Big Love

Written by Lindsey Buckingham

Looking out for love In the night so still Oh, I'll build you a kingdom In that house on the hill Looking out for love Big, big love You said that you loved me And that you always will Oh, you begged me to keep you In that house on the hill Looking out for love Big, big love I wake up alone with it all I wake up, but only to fall Looking out for love Big, big love Just looking out for love Big, big love

Live Versions Appear on The Dance (1997), Live in Boston" (2004), Live at the Bass Performance Hall (2008) and One Man Show (2012)

WEBMISTRESS speculates:

Who is Lindsey talking about here? His girlfriend at the time (I think it was Cheri)? Stevie? Both? I'm guessing it's Cheri. I think Lindsey was disenchanted with her and was looking out for something different - a "big love." The statement "I wake up alone with it all" is very telling. If he has it all, why is he alone? Why does he "wake up only to fall"? He's not happy and won't be until he finds that "big love." I believe, however, he didn't break up with her until a few years later, so I guess he was hoping he was in his big love after all!

By the way, how about those suggestive sounds? Lindsey's having a little too much fun with the VSO (or whatever the heck the dohickey he's using is called)! Why are they there, anyway? Well, when you have a "big love" surely the sex is good!

Editorial note: The first time I heard this song it was on The Dance. I absolutely loved all that fancy guitar work and when I heard this version I really missed it. Yet when I went back to The Dance version, I missed the electric guitar at the end of this version! Aargh!


DW speculates:

This was one of the songs Lindsey started between 84-86 that was originally intended for his third solo album, but eventually ended up on Fleetwood Mac's Tango In the Night. Given that time frame, I believe this song probably touches on the lingering themes of the Go Insane album (breakup with Carol Ann), and is about deciding that he can't mourn that breakup anymore. He's ready to find the new "big love" for whom he envisions he'll make his house a kingdom. It doesn't drip with the soothing confidence of a man who knows this big love is just around the corner though. Instead, there's a lusty, slightly frantic urgency.

I believe the second verse refers back to Carol. It indicates to me that there came a time during their breakup, perhaps right at the end, where she finally fully realized what she was losing and pleaded to stay. His answer to those pleas is explained by the chorus - he's looking to the future for something/someone he hopes is out there. There's no sense of gloating or satisfaction though. The Go Insane album showed that ending things with Carol was agonizing. Plus, it's hard to say "no" to someone who is struggling, like Carol Ann was (but it's imperative when that person's problems consume your life).

The third verse may be a glimpse at the loneliness after Carol: the waking up with memories that are hard to bury; the pangs of guilt and possible regret he may have occasionally felt about her; and the "now that I've let her go, what if I can't find someone else about whom I feel so much?" feelings. Those fears are followed immediately by the chorus of "lookin' out for love!" Did he think Cheri was going to be the big love when he met her and did she inspire it, or was he already working on the song when they fell in love? Hard to say.

The verses and the chorus seem like two different sides of his brain in a struggle. One represents the doubt and the other represents the determination. His determination in the chorus shouts down the doubts in the verses. The infamous (and funny and serious and unsettling and evocative and erotic) "love grunts" throughout the song ultimately demonstrate the fiery passion he longs to feel again.

JIM speculates:

When I listen to Big Love on Tango and Dance, I get different impressions. On Tango, it sounds like he is looking for the next big love as something to look forward to finding. He's alone but he's looking for the big love that will bring him happiness. On The Dance version, I get almost the entirely opposite impression. On the video, he begins the song by saying that he "does this song differently now". When he says he's looking out for love, I believe he means it in the sense to avoid this big love. Usually when you tell someone to "look out", its a warning of danger (Look out for the poison ivy). If its something positive, you tell the person to "look for" it. It seems that everytime he finds big love, he ends up waking up alone and taking a fall. He builds a kingdom for her, but he wakes up alone and falls. She says that she loves him, and that she always will, but he wakes up alone and falls. At the end of the song it sounds like he's in incredible pain (the Tango version, it sounds like he's having a good time).

I believe that the Big Love he sings about is the type of love where you fall quickly head over heels and rush into a relationship too soon, only to have it blow up in your face. The type of love to look for, not to look out for, is the "small love", where you gradually fall in love and take things slow. I think it's incredible how Lindsey can take the same lyrics and give them different meaning, much like the lines "Someone's gotta see this through, all the world is laughing at you, someone's gotta sacrifice, if this whole thing's gonna turn out right" in You Do or You Don't and Bleed to Love Her.


Tango in the Night | BN Albums