Fleetwood Mac

  • British rock band formed in London England in 1967. There have been numerous members – the classic line-up is founding members Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass guitar – he actually joined 2 months after the group was formed), with Linsey Buckingham (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Christine McVie (keyboards, vocals) and Stevie Nicks (vocals, tambourine). Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie were the primary songwriters, though others in the band also contributed.
  • The genesis of Fleetwood Mac was the British blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Members of the Bluesbreakers were Fleetwood, John McVie and guitarist Peter Green. Mayall gave Green some free recording time as a gift, and Green, McVie and Fleetwood recorded 5 songs together. The fifth song was an instrumental that Green called “Fleetwood Mac,” named after his rhythm section, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
  • Soon after cutting the 5 songs, Green suggested to Fleetwood that they form a band. They wanted McVie to join, but McVie initially decided to stay with Mayall. They recruited guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning, and they debuted at a jazz festival in August 1967. After a few gigs, McVie agreed to join, and Brunning was out.
  • They were signed to an independent label, and in February 1968, they released their debut album, the self-titled Fleetwood Mac. It contained covers of blues songs and some originals penned by Green and Spencer. It performed well in the UK, reaching #4 on the album chart, despite not having a single released. Six months later, they released another blues album – Mr. Wonderful. The album featured a friend of the band on keyboards and vocals – Christine Perfect. Perfect would later marry John McVie, and Christine McVie would later become an essential member of the band. Also that year, they added Danny Kirwan as a third guitarist.
  • Two compilation albums were released in 1969 – English Rose and The Pious Bird of Good Omen. These albums contained previously released songs, along with some new compositions. The latter included the single Albatross, which became their first #1 hit in the UK. Also that year, they released 2 other albums – Then Play On and Fleetwood Mac in Chicago. The latter was a collaboration with 7 Chicago-based blues musicians who were inspirations to the band. Then Play On was their first album to feature rock music, rather than blues. They had yet to make their breakthrough in the U.S.
  • By 1970, Green was hooked on LSD. He participated in a non-album single, The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown), but soon after its release, he left the group. The band’s fourth studio album, Kiln House, was released that year. Christine McVie contributed, and she officially became part of the band after its release.
  • One day, while on tour in 1971, Spencer said he was going out to get a magazine, and he never returned. After several days, they discovered that he had joined a religious cult. Green was recruited to return so that the tour could be finished. Afterwards, they picked Bob Welch to replace Spencer. Kirwin left in 1972, and a couple other lineup changes occurred during the following couple of years. They released 5 more albums between 1971 and 1974, and none of their singles from these albums charted.
  • On New Years Eve 1974, after Welch left the group, Buckingham joined the band. He had one condition – that his girlfriend Stevie Nicks be allowed in the group. The group now consisted of Fleetwood, both McVies, Buckingham and Nicks. In July 1975, they released their tenth studio album, the self titled Fleetwood Mac. It was their breakthrough, topping the U.S. album chart, and ultimately certified 7x platinum. Four singles cracked the Billboard Hot 100 top 20 – Over My Head, Rhiannon,Say You Love Me, and Go Your Own Way. The song Landslide also is on the album – not released as a single, it is one of their signature songs.
  • 1976 was tumultuous for the band, as John and Christine’s marriage ended, Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship ended, and Fleetwood and his wife divorced. Despite this, they remained professional in their musical relationship.
  • In 1977, they released Rumours. It became the tenth best selling album of all time – over 20 million albums were sold in the U.S. and over 40 million worldwide. It remained the #1 album in the U.S. for 31 weeks. The single Dreams became their first (and only) #1 song in the U.S., while Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop and You Make Lovin’ Fun all were top 10 hits. It won the Grammy award for Album of the Year in 1978, and it is #26 on Rolling Stones’ list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. Go Your Own Way ranks at #120 on Rolling Stones’ Greatest Songs list.
  • The Tusk album was released in 1979. It included top 10 hits Sara and the title track Tusk. Their thirteenth album, Mirage, was released in 1982. It included Hold Me and Gypsy, two more signature songs for the group. After this, the band went on hiatus, with Nicks, Christine McVie and Buckingham releasing solo albums. In 1987, the lineup returned for a final album, Tango In The Night. It included 2 more top 10 songs – Big Love and Little Lies. 
  • With many years of tension coming to a boil, Buckingham left in 1987, and Nicks left in 1991. Albums released in 1990 and 1995 were not very successful. The band reunited, split up and reunited several times since. Their final studio album, Say You Will, was released in 2003, with the classic line minus Christine McVie, who left in 1998.
  • In 2014, the classic lineup was together again – Christine’s first appearance with the group in 16 years. They had a successful tour, but no new music was released. In 2018, Buckingham was fired from the group due to disagreements on plans for their 2018-2019 tour.
  • Fleetwood Mac is one of the most successful acts of all time. They’ve sold over 120 million albums worldwide. In 1998, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (the members honored were Fleetwood, McVie, McVie, Nicks, Buckingham, Green, Spencer and Kirwan). Nicks also has been inducted as a solo artist – the first woman to be inducted twice. SO many classic songs to choose from – here they are performing Rhiannon from 1976, with Nicks on lead vocals.

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