Rising from the British blues music scene in the late 1960s, Fleetwood Mac quickly evolved into one of the most influential rock bands of the 70s. Creating an ingenious California sound – effortless melodies, dark romantic themes and veteran English rhythms deeply rooted in raw electric blues, the band remains relevant even today. That Fleetwood Mac tickets still sell out as soon as they are announced, is a testament.
For a long time, Fleetwood Mac struggled to find the perfect lineup. Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood were a part of another blues band John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, before they decided to quit and form Fleetwood Mac. Guitarist Jeremy Spencer was also roped in as the fourth member.
The early songs and albums by the band featured gritty, raw vocals, along with evocative, fluid guitaring by Peter Green. Since the very beginning Fleetwood Mac presented itself as a rare balancing act as it was mostly powered by internal conflicts and of course the famous intra-band heartbreaks. After releasing three albums and multiple hits like “Oh Well”, “Black Magic Woman”, “Albatross” and “Man of the World”, Green left the band in 1970. With his departure, Fleetwood Mac entered into a transitional era.
Fleetwood Mac – Anchored by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie
The revolving door of Fleetwood Mac continued as members joined and left. In 1970, after the release of “Kiln House” Jeremy Spencer also parted ways and Danny Kirwan took his place. It remained a significant year in Fleetwood Mac’s history as the phenomenal Christine McVie also joined the band. Bob Welch landed inside Fleetwood Mac in 1971 and brought many important changes in the band.
Being an American, Welch hoped to extend the band’s appeal to the US as well. He helped the band into composing more melodic songs and 1971’s “Future Games” was its proof. Fleetwood Mac changed its approach from being a straightforward, raw band to a more reflective one. Psychedelic flourishes, wistful rhythms and an adventurous vocal delivery steered the album to the Billboard 200. In 1972, “Bare Trees” was released and it featured the superhit song “Sentimental Lady”.
Following a lot of inner turmoil, betrayal and even a law suit, in 1974, on Welch’s persuasion, Fleetwood Mac moved to LA. The quartet of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Bob Welch represented Fleetwood Mac.
“Heroes Are Hard to Find” hit the shelves in 1974 and made it to the top 40 on the Billboard 200. It featured popular tracks like “Angel” and “Prove Your Love”. Sadly, it was also Welch’s last album with Fleetwood Mac as he left to pursue a solo career. His departure made way for Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
Love, Hate & Betrayals
Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham took the band to newer heights in 1975. Their self-titled album topped the Billboard 200 and produced chartbusters like “Say You Love Me”, “Rhiannon”, “Over My Head” and “Landslide”.
While Fleetwood Mac was at the top of their game – musically, on the personal front their relationships were falling apart. Married for eight years, the dream couple John McVie and Christine McVie was headed for divorce. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham who had been dating each other since high school were also splitting up. Many complicated relationships surfaced soon after the divorced Christine started going out with the band’s lighting manager. Mick Fleetwood learned about his wife Jenny Boyd’s extramarital affair as he himself was later found having an affair with Stevie Nicks for almost two years.
Yes, instead of a music band, Fleetwood Mac became the epitome of interrelated, complicated relationship mess. But out of all this complication, a gem, a masterpiece was created – 1977’s “Rumours”.
Winner of the “Album of the Year” at the 1978 Grammy Awards, “Rumours” went on to become one of the best albums of all-time. The masterwork was a fusion of all the elements that presented a classic scripted theatrical – romance, elaborate entanglements, a lot of money and of course drugs. The critics called it rock music’s most successful soap opera.
The fans were treated to a glamorous, painful mess, complete with honest lyrics and confessional grooves. In an interview Mick Fleetwood stated that the band members were too talented to let their personal issues get in the way of making incredible music. In his memoir he wrote, “It was hard to do, but no matter what, we played through the hurt”.
Selling more than 45 million units all over the world, “Rumours” shined as a sad love story with a happy ending. The songs, “Dreams”, “The Chain”, “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way” broke through the music charts. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at number 25 on its The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
Fleetwood Mac’s Enduring Legacy
Breakups, disbandment, reunion tours, another falling out and yet another comeback, all these things make Fleetwood Mac an enduring blues, rock act. Recently honored as the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year, in Lindsey Buckingham’s own words, the endless drama of love, anger, sadness and a sense of family makes Fleetwood Mac a “group of chemistry”.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have revealed big plans for live performances and already a huge hype is building for Fleetwood Mac tour tickets. So far a global tour has been announced and will most likely hit the road in June 2018.
Every now and then, members of the band have been treating the listeners to the renditions of their original songs. The unadulterated version of “Landslide” recently came out and brought with it intimacy, more greatness – if only possible and even ingenuity. Lucky fans who do manage to nab their favorite band’s tickets in time will get to hear these revamped tracks at the live concerts.
The “Rumours” era lineup will once again join forces for the fans and bring to stage their epic chemistry. Several concerts will take place under the trek Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, after which the band will officially announce their 2018 summer tour and its itinerary.
There may “Never Going Back Again” for Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, but one thing is clear. They Don’t Stop and like a Songbird will continue to make life melodious for their countless fans.