"Tusk" is a song by Fleetwood Mac from the 1979 double LP of the same name. The song reached #8 on the U.S. charts, #6 in the U.K. and #3 in Australia and Canada. It was one of the first songs to be released using a digital mixdown from an original analog source.
Looking for a title track for the as yet unnamed album, Mick Fleetwood suggested that they take the rehearsal riff that Lindsey Buckingham used for sound-checks. Producers Richard Dashut and Ken Cailat hence created a drum-driven production.
The single was recorded live together with the supporting video at Dodger Stadium (without an audience) in Los Angeles, California in collaboration with the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Ban. The performance was also filmed for the song's music video. John McVie was in Tahiti during the Dodger Stadium recording, but he is represented in the video by a cardboard cutout carried around by Mick Fleetwood and later positioned in the stands with the other band members.
The band's part would both set a record for the highest number of musicians performing on a single and earn the marching musicians a platinum disc. Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood presented it to the Trojan band on October 4, 1980 during a game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, this time in front of a huge crowd. The song was also performed live during Fleetwood Mac's concert in 1997 in conjunction with the USC Band.
The single was released with two different picture sleeves in many territories: The first featured the black and white picture of a dog snapping at a trouser leg, the same as that used for the album cover, whilst the second featured a plain cover with the same font as the album cover but without the dog picture. A very limited promotional 12-inch version, featuring mono and stereo versions, was also released to US radio stations.
A radically different mix of the track exclusively appeared on the retrospective 4-disc compilation 25 years The Chain in 1992.
The song is currently played by the marching bands of several universities with prominent college football programs. The Spirit of Troy, which performed on the original recording, continues to use "Tusk" as a regular part of its set during USC football games. The University of Alabama's "Million Dollar Band" plays "Tusk" during its pregame show at all home game ("Tusk" being shorthand for the university's home city of Tuscaloosa), accompanied by the school's dancing elephant mascot, Big Al. "Tusk" is also played at Arkansas Razorbak's games as a homage to the school's live mascot Tusk.
The song was often used as bumper music by late night radio talk show host Art Bell when he hosted Coast to Coast AM in the 1990s.
A section of the track was played at the start of each show on The Mighty Bush 2008 tour.
The song is often played during Los Angeles Lakers home games during halftime by the Los Angeles Laker Band, a group composed of USC Trojan Marching Band members.
The song was parodied in the Mystery Science Theatre episode "Werewolf" in the end credits, where "Tusk" is shouted along with the ending music in a medley with other songs.
The song is featured prominently in the premiere episode of The American (2013 TV series).