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The Meaning of Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again”

Rumours Live album cover.

“Never Going Back Again” was penned by Lindsey Buckingham for Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 magnum opus, Rumours. The album famously covers themes of infidelity, breaking up, and relationships turned sour, and “Never Going Back Again” captures that essence in a quant, beautiful package.

“Never Going Back Again” Origins

Buckingham wrote “Never Going Back Again” in the aftermath of his tumultuous breakup with Fleetwood Mac vocalist and star Stevie Nicks. He says that this was one of the final songs that he wrote for Rumours, citing that he had already gotten involved in a rebound relationship at that point.

The song’s signature style is a Travis style finger-picking played by Buckingham on acoustic guitar, giving it that upbeat, lively hop amidst the minimalist arrangement.

“Never Going Back Again” Lyrics Meaning

Lyrically, “Never Going Back Again” is simple, and uses a small amount of words to paint the picture of moving on from a failed relationship. This is a relationship that is finally over, and Buckingham feels a sense of relief in knowing that it’s over for the last time.

Let’s dissect the lyrics and see how Buckingham accomplishes this.

“She broke down and let me in / Made me see where I’d been”

As Buckingham said, this song was written in the context of a rebound relationship. So, we can assume that this lyric is about his new girl, letting him into her life during a time when she perhaps was trying to resist starting a relationship.

Being involved with this new woman is like holding up a mirror to Buckingham’s own life, for better or worse. He gains clarity and perspective from the situation overall.

“Been down one time / Been down two times / I’m never going back again”

This is that classic breakup sentiment, when you finally realize that your ex is nothing but bad news for you, and commit yourself to end things for good. It’s a liberating moment.

“Mmm, you don’t know what it means to win / Come ’round and see me again”

These lyrics suggest that Buckingham may not hold as true to his sentiment of “Never Going Back Again.” We are met with the image of the curious ex-lover who comes back around, “just once more.”


Listen to “Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac below.

Fleetwood Mac – “Never Going Back Again” (Rumours, 1977)