"Tusk" is a song by Fleetwood Mac from the 1979 double LP of the same name. The song peaked at #8 on the U.S. charts for three weeks, reached #6 in the U.K. (where it was certified Silver for sales of over 250,000 copies) 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 Caillat 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 Band. 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 producer/engineer Ken Caillat's dog Scooter 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.
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 games ("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 Razorbacks football games as a homage to the school's live mascot, Tusk.
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 also featured in the first act of the Dreamworks movie The Croods. Alan Silvestri composed the score, most of which is original. But for this one number they used the Tusk melody and once again called on the USC marching band to provide the brass and percussion driving the song.
A radically different mix of the track exclusively appeared on the retrospective four-disc compilation 25 Years - The Chain in 1992.