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Mick Fleetwood performs the late Christine McVie’s ‘Songbird’ in honor of her 80th birthday

<i>Steven Ferdman/Getty Images</i><br/>Mick Fleetwood seen here
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
Mick Fleetwood seen here

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — Mick Fleetwood has paid tribute to his fellow band member Christine McVie in honor of what would have been her 80th birthday.

Fleetwood, the drummer for the legendary band Fleetwood Mac, released an instrumental version of one of McVie’s most famous compositions, “Songbird” on Wednesday.

She was the singer-songwriter behind some of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits. McVie died in November at the age of 79 following a brief illness.

Fleetwood collaborated with ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro for his version.

“We cut it in April, and it turned out beautifully, but there was no plan yet to release it,” Fleetwood said in a statement. “But when I heard about Christine’s upcoming birthday, it felt like the right time to share this as a tribute to all the lovely music she created, both on her own and with Fleetwood Mac.”

“Songbird” debuted on the band’s “Rumours” album in 1977. It features McVie singing lead and has come to become beloved by Fleetwood Mac fans around the world.

Because of that, Fleetwood said he was initially hesitant about reinterpreting such a cherished song.

“When something is that well known, it becomes hallowed ground to a certain extent,” he said. “But when we did it, I remember there was a hush when we listened back, and we felt that we had touched on something.”

At that moment, Fleetwood said, he felt McVie’s presence in a powerful way.

Shimabukuro said in a statement that it was an honor to record “Songbird” with Fleetwood.

“His haunting drum groove transported me to a place filled with love and peace,” he said. “It was a very special moment in the studio that I will never forget.”

Music label Rino has announced plans to release newly remastered versions of McVie’s final two solo albums, “Christine McVie” and “In The Meantime.”

CD, vinyl, and digital versions of both albums will be available on November 3, along with a new Dolby Atmos mix of “In the Meantime.”

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