of all: Oh I would bleed to love her.......... I get an image of a man willing to die for this love, someone who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Later on: somebody's got to see this thru, all the world is laughing at you......Lindsey is very aware of how the world perceives this relationship; somebody's got to sacrifice, If this whole thing's gonna turn out right........ as I said above, Lindsey is saying he is willing to make that sacrifice, and I think the only thing left is for HER to be there.
all in all, a very hopeful song and if his performance on the Dance is any indication, Stevie should be very encouraged!
When I first saw/heard this song performed on The Dance, I naturally assumed Lindsey had written it for Stevie. . .even after I heard him dedicate it to Kristen on tour, I still believed it had been intended for Stevie when composed. However, with all of the speculation of an affair between Lindsey and Christine, Ive begun to view Bleed to Love Her in a very different light. Never before had I noticed the intense stares Lindsey and Chris share during this song on The Dance. If you watch closely youll see that Lindsey is NOT looking at Stevie. In fact, Stevie is in her own little world dancing in front of Micks drum kit. Lindsey and Chris have their eyes locked on each other. If Lindsey had been looking at Stevie while singing this, the camera would have focused on Stevie as it does during other songs, like Silver Springs. Instead, we have a lot of Christine close-ups, which is very telling.
It seems to me that if this relationship really happened, there would be many reasons for them wanting to keep it secret, not the least of which was for the bands survival. How many intra-FM affairs have caused serious psychic damage? LOL But furthermore, if you believe that the affair was ongoing from the time of Christines solo album, both would have also been in and out of relationships with other people for quite awhile. In saying that he wrote Bleed to Love Her for either Stevie or Kristen, Lindsey would have been protecting Christine as well as himself from the anger of any other people involved.
Having said that, I also think that the lyrics to this song fit far better with Christines personality, rather than Stevies:
Once again she steals away
Then she reaches out to kiss me
How she takes my breath away
Pretending that she dont miss me
There is no way that Stevie would ever pretend anything with Lindsey. All of her emotions are readily accessible in her music, she pours her heart out beautifully through her lyrics. If she were really missing Lindsey, it doesnt follow that she would deny that to him. She would just go out and write something amazing about her pain!
On the other hand, Christine seems like a very reserved person, and as others have speculated on here, she probably would have been fighting her feelings for Lindsey much harder than he would have for her. She seems more likely to put the band before her own desires, whereas I believe that Lindsey would not have been thinking about how badly their being together would have affected Fleetwood Mac (particularly Stevie, who has said that Christine is/was her best friend). He would have just done whatever he wanted (as Stevie says of him in Thrown Down).
Christines inaccessibility seems to be a very attractive quality for Lindsey. Its as if under her hesitation and reservation, he knows that she cares, but just doesnt want to leave herself in a vulnerable position. In response, Lindsey wants to show her that he would do anything for her, that he would Bleed to Love Her.
Also, the line of her stealing away conjures up the image of someone hiding an affair. As Ive previously stated, there would have been plenty of reasons for them to keep the particulars of their relationship from the rest of the band, and the rest of the world.
This notion of stealing away also paints a picture of someone who does not seem to enjoy the spotlight very much. Christine has said time and again that she doesnt enjoy touring. When I hear that line, I get a mental image of her absolutely hating to go out on stage, but finding herself comforted by Lindseys presence beside her. So perhaps it refers to Chris enduring something she doesnt like to do in order to steal away afterwards to be with Lindsey. This notion is reinforced by the speculation on Everybody Finds Out where someone suggests that Stevie was angered by the two of them sneaking off anytime, anywhere. I also believe that the opening lyrics of Thrown Down, which Stevie says were written during The Dance tour, are about her watching Lindsey and Christine falling in love again while playing night after night together on the same stage. But thats another speculation altogether!
Anyway, the next verse:
Once again she calls to me
Then she vanishes in thin air
How she takes my breath away
Pretending that shes not there
Again we have the imagery of someone not comfortable with her feelings. She calls to him, but then denies her need for him to be there with her. Once more, Lindsey appears to be enchanted by her elusive nature. Pretending that shes not there reminds me EXACTLY of Christine. When shes on stage, I always get the impression that shed rather go unnoticed. Unlike Stevie, Christine has no dances or shawls or twirls to show the crowd. She sits behind her piano and is very quiet with her craft. But Lindsey notices her in spite of this and believes there to be a beautiful, romantic quality about her humility. It takes [his] breath away.
Somebodys got to see this through
All the world is laughing at you
Somebodys got to sacrifice
If this whole things gonna turn out right
This verse, to me, is multi-faceted and could be in reference to several things. First, the words imply that there are barriers between them already and that neither side is doing much to remove them. Yet the force behind saying that someones GOT to see it though is indicative of an emotional situation that will not resolve itself of its own accord.
When Lindsey sings All the world is laughing at you, he could be suggesting that he, himself, feels foolish for chasing Christine, who is acting laissez-faire about his attentions. Maybe other people (even members of the band) remarked upon the unwise course of pursing a married woman (at the time Chris would have been still married to Eddy Quintela), and he felt that Christine was only toying with his affections. However, it could also be Lindsey voicing Christines fears . .perhaps she had insecurities about the relationship. She may have thought that she would be compared to Stevie by the rest of the world if they began something serious. Lets face it, most of the Fleetwood Mac mystery & romance is centered around this huge, larger-than-life, legend, this Buckingham-Nicks legend. Christine could have felt that she would never measure up to that.
Whatever hes referring to, Lindsey is adamant about the necessity of sacrifice. He takes the stance that they are both adults, and adults make concessions when they truly desire something. Only children believe they can have it all. To this end, it feels like hes saying Ill give up everyone else just to be with you, but you have to do the same for me too. If I show you that I would do anything, could you possibly return the favour?
In conclusion, Ive read elsewhere that Lindsey wrote this song during two periods of a relationship: its beginning and its decline. This would seem to fit if he wrote the beginning verses somewhere between Chriss solo effort & Tango in the Night, and wrote the bridge Somebodys got to see this thru. . . later on, during the album that led to The Dance reunion.
Although we can never really know why Christine left the band, if you are one of those (like me) who think it was more than just her distaste of touring, this would make perfect sense. Here is Lindsey, singing a song about how badly he wants to be with her, about the sacrifices they have to make, and the obstacles theyre destined to overcome, and then suddenly his girlfriend is pregnant and hes getting married. That would for sure make *me * never want to see him again!
So thats my speculation. Again, just my opinion, I know its a controversial subject for many FM fans, so I hope I didnt offend anyone. :)
Aisling has something there!!! As Stevie and Mick had their "secret affairs"on many tour videos Lindsey's being comforted and kissed by Christine! She nurtured Linz in a way Stevie did not!!! Stevie makes the moves! Chris soothes him with a grin and knowing sexually charged purrrrr!The Loving Looks on The Dance and Their Adorable Kiss with Their Lips at the end bow are so heavy! Lindsey's a Sexy Man!
Oh, and don't forget the first time Chris saw him unfold his handsome body out of his car she thought..."Oh, who cares if he plays guitar...he is gorgeous!!!" (1975) "We can jam on piano and guitar and play around each other!"LB/ Oh, Yesssss!:-)
Christine saw Linz as a MAN! Stevie bossed him as the 16 yr old boy she knew!!! He was nervous around Stevie on the doc.,we felt sorry for him being so worried! Of course we admire Lindsey and follow his career and new life with vigor!!!
That song was all about Stevie and her only. They still love each other and always will. That's the only man in her life that will never ever go away. If we are lucky we will all have a love like that. Lindsay, you're a lucky man.
I've been reviewing the latest BTLH and EFO speculations, particularly those suggesting an affair between Christine and Lindsey. While this does open a whole new plain of thought . . . I just can't imagine Christine risking her friendship with Stevie and the future of FM over Lindsey.
As earlier writers have noted, Christine has been the healer in FM, a calming presence during some pretty rowdy and chaotic times. She balances Stevie and Lindsey's volatile emotions. She's the level-headed, common sensical one. I can just close my eyes and imagine, during the most heated arguments during the recording of Rumours, Christine keeping the peace between the two.
While Christine is the down-to-earth one, Lindsey (and I love him to death), can be a bit of a diva at times. I think back to the often mentioned episode during the New Zealand leg of the Tusk tour, when a drunken Lindsey mocked and physically attacked Stevie during a performance. It was Christine who, after the show, slapped Lindsey across the face and warned, "Don't you ever do this to this band again!" Christine defending the friend and band she loves. I just imagine Christine barely being able to tolerate Lindsey. I'm sure she respects his awesome talents as a singer, songwriter, and musician, but that doesn't mean she wants to socialize with him (much less have an affair with him). No matter what our occupation is, factory worker, health-care provider, teacher, or rock-n-roll star, just because you get along with someone at the job doesn't mean you want to spend time with him/her off the clock.
I'm also reminded of Stevie's comments regarding the breakup of Christine and John's marriage. She recalls with a shudder a terrified Christine hiding in Stevie's hotel room while John, in a drunken rage, tore up and down the hallways "screaming her name." I imagine Stevie and Christine sitting up through those long nights, sharing their feelings about Lindsey and John, the men they loved. I DO NOT believe that Christine would be capable of this ultimate betrayal to Stevie, an affair with the love of her life, after being offered protection and a shoulder to cry on by Stevie. Whether or not my musings on Christine's personal feelings toward Lindsey are accurate, I'm sure we all agree that Christine is too classy a lady to violate the trust of the woman she calls her best friend.
Everyone who has contributed their opinions on this topic have made some excellent points . . . a Christine/Lindsey affair would certainly fill in alot of blanks. I just don't think that Christine, even if she were wildly attracted to Lindsey, would risk her friendship and band for him.
I guess we'll just have to wait for Stevie to write her book!
MALICIOUS MATT speculates:
I think the "Webmistress speculation" over this song pretty much hits the nail on the head. It amazes me to think that some people still think Stevie and Lindsey write all their songs about each other. Its a nice fantasy, but they've had 28 or 29 years to get together and get hitched, but they've moved on. Whatever, nice song whatever interpretation you give it.