Stevie Nicks – circa 1984
“And if you don’t love me now / You will never love me again / I can still hear you saying / You would never break the chain” – ‘The Chain’ (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood)
A married couple is in the throes of divorce. The wife is having an affair with a lighting director. An unmarried couple’s long-term relationship is fraying apart. A fifth person divorces his wife – but will remarry her a year later. Is this the plot of a daytime television program? No, this is the real life soap opera of Anglo-American rock band Fleetwood Mac. Incredibly, it is under these tumultuous conditions that they record their finest album.
The long, strange journey of Fleetwood Mac involves a large cast. The group goes through so many changes that songs from different points in their history sound like completely different bands…which is actually pretty close to the truth.
The story of Fleetwood Mac really begins with Peter Green.
Peter Green is born Peter Allen Greenbaum on 29 October 1946 in Bethnal Green, London, England. Peter is the son of Joe Greenbaum and his wife Anna Greenbaum (nee Rachman). Peter is the youngest of four children. His known elder siblings are Len and Michael. The Greenbaums are a ‘working class family.’ Peter’s neighbourhood, Bethnal Green, is a ‘tough…section of London’s East End.’ The Greenbaum family is Jewish and Peter is aware of anti-Jewish sentiment in the community.
Peter Greenbaum’s older brother, Michael, teaches him his first guitar chords when Peter is 11 years old. Peter’s first guitar is a hand-me-down from an elder brother. Peter’s musical influences are said to be U.S. blues artists like Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Hank B. Marvin (the guitarist from British instrumental band The Shadows) and ‘old Jewish songs.’ School doesn’t seem to hold a lot of appeal for Peter. He starts out as an apprentice butcher.
By the time he is 15 years old, Peter Green is a professional musician. He plays bass (rather than guitar) in Bobby Denim And The Dominoes. They play cover versions of songs by The Shadows, pop songs and rock standards. It is at this time that Peter Greenbaum begins using the stagename Peter Green to avoid perceived anti-Jewish elements. In the early days, Peter Green refuses to work on Saturdays since it is the traditional Jewish day of rest. From Bobby Denim And The Dominoes, Peter Green moves on to a rhythm and blues band called The Muskrats. His next stop is The Tridents where he is still playing bass.
However Peter Green’s destiny really changes when he switches from bass to guitar. This occurs when he joins Peter B’s Looners in February 1966. It is also in this band that Peter Green first works with drummer Mick Fleetwood.
Michael John Kells Fleetwood is born on 24 June 1947 in Redruth, Cornwall, England. He is the son of Joseph Kells Fleetwood and Bridget Maureen Fleetwood (nee Brereton). Joseph Fleetwood is a Royal Air Force fighter pilot. Mick is the family’s second child. Joseph and Bridget already have a daughter, Susan (21 September 1944-19 September 1995). Susan Fleetwood will go on to become an actress. She is perhaps best known for playing Athena in the original version of ‘Clash of the Titans’ (1981). Susan Fleetwood will die as a result of cancer in 1995 at the age of 51.
Due to Joseph Fleetwood’s air force job, the family moves about a fair bit. Mick Fleetwood spends his early childhood in Egypt. Six years later the family moves to Norway where Joseph Fleetwood is posted as part of a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) deployment. Mick goes to school in Norway and becomes fluent in Norwegian.
Returning to England, Mick Fleetwood is shuffled through boarding schools such as King’s School, Sherborne, Gloucestershire, and Wynstones School, also in Gloucestershire. Mick doesn’t do well academically or, as he puts it, “I was absolutely hopeless in classes.” He acts in school dramas, often appearing in drag, and becomes competent in the sport of fencing with a sword. Standing six feet, six inches, Mick Fleetwood is a long and lanky fellow.
Mick Fleetwood starts playing drums at a young age. His father was an amateur drummer (and also wrote poetry) so he supports Mick’s more creative inclinations. Mick’s parents buy him a small drum kit when he is 13. As a drummer, Mick is influenced by Tony Meehan of The Shadows.
Mick Fleetwood drops out of school when he is 15 years old. He moves to London in 1963 and stays with his older sister Susan in Notting Hill. In order to earn a few dollars, Mick ‘briefly’ works at Liberty (a department store) in London.
A young keyboard player named Peter Bardens lives only a few doors away from Mick Fleetwood in London. Mick joins Peter Barden’s band, The Cheynes (July 1963-April 1965). The full line-up is: Roger Peacock (vocals), Phil Sawyer (guitar), Eddie Lynch (guitar), Peter Bardens (organ), Peter Hollis (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
After The Cheynes fold in April 1965, Mick Fleetwood goes on to join The Bo Street Runners (April 1965-February 1966). Other members of this band are: John Dominic (vocals), Tim Hinkley (organ) and ‘other transients.’
In 1965 Mick Fleetwood meets Jenny Boyd. She is born Helen Mary Boyd on 8 November 1947. Jenny Boyd is the younger sister of Pattie Boyd (born on 17 March 1944). An actress and model, Pattie Boyd is dating George Harrison, guitarist for the very popular British rock band The Beatles. George and Pattie will go on to marry on 21 January 1966. Pattie’s younger sister follows her sister’s path into modelling. Helen Boyd adopts the professional name of Jenny Boyd, naming herself after Pattie’s favourite childhood doll. Jenny is only 17 when she meets Mick Fleetwood (who is 18). Mick is playing drums with The Bo Street Runners. He becomes quite besotted with Jenny. Mick and Jenny have an on-and-off romantic relationship for the next few years.
Peter B’s Looners (February 1966-May 1966) consists of: Peter Bardens (keyboards), Peter Green (guitar), Dave Ambrose (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). Peter Bardens and Mick Fleetwood previously worked together in The Cheynes (July 1963-April 1965). Peter B’s Looners record one single, ‘If You Wanna Be Happy’. This is an instrumental cover version of a 1963 Jimmy Soul song.
All four of Peter B’s Looners are swallowed up into Shotgun Express (May 1966-February 1967). This crew is best remembered for the person who shares lead vocal duties, future solo star Rod Stewart. The full line-up of Shotgun Express is: Rod Stewart (vocals), Beryl Marsden (vocals), Jon Morshead (guitar), Phil Sawyer (guitar), Peter Green (guitar), Peter Bardens (keyboards), Dave Ambrose (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). Shotgun Express is actually a rhythm and blues review modelled after Stewart’s earlier band Steampacket, with the spotlight shifting from one performer to another for different songs in the course of a gig.
There are different levels to the British music scene in the mid-1960s. There are mainstream pop and rock bands such as The Beatles. There are rhythm and blues bands, white boys rather self-consciously attempting to imitate black American recording acts. The Rolling Stones started out as a rhythm and blues band before drifting more towards pop and rock. On a deeper level again are the British blues bands. Not content with taking inspiration from the more modern and dance-oriented rhythm and blues, these bands find something purer in the black U.S. blues artists of, generally, an earlier time (1930s-1950s). Commercial success is, for the most part, more elusive for the blues bands – but it is not something they court anyway. Commercial success is seen as selling out by the purists. One of the most revered of British bluesmen is John Mayall; his band, The Bluesbreakers, is a breeding ground for British rock musicians of the 1960s.
On 17 June 1966 Peter Green is invited to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Complicating the issue is that Peter Green will be replacing Eric Clapton – one of the most celebrated guitarists in rock history. Clapton’s followers had even begun to scrawl graffiti like ‘Clapton is God’ around London. Clapton had come to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in April 1965 because he felt his previous band, the rhythm and blues outfit The Yardbirds, was selling out by recording pop songs. However, for all his blues purism, Clapton was also ambitious. He left The Bluesbreakers to form his own blues rock trio, Cream. Replacing Eric Clapton could easily be a poisoned chalice for Peter Green. Clapton’s followers and the wider British blues community might look upon Green as an audacious upstart. It is a measure of Green’s talent that he is viewed as ‘a perfectly adequate replacement for Clapton.’ Perhaps inspired by his predecessor’s ‘Clapton is God’ scrawls, during his time with The Bluesbreakers Peter Green is nicknamed ‘The Green God.’ During this period, Green’s preferred instrument is a 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar which he dubs his ‘magic guitar.’
The line-up of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers from July 1966 to April 1967 is: John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Peter Green (guitar), John McVie (bass) and Aynsley Dunbar (drums). Bassist John McVie will also go on to have a role in Fleetwood Mac.
John Graham McVie (the surname is pronounced Mac-Vee) is born on 26 November 1945 in Ealing, Middlesex, England. He is the son of Reg McVie and Dorothy McVie. John McVie has a sister but she dies when she is very young. John attends Walpole Grammar School.
John McVie’s first instrument is the trumpet, but that proves to be only a brief flirtation. John starts playing guitar in local bands when he is 14 years old. His first band is The Strangers, an outfit involving his friends John Barnes, Peter Barnes, Tony Wells and Ken Pollendine. Because so many of his chums are keen to become the lead guitarist, John McVie switches to bass instead. At first, he just removes two strings from his six-string guitar and uses that as a makeshift bass. Reg McVie buys his son a pink Fender bass instead. The first group in which John McVie really plays bass is The Krewsaders. The other members are boys who live in the same street in Ealing as John. Both The Strangers and The Krewsaders play cover versions of The Shadows’ hits.
When John McVie is 17 years old he leaves school. He begins training to be a tax inspector.
In 1963 John Mayall begins to assemble his group, The Bluesbreakers. Mayall wants Cliff Barton, the bassist from Cyril Davies’ All-Stars, to join the new band but Barton declines. However, Barton gives Mayall the phone number of John McVie as a possible alternate choice as bassist. John McVie auditions for John Mayall and wins the position. Things are still a bit tentative. McVie is comparatively new to blues music so Mayall has to tutor him in this style. McVie continues to hold down his daytime job for nine months after joining The Bluesbreakers – just in case.
The embryonic 1963 line-up of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers is: John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Peter Ward (guitar?), Bernie Watson (guitar) and John McVie (bass). In 1964 they are joined by Martin Hart (drums). Everyone in the group – except John McVie – is purged by Mayall later in the year. The debut album ‘John Mayall Plays John Mayall (Live At Klook’s Kleek)’ (26 March 1965) is attributed to a four-piece version of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers: John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Roger Dean (guitar), John McVie (bass) and Hughie Flint (drums). In April 1965 Eric Clapton replaces Roger Dean as guitarist. From August 1965 to November 1965 John McVie is temporarily dropped from The Bluesbreakers in favour of Jack Bruce (who will go on to join Eric Clapton in Cream). John McVie returns to the line-up in November 1965. ‘Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton’ (22 July 1966) (UK no. 6) is the work of John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals), John McVie (bass) and Hughie Flint (drums).
When Eric Clapton leaves The Bluesbreakers in July 1966 to form Cream, Peter Green is drafted by John Mayall to replace Clapton. Drummer Hughie Flint leaves around the same time as Clapton so Aynsley Dunbar is brought in as the group’s new drummer. ‘A Hard Road’ (17 February 1967) (UK no. 10) is the work of John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Peter Green (guitar, vocals), John McVie (bass) and Aynsley Dunbar (drums) – though some tracks were recorded with Hughie Flint before his departure as The Bluesbreakers’ drummer. Peter Green contributes two songs to ‘A Hard Road’: ‘The Same Way’ and an instrumental titled ‘The Supernatural’.
In April 1967 Aynsley Dunbar leaves John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the role of drummer is filled by Mick Fleetwood. Guitarist Peter Green had worked with Fleetwood earlier in Peter B’s Looners (February 1966-May 1966) and Shotgun Express (May 1966-February 1967). However, Fleetwood’s addition to The Bluesbreakers marks the beginning of Fleetwood’s association with John McVie as one of the longest-serving rhythm sections in rock music. On 19 April 1967 John Mayall gives Peter Green some recording time at Decca Studios in West Hempstead to use as he wishes. Backed by John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums), vocalist and guitarist Peter Green cuts four tracks. There are three songs – ‘First Train Home’, ‘Looking For Somebody’ and ‘No Place To Go’ – but the most notable work is an instrumental. Green titles this piece ‘Fleetwood Mac’ just as shorthand notation for the musicians backing him: Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Nonetheless, this is the first use of the Fleetwood Mac name.
Like Eric Clapton before him, Peter Green has ambitions of his own. Just as Clapton formed his own blues-rock trio Cream, Green obtains in principle agreement from bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood to strike out on their own. However not everything goes to plan.
In May 1967 drummer Mick Fleetwood is dismissed from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers ‘for repeated insobriety during gigs.’ Both Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are described as ‘heavy drinkers.’
Guitarist Peter Green feels the die is already cast and quits John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers on 15 June 1967. Green invites bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood to join forces with him. Since he is otherwise without regular employment, Mick Fleetwood readily consents. John McVie is more of a problem. According to one account, McVie quits The Bluesbreakers, but then rejoins them. In another version of events, McVie is ‘still under contract to Mayall’ and cannot immediately leave. In McVie’s own recollection, ‘when he is asked to join [Peter Green] during the summer of 1967 he declines and takes a kif holiday to Morocco instead.’ [Kif is a kind of cannabis smoked in Morocco.] Whatever the truth may be, it is undeniable that John McVie is absent in the first stage of Peter Green’s new band.
John McVie remains with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers up to September 1967. ‘Crusade’ (1 September 1967) (UK no. 8) is recorded by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers during this time. Minus Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood, the new line-up is: John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Mick Taylor (guitar), John McVie (bass) and Keef Hartley (drums) – augmented by Chris Mercer (saxophone) and Rip Kant (saxophone). John Mayall still has a talent for picking up-and-coming musicians. Guitarist Mick Taylor will later join The Rolling Stones, while the drummer will form The Keef Hartley Band. Latter day reissues of ‘Crusade’ often include some bonus tracks. Amongst these is a two-part jam recorded when Mick Fleetwood was still in the group. This is noteworthy because it is the only recorded music made with Fleetwood in The Bluesbreakers’ line-up.
With John McVie otherwise occupied, Peter Green places an advertisement in British music newspaper ‘Melody Maker’ for a temporary bassist. This job goes to Bob Brunning.
Robert ‘Bob’ Brunning (28 June 1943-18 October 2001) is born in Bournemouth, England.
Peter Green also has a quick rethink about the musical trio format. Green decides he wants a second guitarist in the group ‘to keep the spotlight away from him’ (i.e. Green). This job goes to Jeremy Spencer.
Jeremy Cedric Spencer is born on 4 July 1948 in Hartlepool, County Durham, England. He begins taking piano lessons when he is 9 years old, but switches to guitar in his teens. Jeremy Spencer specialises in slide guitar (using – typically – a metal tube over a finger to fret the guitar neck and produce a more distorted, quavering guitar sound). For the most part, Jeremy Spencer’s tastes in music are rooted in the past. He likes rock ‘n’ roll that predates the 1959 death of Buddy Holly and blues, country, doo-wop and rockabilly music of the same era. Spencer has a particular fondness for bluesman Elmore James.
In the mid-1960s Jeremy Spencer has his own group, The Levi Set Blues Band. A demo tape by this act finds its way to record producer Mike Vernon. When he learns that Peter Green is looking for a second guitarist, Mike Vernon introduces Green to Spencer, describing the latter as an ‘amazing slide guitarist.’ Jeremy Spencer is also described later as a ‘diminutive vocalist and Elmore James-influenced slide guitarist.’ The only contemporary act that holds any appeal for Spencer is Cream.
In 1966, the year before he is enlisted by Peter Green, at a party 18 year old Jeremy Spencer meets a 14 year old girl named Fiona (born on 11 August 1952). In 1967 Jeremy and Fiona marry. They go on to have five children together: a son named Dicon a.k.a. Jez (born on 3 June 1968), a daughter named Heidi (born on 8 November 1970), a son named Koa a.k.a. Ben (born in October 1972), a son named Nathaniel a.k.a. Nat (born on 21 April 1974) and a daughter named Maresha (born in December 1976).
In July 1967 Fleetwood Mac is officially formed with the founding line-up of: Peter Green (vocals, guitar), Jeremy Spencer (vocals, guitar), Bob Brunning (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). It may be noted that although the ‘Mac’ part of Fleetwood Mac – bassist John McVie – is missing, the band still uses this name. This suggests that all concerned believe that McVie will join the group as soon as he resolves whatever issues or uncertainties are keeping him away at this point.
Fleetwood Mac makes their debut on 13 August 1967 at the Seventh National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor, just west of London. The group is billed as ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac featuring Jeremy Spencer.’ Among the other acts playing at the festival are Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Chicken Shack.
The first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac plays only a handful of gigs but these include shows at The Marquee in London on 15 August 1967 and 30 August 1967.
Drummer Mick Fleetwood takes an odd souvenir from a club where Fleetwood Mac plays in their early days: a pair of toilet-chain balls. Early flush toilets were operated not by a press-button but by pulling a chain attached to the porcelain which lifted a wooden ball from within the cistern allowing water to flush down through the bowl. Mick wears these toilet-chain balls suspended from his belt so that they resemble testicles. On stage in the early days of Fleetwood Mac, Mick ‘plays his balls,’ clacking these souvenirs together in a humorous and ribald form of percussion. (These ‘balls’ can be clearly seen dangling between Mick Fleetwood’s legs on the cover of ‘Rumours’ (1977).) Mick claims he keeps the ‘balls’ for good luck.
Mick Fleetwood is not the only member of Fleetwood Mac to indulge in some bawdy antics. Guitarist Jeremy Spencer gets the group banned from London’s Marquee club after he appears on stage wearing a giant phallus. Spencer attributes such behaviour to his ‘silly streak.’ By contrast, when away from the stage, Jeremy Spencer is described as ‘often quiet and withdrawn.’
In 1967, Fleetwood Mac obtains a manager in the person of Clifford Davis.
Mike Vernon (the man who recommended Jeremy Spencer to Peter Green) is a ‘blues impresario / record producer.’ He offers a recording contract to Fleetwood Mac on his Blue Horizon label.
The final piece falls into place when bassist John McVie replaces Bob Brunning in the Fleetwood Mac line-up in September 1967. Apparently the deciding factor for McVie was John Mayall – his long-time employer – deciding to change his musical direction from blues to jazz.
Departing bassist Bob Brunning’s only recorded work with Fleetwood Mac consists of two Peter Green songs: (1) ‘Rambling Pony’ (the B side of the first Fleetwood Mac single) and (2) ‘Long Grey Mare’ (a track on the group’s debut album). After leaving Fleetwood Mac, Bob Brunning goes on to play bass with another British blues-rock group, Savoy Brown, in 1967-1968. During Bob Brunning’s tenure, the members of Savoy Brown are: Chris Youlden (vocals), Kim Simmonds (guitar, keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Martin Stone (guitar-1967) / Lonesome Dave Peverett (guitar, vocals-1967-1968), Bob Hall (keyboards), Bob Brunning (bass) and Leo Manning (drums-1967) / Hughie Flint (drums-1967-1968). The only Savoy Brown album on which Bob Brunning appears is ‘Getting To The Point’ (July 1968) – and, even then, Brunning is only on two songs from that set. After Savoy Brown, Bob Brunning begins a thirty year career as a teacher at the College of St Mark & St John in Chelsea. He still keeps his hand in as a musician. The bassist plays with The Bob Brunning Sunflower Blues Band. Bob Brunning plays on two albums by Tramp: ‘Tramp’ (1969) and ‘Put A Record On’ (1974). Tramp is built around the brother-and-sister pairing of Dave Kelly (vocals, guitar) and Jo Ann Kelly (vocals). Aside from Bob Brunning, the Kelly siblings receive musical support for their blues tunes from other notables in the British blues-rock community such as: Danny Kirwan (guitar), Bob Hall (piano), Mick Fleetwood (drums), Dave Brooks (saxophone) and Ian Morton (percussion). Bob Brunning also plays bass for The DeLuxe Blues Band. One of his more bizarre bass-playing roles is on the album ‘Songs For Your Enjoyment’ (1972) for The 22nd Streatham Cub Scouts – as in the organisation for outdoors-oriented young boys. Later in life, Bob Brunning writes three books about Fleetwood Mac and the British blues scene: ‘Behind the Masks’ (1990); ‘Fleetwood Mac: The First Thirty Years’ (1998) and ‘The Fleetwood Mac Story: Rumours and Lies’ (2004). Bob Brunning dies on 18 October 2011 at his home in Colliers Wood as a result of a massive heart attack. He was 68 years old.
Returning to 1967, Fleetwood Mac is poised to begin a recording career. Let’s take a moment to define their music.
Over the course of their lengthy career, the sound of Fleetwood Mac will change and mutate repeatedly. However, in the beginning, they are a blues-rock band. The blues is a style of music popularised in the 1940s and 1950s by black American recording artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. By the 1960s, there is a generation of white British musicians trying to emulate their blues heroes, playing songs of heartbreak and poverty and trying to transmute them through quavering electric guitar sounds – ‘blue’ notes – into something beautiful. This is grafted to the aggression of rock music to become blues-rock.
Given that Fleetwood Mac takes its name from drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, it may be thought that they are in charge. This is not the case. It is true that the duo will be mainstays of the band and ‘one of the hardest, most inventive rhythm sections in rock.’ Mick Fleetwood in particular assumes greater administrative control in later years but this puts him in charge of the business side of the band. Creatively, the duo is always at the mercy of whoever is standing out front of the band. In 1967 it is Peter Green who is calling the shots. He is the band’s founder, the vision is his, and McVie and Fleetwood are just his sidemen.
In the first phase of their career, Fleetwood Mac record cover versions of earlier blues songs and new compositions by guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. Nearly all of their most famous early singles are written by Peter Green. “Oh, I was never really a songwriter. I was very lucky to get those hits,” Peter Green later says with great modesty. The facts seem to belie his assertion.
The first Fleetwood Mac single is ‘I Believe My Time Ain’t Long’. It is released on 3 November 1967. It is produced by Mike Vernon and issued on the Blue Horizon label. ‘I Believe My Time Ain’t Long’ is a variation on the 1937 Robert Johnson blues song ‘I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom’. Fleetwood Mac’s version is endearingly rickety with barely controlled guitarwork. The B side of the single is the Peter Green composition ‘Rambling Pony’. The B side was recorded when Bob Brunning was still the bassist for Fleetwood Mac. ‘I Believe My Time Ain’t Long’ doesn’t make any impression on the singles chart but that is nothing unusual for a blues song, particularly one from a fledgling band.
The debut album, ‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1968) (UK no. 4, US no. 198), is issued on 24 February. Since a later album also shares this tile, this disc is sometimes known as ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’. The album’s cover depicts a dog sniffing though an alley, past a rubbish bin (trash can) with the group’s name superimposed on the brick-wall in ragged white letters. Both ‘Fleetwood Mac’ and the group’s next album are produced by Mike Vernon and released on the Blue Horizon label. Neither side of Fleetwood Mac’s debut single is included on this album. However, their second single, ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’, is lifted from this disc. This is a cover version of a 1961 song by Elmore James. Fleetwood Mac’s rendition is a super-charged blues rave-up with distorted slide guitar slathered over the ribs of regular guitar notes. Like its predecessor, Fleetwood Mac’s second single fails to make it to the pop charts. ‘Fleetwood Mac’ is a mix of blues covers and original tunes. Perhaps the most notable of the other cover versions is an assault on Robert Johnson’s 1937 song ‘Hellhound On My Trail’. Guitarist Jeremy Spencer contributes three original songs while group leader Peter Green provides five original songs. Green’s clutch of songs includes ‘Long Grey Mare’, a track recorded with original Fleetwood Mac bassist Bob Brunning before his departure. ‘Fleetwood Mac’ is a ‘no-frills blues album’ and, in the U.K., is ‘a steady seller’ while, in America, it is ‘virtually ignored.’
On 29 March 1968 Fleetwood Mac releases a new single, ‘Black Magic Woman’ (UK no. 37). This is a stand-alone single; it is not included on ‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1968) or the group’s next album. ‘Black Magic Woman’ is written by Fleetwood Mac’s leader, Peter Green. The song is sinuous and sensuous. “But she’s a black magic woman / And she’s trying to make a devil out of me,” frets Green in the lyrics. ‘Black Magic Woman’ is the first Fleetwood Mac single to become a top forty hit.
In August 1968 Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie marries Christine Perfect. As Christine McVie, she is fated to become a future member of Fleetwood Mac.
Christine McVie is born Christine Anne Perfect on 12 July 1943 in Bouth, a village in the Lakes District of Lancashire – though it is now part of Cumbria – in England. When she later joins Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie is the eldest member of the group (and is a bit over two years older than John McVie). Christine Perfect is the daughter of Cyril Perfect and Beatrice ‘Tee’ Perfect (nee Reece). Cyril Perfect is a concert violinist and goes on to become a music lecturer at St Peter’s College of Education, Saltley, Birmingham, as well as teaching violin at St Philip’s Grammar School, Birmingham. He has a son, Christine’s elder step-brother, named Cyril, Jr. who is the product of an earlier marriage. Cyril’s second wife, ‘Tee’, claims to be a psychic, a medium and a faith healer. Cyril and Tee have two children together: John and Christine (John is Christine’s older brother). Christine Perfect grows up as part of ‘a middle class family’ in Bearwood, an area of Smethwick near Birmingham. “I wasn’t raised with money,” Christine insists. At an early age, Christine is taught to play cello by her father. She is introduced to the piano as a 4 year old. Despite these formative events, Christine does not really study music seriously until she is 11. Philip Fisher, a local musician and a friend of her older brother John, helps her get back into playing the piano. Christine also plays cello in the school orchestra. She continues her classical music training until she is 15. “There was always a piano in my home when I was growing up,” Christine recalls, “and my father wanted me to become a concert pianist – unfortunately for him, I discovered [the music of rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and pianist] Fats Domino.” It is actually her brother John who brings home a Fats Domino songbook. (John Perfect at one point later in life is an entomologist – a scientist specialising in insects – for the British government.) Christine also professes affection for The Everly Brothers, another rock ‘n’ roll act from the 1950s. Although she enjoys music, Christine Perfect plans to become an art teacher. To this end, she studies sculpture at art college in Birmingham for five years. While at art school, Christine Perfect meets a number of blues musicians. She joins a band called Sounds Of Blue (March 1964-March 1965). This group includes Stan Webb (vocals, guitar) and Andy Silvester (bass). By the time Christine Perfect graduates from art school, Sounds Of Blue has broken up. Christine finds she doesn’t have enough money to support a career in the art world. She moves to London and works as a department store window dresser.
In April 1967 Christine Perfect joins a new band: Chicken Shack. This group, like Fleetwood Mac, is part of the wave of British blues bands of the era. In Chicken Shack, Christine Perfect (vocals, keyboards) is reunited with her old comrades from Sounds Of Blue, Stan Webb (vocals, guitar) and Andy Silvester (bass). Chicken Shack has some difficult in finding the right drummer. In 1968 they go through three drummers – Alan Morley, Al Sykes and Hughie Flint – before settling on Dave Bidwell (drums). Chicken Shack’s debut single in 1968, ‘It’s Okay With Me Baby’, is written and sung by Christine Perfect. Their debut album is ’40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve’ (1968) (UK no. 12), which is released in June.
Christine Perfect meets John McVie when Chicken Shack is the supporting act for Fleetwood Mac on a concert tour. After a whirlwind courtship of only two weeks, the pair decides to marry. Fleetwood Mac’s leader, Peter Green, warns Christine that she barely knows John, but the couple remain resolute. Peter Green serves as best man at the wedding of John McVie and Christine Perfect in August 1968. The couple honeymoon in Birmingham before going off separately to rejoin their respective bands.
Christine McVie will not officially join Fleetwood Mac until August 1970. In the meantime, she records one more album with Chicken Shack, ‘O.K. Ken?’ (1969) (UK no. 9). It is released in February. Christine is still using her maiden name of Christine Perfect professionally. In the summer of 1969, Chicken Shack releases their most famous song, a cover version of Etta James’ 1967 song ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ (UK no. 14). Christine Perfect provides the lead vocal in the Chicken Shack take on the song. Christine Perfect leaves Chicken Shack in August 1969. She finds the touring schedules too difficult because, since her husband John McVie is on tour with Fleetwood Mac, it seems like the two of them hardly see each other. Christine briefly considers just being a housewife and immersing herself in domesticity. Instead, she opts for a short-lived solo career. The Christine Perfect Band (November 1969-April 1970) consists of Christine Perfect (vocals, keyboards), Top Topham (guitar), Rick Heyward (guitar), Martin Dunsford (bass) and Chris Harding (drums). A solo album, ‘Christine Perfect’ (1970), is released on 6 December. This includes another recording of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’. The album is later reissued as ‘The Legendary Christine Perfect Album’ (1976). Christine Perfect/McVie goes on to join her spouse in Fleetwood Mac…but that is still some time in the future of the main part of this narrative.
In August 1968 Fleetwood Mac releases another one-off single. This is ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ (UK no. 31), a cover version of a 1955 song by Little Willie John. It is a slow and smoky number. ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ (UK no. 32) will be rereleased by Fleetwood Mac in 1969 with almost identical commercial results, falling just one rank lower than the 1968 release.
The second Fleetwood Mac album, ‘Mr Wonderful’ (1968) (UK no. 10), is released on 23 August. This set does not include either of the two Fleetwood Mac singles released between their first album and this set. In other words, both ‘Black Magic Woman’ and ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ are absent. Like ‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1968), this set mixes blues cover versions with original compositions. The most notable of the cover versions is perhaps ‘Dust My Broom’, the song that served as the template for Fleetwood Mac’s first single, ‘I Believe My Time Ain’t Long’ on 3 November 1967. Robert Johnson’s ‘I Believe I’ll Dusty My Broom’ hails from 1937. It should be noted that Elmore James (the hero of Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer) recorded a version of ‘I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom’ in 1951 and has sometimes been considered the true author of the song. Untangling the authorship of traditional blues songs can be very difficult. Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green contributes six songs to ‘Mr Wonderful’. All of them are co-credited to Clifford Adams – which is a pseudonym for Clifford Davis, Fleetwood Mac’s manager. ‘Stop Messin’ Around’ is a romping blues augmented by piano and saxophone. ‘Love That Burns’ is a song of heartache, a slow, pained blues with lowing saxophones. Both of these are Green & Adams compositions. Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer writes three of the songs on this disc. Christine Perfect contributes some piano to this album. At the time of recording, she was bassist John McVie’s girlfriend and is now his wife. ‘Mr Wonderful’ is an ‘all-blues album’ but is less commercially successful than the band’s debut album which came out only six months prior to this disc. ‘Mr Wonderful’ is not released in the U.S.A.
On 31 August 1968, just over a week after the release of ‘Mr Wonderful’, Fleetwood Mac adds a fifth member to their line-up. The new member is not Christine McVie. The newcomer to the group is Danny Kirwan.
Daniel David Kirwan (13 May 1950-8 June 2018) is born in Brixton, London, England. He first comes to public notice with Boilerhouse (1966-1968). This is a South London blues trio consisting of: Danny Kirwan (vocals, guitar), Trevor Stevens (bass) and Dave Terry (drums). Fleetwood Mac members Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood go along to a Boilerhouse rehearsal and are impressed with Kirwan. The other two members of Boilerhouse are apparently reluctant to turn professional and become full-time musicians; so Kirwan is invited to join Fleetwood Mac. Danny Kirwan is only 18 years old when he becomes part of Fleetwood Mac. Because of this, he is often referred to as a ‘young protégé’ of Peter Green. Kirwan looks distinctly boyish with a mop of blonde hair. His addition to Fleetwood Mac alongside Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer gives the band ‘a unique three-guitar frontline, all of whom can compose and perform their own material.’
On 22 November 1968 Fleetwood Mac releases another stand-alone single. ‘Albatross’ (UK no. 1, US no. 104, AUS no. 12) is a deliciously laid-back instrumental. The loping guitars evoke the image of the slowly beating wings of the title bird. ‘Albatross’ is composed by Fleetwood Mac’s leader, Peter Green. It is inspired by Santo & Johnny’s 1959 instrumental ‘Sleep Walk’. Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer does not play on ‘Albatross’; the track features only guitarists Peter Green and Danny Kirwan and the rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. This is evidence of an emerging trend. Green is ‘frustrated that Jeremy Spencer has little desire to contribute to Green’s songs.’ ‘Albatross’ is a surprising hit single. It is Fleetwood Mac’s only U.K. no. 1 single. It holds that position for three weeks, 25 January 1969 to 8 February 1969. ‘Albatross’ (UK no. 2) is later rereleased in 1973 when it charts again in the U.K. In 1989 ‘Albatross’ (UK no. 96) is once more reissued and again manages to chart in the U.K. – albeit at a very low level.
Fleetwood Mac plays at the Miami Pop Festival in the U.S.A. that gets underway on 28 December 1968. The diverse bill for this event includes such performers as Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, The Grateful Dead and Joni Mitchell.
‘English Rose’ (1969) (US no. 184), released in January, is put together by Epic Records in the U.S.A. This set uses about half of Fleetwood Mac’s second album ‘Mr Wonderful’ together with material from their – as yet unreleased – third studio album. Also present are some otherwise unaligned tracks such as the single ‘Black Magic Woman’. ‘English Rose’ is, at first, only available in the U.S. market, though it is later made available internationally.
While in the U.S.A. Fleetwood Mac records at the Chess Records Studio where many important earlier blues and rock recordings were made. Although Fleetwood Mac’s Chess recording session takes place in January 1969, it is not released until later in the year. This material represents Fleetwood Mac’s ‘last all-blues recordings.’
As if to verify their shift away from pure blues, Fleetwood Mac leaves the Blue Horizon record label.
The next Fleetwood Mac single, ‘Man Of The World’ (UK no. 2, AUS no. 100), is released on the Immediate label on 3 April 1969. ‘Man Of The World’ is still produced by Mike Vernon (of Blue Horizon), but it is his last work with Fleetwood Mac. ‘Man Of The World’ is written by Fleetwood Mac’s leader, Peter Green. The track is a stand-alone single; it is not from any original album of studio recordings. ‘Man Of The World’ is hushed and reflective. It is a meditation over gentle guitars. Thematically, it is about ‘a man who has everything except the companion he wants.’ As was the case with ‘Albatross’, guitarist Jeremy Spencer doesn’t play on ‘Man Of The World’. This song is not released as a single in the U.S.A. ‘Man Of The World’ turns out to be the only thing Fleetwood Mac issues on the Immediate label. Immediate ‘is in bad shape,’ so Fleetwood Mac head elsewhere.
When Fleetwood Mac plays a gig at Bristol University in May 1969, keyboardist Christine Perfect (a.k.a. Christine McVie) appears on stage with them for the first time. However Christine is not yet officially a member of the band.
Fleetwood Mac’s former record label, Blue Horizon, assembles the compilation set ‘The Pious Bird Of Good Omen’ (1969) (UK no. 18), released on 15 August. The title comes from a line in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’ ‘The Pious Bird Of Good Omen’ is notable as being the first British Fleetwood Mac album to include the one-off singles ‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘I Need Your Love So Bad’ and ‘Albatross’ as well as other blues stuff from 1967 and 1968.
‘Then Play On’ (1969) (UK no. 6, US no. 109), released on 19 September, is the first Fleetwood Mac album released on the Reprise label. It is produced by Fleetwood Mac, beginning a run of self-produced albums by the group. The album’s title is derived from a line in William Shakespeare’s play ‘Twelfth Night’ (1601-1602): “If music be the food of love, then play on.” The album cover, a fantasy of a man on horseback, is actually ‘Domesticated Mural Painting’ (1917) by Maxwell Armfield. ‘Then Play On’ is a ‘stylistically broader’ album than anything Fleetwood Mac has previously recorded. As well as blues, this set includes songs that might be classified as psychedelic or folk music. ‘Then Play On’ is also the first all-original Fleetwood Mac album; no cover versions of blues standards are present. The fourteen tracks consist of five songs by Peter Green, seven songs by Danny Kirwan and one apiece from John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. There are no songs from guitarist Jeremy Spencer. According to drummer Mick Fleetwood, Spencer is not on the album at all aside from playing ‘a couple of piano things.’ The best known track from this set is probably Peter Green’s ‘Rattlesnake Shake’. This neo-blues number is forceful and ominous, a mix of power and restraint. ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ is issued as a single but fails to chart. Christine Perfect/McVie plays on this album, but is uncredited due to ‘contractual difficulties.’ The U.S. version of ‘Then Play On’ is different to the U.K. version since some of these tracks were first released on the U.S. compilation ‘English Rose’. In fact, there are two different U.S. versions of ‘Then Play On’; one issued in September 1969 and the other in November 1969.
‘Oh Well’ (UK no. 2, US no. 55, AUS no. 19) is the title of a new Fleetwood Mac single released on 26 September 1969. This song is written by Fleetwood Mac’s leader, Peter Green. ‘Oh Well’ starts with the tickle of an acoustic guitar, but this is swiftly restated by an electric guitar. ‘Oh Well’ is really just a couple of humorous verses stapled to a guitar riff – but what a riff! Mick Fleetwood taps and rattles around a cowbell at intervals. In the second verse, Green cries, “Now when I talked to God, I knew he’d understand / He said, ‘Stick by me / And I’ll be your guiding hand / But don’t ask me what I think of you / I might not give the answer that you want me to’ / Oh well…” This is a stand-alone single, but ‘Oh Well’ is contained on the November 1969 U.S. version of ‘Then Play On’.
‘Fleetwood Mac In Chicago’ (1969) (US no. 118) is a two disc set issued on 5 December. This album comes out on the Blue Horizon label, Fleetwood Mac’s former home. This is because this album is the result of Fleetwood Mac’s jam session at Chess Records in Chicago back in January 1969 before the group changed record labels. Blues musicians such as Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and Otis Spann make guest appearances on this recording. Peter Green’s ‘Watch Out’, a tidy little mid-paced blues, comes from this album. Note: ‘Fleetwood Mac In Chicago’ is the U.S. title for this album; in the U.K. it is released as ‘Blues Jam At Chess’.
‘Jeremy Spencer’ (1970), released on 23 January, is a solo album by the Fleetwood Mac guitarist. This includes ‘String-A-Long’, an unlikely cover version of a 1960 song by the mono-named teen heartthrob Fabian. The album is described as ‘an often brilliant collection of his best-loved parodies.’
In late March 1970 Fleetwood Mac’s leader Peter Green takes a dose of the mind-expanding drug LSD in Munich, Germany. It is apparently a pretty potent dose because Green’s mental health begins to go astray. By 1970 he is ‘not in good health.’ Adding to his woes, there are creative tensions within Fleetwood Mac. Guitarist Jeremey Spencer seems increasingly disinterested in the group in general and in Peter Green’s compositions in particular. If there was any hope that new guitarist Danny Kirwan would offset that problem that idea is swiftly slipping away. Green and Kirwan are often at odds due to Kirwan’s short temper. “We played well together but we didn’t get on. I was a bit temperamental, you see,” Kirwan later admits. The increasingly eccentric Peter Green takes to wearing a long, flowing red robe.
On 11 April 1970 Peter Green announces that he plans to leave Fleetwood Mac on 25 May 1970. He proclaims the intention to devote himself to “what God would have me do.”
On 15 May 1970 Fleetwood Mac releases the stand-alone single ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)’ (UK no. 10). This track is written by the group’s leader, Peter Green. Dramatic guitar chords crash as Green, with barely restrained dread, alleges, “You’re the green manalishi with the two prong crown / All my trying is up / All you’re bringing me’s down.” The unspeakable tension is wound tight as barbed wire. “The green manalishi is money,” Green later confirms. He writes the song after a drug-induced dream. Struggling with LSD and his own delusions, Green seems to feel that money represents the devil and his own (relative) affluence is some kind of unholy betrayal. ‘He wants to give all the band’s money to charity.’ As could be expected by now, guitarist Jeremy Spencer is absent from the recording of ‘The Green Manalishi’. It also transpires that ‘The Green Manalishi’ is Fleetwood Mac’s last hit single until 1975. The band releases some singles in the intervening years, but none of them reach the popular charts.
True to his word, Peter Green plays his last show with Fleetwood Mac on 20 May 1970.
Peter Green makes a few cameo appearances in the story of Fleetwood Mac in subsequent years but this is, essentially, the end of his involvement with the band he founded, created and led from 1967 to 1970.
Peter Green releases a solo album, ‘The End Of The Game’ (1970), in December. However he will not release another album until 1979.
Peter Green’s mental health deteriorates. Arguably, this can be attributed to ‘his ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs.’ Perhaps this only exacerbates a predisposition towards mental illness but it is impossible to know definitively. Green is diagnosed with schizophrenia. He joins a ‘religious sect’ and ‘threatens to give all his money away. His accountant doesn’t let him.’ Green undergoes electroconvulsive therapy in the mid-1970s. In between ‘periods of mental illness and destitution,’ Peter Green lives a colourful life, dabbling in a number of occupations. He works as a grave digger, joins a commune in Israel and works as a hospital orderly in Southend. Peter Green reaches a nadir when, legend has it, he ‘fires a pistol in the general direction of a delivery boy’ who is attempting to pass along a royalty cheque from Fleetwood Mac’s record sales. Another version of the story has Green returning an unwanted royalty cheque to his accountant with a rifle present ‘to make his point.’ Green himself remembers it almost in reverse: He wanted money from long-time Fleetwood Mac manager Clifford Davis and threatened him with a gun. Given his state of mind, Green’s recollection may be unreliable. What is not disputed is that this episode results in Peter Green being committed to a mental hospital in England. Subsequently, the troubled guitarist is released to live with older brother Len and Peter’s sister-in-law Gloria. From there, Peter Green moves in with his mother, Anna Greenbaum, in Great Yarmouth. He begins to recover.
In January 1978 Peter Green marries Jane Samuels. They have a daughter, Rosebud Samuels-Greenbaum (born in 1978). However Peter and Jane divorce in 1979. Peter Green later also has a son, Liam Firlej (born in 1986) but the details of the boy’s mother are not publicly disclosed.
Peter Green releases the following solo albums: ‘In The Skies’ (1979) (UK no. 32); ‘Little Dreamer’ (1980) (UK no. 34, US no. 186); ‘Whatcha Gonna Do?’ (March 1981); the compilation ‘Blue Guitar’ (1981); ‘White Sky’ (1982); ‘Kolors’ (1983) consists mostly of material left off the earlier solo albums; ‘A Case For The Blues’ (1985) is credited to Katmandu, a trio consisting of Peter Green, Ray Dorset (guitar, vocals, keyboards – from Mungo Jerry) and Vincent Crane (keyboards – from Atomic Rooster); and the following compilation albums ‘Legend’ (1988), ‘Backtrackin’’ (1990), ‘A Rock Legend’ (1995) and ‘Green And Guitar’ (1998). Peter’s brother, Mike Green (a.k.a. Michael Greenbaum), acts as co-songwriter on some of Peter’s early 1980s albums.
There is another period of inactivity for Peter Green from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. This coincides with another bout of mental illness for Green. Ironically, his re-emergence takes place ‘after he stops taking the medications he’d long been on as a patient.’ However, it would seem that, before long, Green’s illness is once again being alleviated by prescribed medication.
The Peter Green Splinter Group (1997-2004) is the vehicle for the erstwhile Fleetwood Mac leader in the next phase of his career. The members of The Peter Green Splinter Group are: Peter Green (vocals, guitar-1997-2004), Nigel Watson (rhythm guitar-1997-2004), Spike Edney (keyboards-1997), Roger Cotton (piano, guitar-1998-2004), Neil Murray (bass-1997-1998), Pete Stroud (bass-1998-2004), Cozy Powell (drums-1997), Larry Tolfree (drums-1997-2004). The Peter Green Splinter Group releases the following albums: ‘Peter Green Splinter Group’ (1997), ‘The Robert Johnson Songbook’ (1998), ‘Soho Session’ (1998), ‘Destiny Road’ (1999), ‘Hot Foot Powder’ (2000), ‘Time Traders’ (2001), ‘Me And The Devil’ (2001) [a three CD box set], ‘Blues Don’t Change’ (2001) [only available at concerts and via a website], ‘Reaching The Cold 100’ (2003), ‘The Best Of Peter Green Splinter Group’ (2006) [a compilation album] and ‘Blues Don’t Change’ (2006) [rerelease]. In the same period, Peter Green’s earlier works are repackaged in the following compilation albums: ‘Bandit’ (1997), ‘Knights Of The Blue Table’ (1997), ‘Blues For Dhyana’ (1998), ‘Born On The Wild Side’ (1998), ‘Alone With The Blues’ (2000), ‘The Clown’ (2001), ‘A Fool No More’ (2001) and ‘Promised Land’ (2001). In 2009 he tours under the banner of Peter Green And Friends.
The departure of Peter Green means that guitarists Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan ‘somewhat shakily’ assume creative control of Fleetwood Mac for the period May 1970 to August 1970. While Spencer favours a ‘country-tinged, Sun Records, late 1950s sound,’ Kirwan heads towards a more rock orientation.
In June 1970 Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood marries Jenny Boyd. The couple have been dating on-and-off since 1965. When they first met, Jenny Boyd was a model, following the career path of her elder sister Pattie Boyd. In 1967 Pattie discovers transcendental meditation via the Indian holy man called the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Pattie gets her husband George Harrison interested in spiritual enlightenment too. George’s colleagues in The Beatles also investigate this new idea. Although the rest of the group gradually becomes disenchanted with transcendental meditation and the Maharishi’s motivations are revealed to be more earthly than was first apparent, George Harrison remains devoted. By 1970 Pattie’s interest in Eastern mysticism has flagged. Following her sister’s lead once again, Jenny Boyd quits modelling in the 1960s after discovering transcendental meditation. Mick Fleetwood and Jenny Boyd have two daughters: Lucy and Amy (a.k.a. Amelia Rose, born on 17 January 1971).
On 17 August 1970 Christine McVie (nee Perfect), the wife of bassist John McVie, officially joins Fleetwood Mac. This brings the group back to being a five-piece band for the first time since Peter Green’s exit in May 1970.
Christine McVie brings three different, though complementary, skills to bear in Fleetwood Mac. Firstly, she is a vocalist. When she debuted with Chicken Shack in the mid-1960s, a female British blues singer was fairly unusual at the time. Christine McVie is said to be a ‘smoky alto’ vocalist. Her deep, earthy voice is highly distinctive. ‘Her pure, rich vocals can only be described by the word “fecund” [i.e. fruitful, fertile],’ a term more commonly used in agriculture than music. Secondly, Christine McVie is a keyboardist. Primarily, she plays piano but, on some songs, plays organ instead depending on the needs of the piece. Fleetwood Mac has never had an official keyboards player so this alters the complexion of their music, probably making it a little softer. Thirdly, Christine McVie is a songwriter. It takes a little while for her to make her presence felt in Fleetwood Mac as a composer but, when she does, Christine becomes – arguably – the group’s most dependable writer of hit songs. She writes ‘direct but poignant lyrics, which concentrate on love and relationships.’ “I write about unrequited love in a very optimistic way,” is how Christine McVie puts it. However it is the attractive melodies in which these sentiments are wrapped that helps sell the package.
‘Kiln House’ (1970) (UK no. 39, US no. 69, AUS no. 26), released on 18 September, is the first product of the post-Peter Green Fleetwood Mac. ‘Kiln House’ is named after the country dwelling to which the band decamped for some months, trying to get their act together. ‘Station Man’ is probably the best known track from this set. It is co-written by guitarists Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan together with bassist John McVie. ‘Station Man’ is a dusty railway song. It is almost a country blues, albeit with rather forward guitarwork. Most of the vocals on this song are sung by Spencer and Kirwan in harmony. ‘Tell Me All The Things You Do’ is written and sung by Danny Kirwan. His vocals are quite high and fragile. He sounds as boyish as he looks. The song still has strong blues tones. It contains some long instrumental passages filled with guitar duels. Kirwan co-writes ‘Jewel Eyed Judy’ with the rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. The song is a tribute to a former love. It appears to be a laid-back lolling blues but steps up to a more forceful chorus. The guitarwork remains lyrical. Taking a step back from the all-original ‘Then Play On’, ‘Kiln House’ once again throws in some blues covers amongst the originals. Danny Kirwan supplies one more solo composition. Aside from ‘Station Man’, Jeremy Spencer contributes three original compositions. Christine McVie is still uncredited for her playing on this set and even on the subsequent American tour she is described as a ‘guest.’ This emphasises the still tentative nature of her appointment. Christine’s artistic training is put to use for the album cover. She draws a charming illustration of children at play in the woods. However uncertain the group may be, ‘Kiln House’ is still viewed as ‘excellent.’
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer has ‘been undergoing mental health problems due to heavy drug use.’ In February 1971, while Fleetwood Mac is on tour in the U.S.A., Jeremy Spencer goes missing. Depending on which account is accepted, he either goes to visit a bookshop or goes out to get a magazine but, in any case, he fails to return. Spencer is posted as ‘missing’ with the local police for several days. He is discovered at the Los Angeles headquarters of a religious cult called the Children of God. Spencer was approached in the street by a member of the cult and just decided to join. In an echo of Peter Green’s exit, Jeremy Spencer simply disowns his past existence and leaves Fleetwood Mac. Ironically, Peter Green is temporarily recalled to service to help Fleetwood Mac complete the current tour – before leaving again.
“No, I don’t have any regrets about leaving Fleetwood Mac. And I can say that in all honesty,” Jeremy Spencer later declares. “I believed in God and was searching the Bible and other spiritual books for the answers. I didn’t understand it myself, really, why I was such an irreverent little so-and-so onstage and off, yet had those religious inclinations.” The Children of God is a religious organisation – or maybe a cult – founded in 1968 by David Berg. There are allegations that, until the 1980s, they advocated sex with outsiders as a method of recruitment and indulged in sex with children. Jeremy Spencer is included in these accusations and one of his own daughters is amongst the complainants. In later years, the Children of God changes its name to The Family of Love, The Family and then The Family International. Jeremy Spencer remains affiliated with them throughout.
The solo album ‘Jeremy Spencer’ (1970) was released while the guitarist was still part of Fleetwood Mac. ‘Jeremy Spencer And The Children’ (1972) is his last album for some years.
Jeremy Spencer and his wife Fiona (also a member of The Family – or whatever other name the group uses) separate in 1978. Changing her name to Kitty, Fiona marries an Italian fellow named Andres who is the same age as her. Kitty (Fiona) and Andres have three daughters: Katuscia (born in 1979), Talitha a.k.a. Tally (born in 1980 or 1981) and Rebecca a.k.a. Becky (born on 21 January 1983). Tally forms a band called Jynxt with her half-siblings Jez, Ben and Nat (all fathered by Jeremy Spencer). All these kids are still associated with The Family International.
Jeremy Spencer also remarries. His second wife is named Dora.
Jeremy Spencer’s recording career continues fitfully. He releases the following albums: ‘Flee’ (1979), ‘In Concert-India 1998’ (1999), ‘Precious Little’ (2006) and ‘Bend In The Road’ (2012). Jeremey and Dora live in Ireland for a time while he illustrates children’s books for The Family. He works with Irish singer-songwriters Andy Oliver and Janet Bamford. The trio call themselves Steetley and release one album: ‘The Moment She Fell’ (2013). By 2013 Jeremy and Dora are living near Munich in Germany. Returning to solo work, Jeremey Spencer issues ‘Coventry Blue’ (2014) and ‘Homebrewed Blues’ (2016).
The March 1971 Fleetwood Mac single ‘Dragonfly’ is one of their most obscure and rare releases. The song’s lyrics are taken from the work of Welsh poet W.H. Davies (1871-1940) and set to music by guitarist Danny Kirwan. ‘Dragonfly’ is a sweetly utopian piece. It sounds rather like progressive rock (somewhere between classical music and science-fiction) over typically strong guitars. The title is repeated a couple of times towards the end of this rambling production. Because ‘Dragonfly’ is not included on any album and is issued only in the U.K. and certain European countries, it is highly collectable for those who want to own the complete works of Fleetwood Mac.
In 1971 Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan marries a woman named Clare. Danny and Clare go on to have a son together but his name and birthdate are not public knowledge. Danny and Clare divorce a few years later.
In 1971 Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie gets a tattoo on his right forearm of a penguin because it is ‘his favourite animal.’
Without Jeremy Spencer, Fleetwood Mac is in need of another vocalist and guitarist. That position is filled in April 1971 by Bob Welch.
Robert Lawrence Welch Jr. (31 August 1945-7 June 2012) is born in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. He is the first American-born member of Fleetwood Mac. Bob Welch is the son of Robert L. Welch and Templeton Fox. His father, Robert L. Welch, is a producer and screenwriter for Paramount movie studios in the 1940s and 1950s. Later in the 1950s, he moves into the television industry. Bob Welch’s mother, Templeton Fox, is a singer and actress. Her most famous credit may be in the Frank Sinatra film ‘Tony Rome’ (1967).
Bob Welch starts out in music by playing clarinet. He receives a guitar when he is 8 years old and by his teens is playing jazz, blues and rock on guitar. After graduating high school, Bob Welch moves to Paris, France. Supposedly he is going to attend the Sorbonne, a prestigious French school, but he mostly just ends up smoking hashish (a drug). Eventually Bob Welch returns to the U.S.A. and studies French at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). He drops out before graduation.
In 1964 Bob Welch joins a band called The Seven Souls. He replaces Ray Tusken (guitar). The rest of the group is: Ivory Hudson (vocals), Henry Moore (vocals, saxophone), Bill Deiz (bass) and Ron Edge (drums). They are later joined by Tony Maiden (guitar, vocals) and Bobby Watson (saxophone). In 1967 The Seven Souls release the single ‘I’m No Stranger’ backing with ‘I Still Love You’. The group breaks up in 1969. Bob Welch moves back to Paris where he forms a trio called Head West. ‘It is not a success.’ After that, Welch plays in ‘a variety of marginal bands.’ Bob Welch is hired by Fleetwood Mac on the recommendation of Judy Wong, a friend of the band.
Columbia releases ‘Black Magic Woman’ (1971) (US no. 143), a two disc compilation set of Fleetwood Mac’s blues-rock material from 1968-1969. ‘The Original Fleetwood Mac’ (1971), released in May by Fleetwood Mac’s former label Blue Horizon, consists of unreleased outtakes from 1967-1968 recording sessions.
‘Future Games’ (1971) (US no. 91), released on 3 September, is Fleetwood Mac’s first album with new member Bob Welch (vocals, guitar). It is also their first album to officially credit Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards) as part of the band. ‘Future Games’ is an all-original album of eight songs. The creative division of the contents results in three songs by guitarist Danny Kirwan, two songs by Bob Welch, two songs by Christine McVie and one group composition. Danny Kirwan’s ‘Sands Of Time’ is a lengthy (7:21) excursion broken into differing movements. It drifts from loping guitars to more emphatic keyboards. Overall, it is meditative, an odd cross between science-fiction and mysticism. Bob Welch’s ‘Lay It All Down’ is a tighter rock song that ropes in references to the Biblical figure of Moses. ‘Future Games’ is considered ‘spotty.’ By this time, virtually all traces of Fleetwood Mac’s past as a blues-based group are gone and the album ‘could almost have been the product of a west coast [U.S.A.] band.’
CBS, the new owners of the Blue Horizon label’s catalogue of recordings, puts together Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Greatest Hits’ (1971) (UK no. 36) in November. Although the group has been the subject of a number of compilation sets already, this is the first to really collect together their most popular songs from the period 1967 to 1970.
The next new Fleetwood Mac album is ‘Bare Trees’ (1972) (US no. 70, AUS no. 37), issued in March. The group’s songwriters are represented here in similar proportions to what was seen on ‘Future Games’. The album’s ten tracks are split up into five songs from guitarist Danny Kirwan, two each from guitarist Bob Welch and keyboardist Christine McVie – and one track that is actually a poem written by an elderly neighbour of the group. Bob Welch offers ‘Sentimental Lady’, a strong pop/rock song. Part of its lyric reads, “You are here today / But easily you might just go away / ‘Cos we live in a time / When paintings have no colour, words don’t rhyme.” ‘Sentimental Lady’ is not a hit for Fleetwood Mac, but Bob Welch will later re-record it as a solo performer and have a hit with the song. Christine McVie’s contributions to this set include the soulful plea ‘Spare Me A Little Of Your Love’. The vocal on this song approaches the higher notes of her singing range. Fleetwood Mac is gaining more attention in the U.S.A. now ‘rising almost in ratio to their decline from public attention in Britain.’ ‘Bare Trees’ is described as ‘highly underrated.’
Guitarist Danny Kirwan is ‘fired’ from Fleetwood Mac in August 1972. One account has it that Kirwan is ousted ‘because of his growing disenchantment with road life.’ Another version has it that his ‘alcohol dependency’ alienates him from Bob Welch and John and Christine McVie. When Kirwan smashes his guitar before a show and refuses to go on stage, drummer Mick Fleetwood feels he has no choice but to dismiss Kirwan. The guitarist doesn’t help his cause when he criticises the group over the incident.
After leaving Fleetwood Mac, guitarist Danny Kirwan continues to struggle with alcoholism. In early 1974 he assembles a new band called Hungry Fighter. This outfit consists of: Dave Walker (vocals), Danny Kirwan (vocals, guitar), Pay Raymond (keyboards), Andy Silvester (bass) and Marc Poole (drums). Hungry Fighter plays only one gig – at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England – before falling apart. Danny Kirwan goes on to release three solo albums: ‘Second Chapter’ (1975), ‘Midnight In San Juan’ (1976) [which is retitled in the U.S. as ‘Danny Kirwan’ (1977)] and ‘Hello There Big Boy!’ (1979). Decades later ‘Ram Jam City’ (2000) is released – but this consists of mid-1970s demo recordings for ‘Second Chapter’.
In the late 1970s Danny Kirwan’s mental health deteriorates to the point where he drops out of the music industry. Long-time Fleetwood Mac manager Clifford Davis attributes Kirwan’s problems to the same Munich LSD party that derailed Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. However, two of the group’s roadies, Dinky Dawson and Dennis Keane, say Kirwan wasn’t present at that party. Whatever the origins of Danny Kirwan’s problems, they don’t get better. During the 1980s and 1990s, he lives in London as a homeless person on the streets.
Danny Kirwan dies on 8 June 2018. He was 68 years old.
Rather than replace Danny Kirwan with another singer/guitarist, Fleetwood Mac divides those duties between vocalist Dave Walker and guitarist Bob Weston. The new, expanded six-piece Fleetwood Mac is launched in September 1972.
David ‘Dave’ Walker is born on 25 January 1945 in Walsall in the West Midlands of England. Dave has a twin brother, Michael ‘Mick’ Walker (25 January 1945-25 February 2016). The boys are raised by their strict grandmother who keeps them away from rock ‘n’ roll music. At a very young age, Dave Walker sings in the local Methodist church.
As teenagers, the Walker twins form a backyard skiffle group playing folk music and something similar to rock.
Dave Walker and his brother Mick go on to form a rhythm and blues group called The Redcaps (1960-1965). The founding line-up is: Ronnie Brown (vocals), his brother Ray Brown (lead guitar), Dave Walker (rhythm guitar), Mick Walker (bass), Jimmy Richards (drums) and Mac Broadhurst (saxophone). In 1962 Ronnie Brown leaves the group, so Dave Walker takes over as vocalist. In 1964 Ray Brown and Jimmy Richards also depart. These two are replaced by Mick Blythe (lead guitar) and Alan Morley (drums). The Redcaps release three singles: ‘Shout’ in 1963 (a cover version of a 1959 Isley Brothers song), ‘Talking About You’ in 1964 (a cover version of a 1961 Chuck Berry song) and ‘Funny Things’ in 1964 (written by guitarist Mick Blythe). The Redcaps open shows for The Beatles on three occasions. The Redcaps disband in 1965.
Dave Walker moves on to Beckett (1965-1969). This group never records. The other members are Pete Oliver, Don McGinty and Colin Timmons.
The next stop for Dave Walker is The Idle Race (January 1970-January 1971). The previous incarnation (May 1966-January 1970) of The Idle Race was fronted by vocalist and guitarist Jeff Lynne. He goes on to The Move (January 1970-October 1971) and Electric Light Orchestra (from October 1971). In a precursor to what will later happen with Fleetwood Mac, The Idle Race replace one singer/guitarist with one singer (Dave Walker) and one guitarist (Mike Hopkins). These two are added to the three continuing members of The Idle Race: Dave Pritchard (guitar), Greg Masters (bass) and Roger Spencer (drums). This version of The Idle Race releases the 1970 singles ‘In The Summertime’ (a cover version of the 1970 Mungo Jerry song) and ‘Neanderthal Man’ (a cover version of the 1970 Hot Legs song). The group also issues the album ‘Time Is’ (1970) – on which vocalist Dave Walker is incorrectly credited as Richie Walker.
Dave Walker’s next gig is with long-running British blues-rock band Savoy Brown. When he signs up in January 1971, the line-up of Savoy Brown is: Dave Walker (vocals), Kim Simmonds (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Andy Pyle (bass) and Dave Bidwell (drums). Andy Silvester (bass) replaces Andy Pyle in May 1971. This line-up releases two albums: ‘Street Corner Talking’ (September 1971) and ‘Hellbound Train’ (February 1972) (US top 40). In September 1972 Dave Walker joins Fleetwood Mac alongside guitarist Bob Weston.
Robert Joseph Weston (1 November 1947-3 January 2012) is born in Plymouth, Devon, England. Bob Weston has a younger brother named Peter. Bob moves to London in the mid-1960s. He joins a band called The Kinetic. This act releases one album, ‘Live Your Life’ (1967). The Kinetic supports both Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry at concerts in France.
The new six-piece version of Fleetwood Mac debuts on the album ‘Penguin’ (1973) (US no. 49), released in March. This disc is the first of two consecutive albums co-produced by Fleetwood Mac and Martin Birch. ‘Penguin’ is named after the flightless Antarctic bird that bassist John McVie likes so much he had it tattooed on his right forearm in 1971. The summery ‘Did You Ever Love Me’ is co-written by keyboardist Christine McVie and guitarist Bob Welch. Christine McVie provides the lead vocal on this track. Christine McVie is sole author of ‘Remember Me’, a hard-edged pop love song with a strong guitar thread. ‘Penguin’ includes a cover version of Jr Walker And The All Stars’ 1966 song ‘(I’m A) Road Runner’. The album has eight original songs. Aside from the previously mentioned ‘Did You Ever Love Me’ and ‘Remember Me’, the contributing authors are Christine McVie (one more track), Bob Welch (two more tracks), vocalist Dave Walker (one track) and guitarist Bob Weston (one track).
After ‘Penguin’, vocalist Dave Walker is fired ‘because his vocal style and attitude does not fit in with the rest of the band.’
Dave Walker goes on to work with a handful of different bands as well as recording as a solo artist. The first band to obtain his services is Hungry Fighter (1974), the ill-fated outfit formed by ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan. This group breaks up after just one gig without recording any material. Raven (1975-1976) consists of: Dave Walker (vocals), John Cipollina (guitar), Greg Douglass (guitar), Skip Olsen (bass) and David Weber (drums). Walker departs the group before they record their only album in 1976 – though it isn’t released until four years later as ‘John Cipollina’s Raven’ (1980). Mistress (1976-1977) features three members of Raven. The original line-up is: Dave Walker (vocals), Greg Douglass (guitar), Chris Kovacs (keyboards), Skip Olsen (bass) and Chris Paulsen (drums). In 1976 Kovacs and Olsen are replaced by Charlie Williams (keyboards) and Dave Brown (bass). Mistress disbands without ever obtaining a recording contract. Dave Walker becomes the unlikely new vocalist for heavy metal band Black Sabbath from November 1977 to 8 January 1978. He works with Tony Iommi (guitar), Terry ‘Geezer’ Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums). Dave Walker is ousted by the return of Black Sabbath’s original vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne. In what is becoming a recurring pattern, no recording sessions take place during Walker’s tenure with Black Sabbath. The ‘short-lived’ first incarnation of The Dave Walker Band (1979) teams the vocalist with Michael Boyd (guitar), Steph Burnbaum (guitar), Jim Pugh (keyboards), Mike Williams (bass) and Jim Wade (drums). When this act dissolves, Dave Walker ‘temporarily retires from music.’
Dave Walker resurfaces for a second stint with Savoy Brown (1986-1991). Walker previously sang with Savoy Brown in 1971-1972 before he joined Fleetwood Mac. When he rejoins Savoy Brown the group consists of: DaveWalker (vocals), Kim Simmonds (guitar), Jim Dagness (bass) and Al Macomber (drums). For the first time since Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Penguin’ (1973), Dave Walker gets into the recording studio again. He appears on the Savoy Brown albums ‘Make Me Sweat’ (1988) and ‘Kings Of Boogie’ (1989). When Savoy Brown subsequently goes on tour, only Dave Walker and guitarist Kim Simmonds are retained; the rest of the band is filled out by Rick Jewett (keyboards), Lou Kaplan (bass) and Pete Mendillo (drums). This line-up can be heard on the concert recording ‘Live And Kickin’’ (1990). By September 1991, Dave Walker has ‘had enough of gruelling tours,’ so he leaves Savoy Brown. In 1987, not long after he joined Savoy Brown, the British-born Dave Walker relocated to New Mexico in the U.S.A. In the late 1990s he shifts to Montana, a different part of the U.S.A. In that locale, Dave Walker becomes involved with Donovan’s Brain (1999-2003). This psychedelic garage band is the project of Ron Sanchez and has an ‘open door’ policy with musicians so band members come and go. Dave Walker appears on two albums credited to Donovan’s Brain, ‘Tiny Crustacean Light Show’ (2000) and ‘The Great Leap Forward’ (2003), and two one-off singles by the same act, ’22 Lost Marbles’ and ‘The Single # 2’. Dave Walker records a solo album, ‘Walking Underwater’ (2007), and – in order to promote this – puts together a new version of The Dave Walker Band (2007): Dave Walker (vocals), Jimmy Lewis (guitar), Chris Cundy (keyboards), Eddie Tsuru (bass) and Mike Gillan (drums).
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Weston has an affair in 1973 with Jenny Boyd, the wife of Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood. When this affair is discovered, it falls to Fleetwood Mac’s tour manager John Courage to dismiss Bob Weston from the group in September 1973. (Courage had previously been tour manager for Savoy Brown and was hired by Fleetwood Mac at the same time as Dave Walker and Bob Weston.)
Guitarist Bob Weston goes on to record three solo albums: ‘Nightlight’ (1980), ‘Studio Picks’ (1981) and ‘There’s A Heaven’ (1999). Bob Weston dies alone in his flat in Brent Cross, London, on 3 January 2012. He was 64 years old. A post mortem reveals his death was caused by a gastrointestinal haemorrhage.
‘Mystery To Me’ (1973) (US no. 67), released on 15 October, was recorded by Fleetwood Mac after the departure of vocalist Dave Walker but before the dismissal of guitarist Bob Weston. This set includes a cover version of The Yardbirds’ 1965 hit ‘For Your Love’. With a vocal from guitarist Bob Welch, the Fleetwood Mac version of ‘For Your Love’ is a little brighter and more sparkling than the dark original but it is a basically faithful recreation of the song. (Note: ‘For Your Love’ replaced ‘Good Things (Come To Those Who Wait)’ – a Bob Welch song – late in the production process.) Welch writes and sings ‘Hypnotized’, a song so slinky it is almost funky. Welch provides five more songs for this album, though one of them – ‘Keep On Going’ – is given to keyboardist Christine McVie to sing. Christine is represented by four of her own songs, the best of which may be ‘Why’. The romantic angst of this composition spills into an oceanic sense of calm acceptance, bolstered by a soaring string section. The remaining song from the twelve tracks that make up this album is co-written by (now exiled) guitarist Bob Weston and the rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. No Fleetwood Mac album since ‘Kiln House’ (1970) has reached the U.K. album charts but their performance in the U.S. marketplace has been steadily improving – until now. The planned concert tour to promote ‘Mystery To Me’ has to be cancelled due to Bob Weston’s sudden ousting and, without the push of the tour, this album fares less well commercially than hoped or expected.
Fleetwood Mac is in disarray. The band has sustained the loss of vocalist Dave Walker and guitarist Bob Weston without attempting to replace either of them. Weston’s exit also caused damage to drummer’s Mick Fleetwood’s marriage since Weston had been having an affair with Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny. To add to their woes the marriage between keyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie is under stress because of his ‘considerable alcohol abuse.’ How can all this be resolved? Manager Clifford Davis thinks he has the answer.
In October 1973 a whole new Fleetwood Mac is created. The band’s manager, Clifford Davis, believes he owns the rights to the name ‘Fleetwood Mac’ so if the existing band is unable to get its act together, he will just give the name to a new bunch of musicians. This new Fleetwood Mac consists of: Elmer Gantry (vocals), Kirby Gregory (guitar), John Wilkinson (keyboards), Dave Martinez (bass) and Craig Collinge (drums). The whole crew – minus Collinge – had previously worked together as a band called Legs. They had issued one single as Legs and, crucially, were managed by Clifford Davis – the same man who now says they are Fleetwood Mac. Australian-born drummer Craig Collinge was told he would join the group and was involved in early planning. However, the implication is that Collinge did not actually participate in their tour as Fleetwood Mac. If not, the identity of their drummer has been lost to history. Clifford Davis puts this new Fleetwood Mac on tour. Road manager John Courage hides the equipment of the ‘real’ Fleetwood Mac so it cannot be used by these ‘imposters’. The ‘new’ crew’s last performance is in January 1974. Mick Fleetwood and John McVie file a lawsuit to stop this bogus Fleetwood Mac from continuing. The lengthy legal machinations keep Fleetwood Mac – in either incarnation – out of action for almost a year. Finally, the courts rule in favour of Fleetwood and McVie. This is, of course, the end of the band’s lengthy (1967-1974) association with Clifford Davis who ceases to be their manager. Mick Fleetwood takes up most of the administrative responsibility for the group. Two members of the ersatz Fleetwood Mac, Elmer Gantry and Kirby Gregory, go on to form a new band called Stretch. They release one single, ‘Why Did You Do It?’, in 1975 which purports to be about the whole messy debacle.
Emerging from the other side of this episode is a four-piece version of Fleetwood Mac: Bob Welch (vocals, guitar), Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
During the band’s time in legal limbo, guitarist Bob Welch stayed in Los Angeles. He spoke to various entertainment attorneys about Fleetwood Mac. Welch became convinced that the group should relocate from Britain to the United States. The group’s business is almost entirely dependent now on U.S. audiences so to capitalise upon that, it makes sense for Fleetwood Mac to be based in America. With the group’s new found independence, the time seems right to make the move and so all concerned shift to Los Angeles.
‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’ (1974) (US no. 34) is released on 13 September. This album is co-produced by Fleetwood Mac and Bob Hughes. This is the first Fleetwood Mac album to have only one guitarist (Bob Welch); previous albums had two or three guitarists in the group. The eleven original tracks on ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’ are assembled from seven Bob Welch compositions and four compositions from keyboardist Christine McVie. It is Christine who writes the title track – and perhaps the disc’s best known piece – ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’. Although lyrically the song is about human frailty, musically it is buoyant pop given added impetus by a brass section. Christine McVie also authors the inviting ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’.
When Fleetwood Mac goes on tour to promote ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’, they take along a second keyboardist. In addition to Christine McVie, keyboards are played by Doug Graves, who was the engineer on ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’. Part way through the tour, Graves is replaced by Robert ‘Bobby’ Hunt. The idea seems to have been to expand the group in the long-term, but neither of these extra keyboardists is kept on. The tour ends on 5 December 1974 at California State University. This turns out to be Fleetwood Mac’s last concert with guitarist Bob Welch as he quits the band.
After leaving Fleetwood Mac, Bob Welch forms a hard rock power trio called Paris. The starting line-up in 1975 is: Bob Welch (vocals, guitar), Glenn Cornick (bass – from Jethro Tull) and Thom Mooney (drums – from Nazz). This configuration records the debut album ‘Paris’ (1976) (US no. 103), released in January. After that, Glen Cornick is replaced by Hunt Sales (bass) for the follow-up ‘Big Money Towne 2061’ (1976) (US no. 152) in August. Work begins on a third album but the ‘short-lived’ Paris collapses and what was intended to be Paris’ third outing becomes Bob Welch’s first solo album.
Bob Welch’s album ‘French Kiss’ (1977) (US no. 12) spawns three hit singles: ‘Ebony Eyes’ (US no. 14, AUS no. 2) (not the 1961 Everly Brothers song), ‘Sentimental Lady’ (US no. 8) (previously recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1972) and ‘Hot Love, Cold World’ (US no. 31). Welch’s next album, ‘Three Hearts’ (1979) (US no. 20), is almost as successful. It is home to the hits ‘Precious Love’ (US no. 19, AUS no. 37) and ‘Church’ (US no. 73). Bob Welch’s subsequent solo albums are less commercially successful. Welch issues the following albums: ‘The Other One’ (1979) [issued in November, nine months after the February release date of ‘Three Hearts’], ‘Man Overboard’ (1980), ‘Bob Welch’ (1981), ‘Eye Contact’ (1983), ‘The Best Of Bob Welch’ (1991), ‘Greatest Hits’ (1994), ‘Bob Welch Looks At Bop’ (1991), ‘His Fleetwood Mac Years & Beyond’ (2003) [new recordings of old songs], ‘Live At The Roxy’ (2004), ‘His Fleetwood Mac Years & Beyond Vol. 2’ (2006), ‘Live In Japan’ (2011) which is released on the same date as ‘Sings The Best Songs Ever Written’ (2011).
In his personal life, Bob Welch becomes addicted to cocaine and heroin, but this lasts ‘less than a year’ and ends with a hospital stay in 1985. In December 1985 Bob Welch marries Wendy Armistead, an assistant to film producers. In 1994 Bob Welch sues Fleetwood Mac for unpaid royalties and this leads to a falling out with his former colleagues. Speaking of his time with Fleetwood Mac, Welch says, “It was a transition, but it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood…credited me with ‘saving Fleetwood Mac.’ Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts…Mick and I co-managed the group for years. I’m the one who brought the band to Los Angeles from England…”
In November 2011 Bob Welch undergoes spinal surgery. The procedure is less than successful and Welch is informed by the doctors that he will not fully recover. On 7 January 2012 Bob Welch commits suicide with a gunshot to the chest. He was 66 years old. He did not want his wife to have to care for an invalid. Wendy Welch (nee Armistead), the late singer’s spouse, also feels that the pain medication (Pregabalin/Lyrica) Bob was taking may have contributed to his depression and suicide. Wendy herself has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which is at least part of the reason Bob Welch did not want to burden her further with his care needs. Wendy Welch dies from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on 28 November 2016. Like her late husband, she is 66 when her life ends.
When the group’s American-born member Bob Welch exits Fleetwood Mac in 1974, it leaves the band’s three British expatriates – drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and vocalist/keyboardist Christine McVie – in Los Angeles. The band seems ‘doomed to perennial flux.’
Drummer – and now manager – Mick Fleetwood begins to shop around in Los Angeles for a suitable recording studio. He meets producer Keith Olsen and checks out Olsen’s Sound City Studios facility. By way of establishing his credentials, Keith Olsen plays Fleetwood an album he produced that was recorded at Sound City Studios. This disc is ‘Buckingham Nicks’ (1973). Mick Fleetwood likes the studio and Keith Olsen but he likes the duo on the record even more. Fleetwood obtains their details from Olsen. After an informal interview at a Mexican restaurant, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks join Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1974.
Lindsey Adams Buckingham is born on 3 October 1949 in Palo Alto, California, U.S.A. He is the youngest member of his line-up of Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey is the son of Morris Buckingham and Rutheda Buckingham (nee Elliott). Lindsey’s grandfather founded Keystone Coffee. Lindsey’s father, Morris Buckingham, founds Alta Coffee. Lindsey is the youngest of three boys; his elder brothers are Jeffrey (born in 1943) and Gregory. Lindsey grows up in Atherton, a community in the San Francisco Bay area. All three of the Buckingham boys grow up swimming competitively. Although Lindsey drops out of sports to concentrate on music, his brother Greg goes on to win a silver medal in swimming at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Lindsey Buckingham’s interest in music first surfaces when, while listening to his older brother Jeff’s collection of singles, Lindsey plays along on a toy Mickey Mouse guitar. Noting his talents, Lindsey’s parents buy him a thirty-five dollar Harmony guitar. Lindsey Buckingham doesn’t take any music lessons and can’t read music. When he is 13 Lindsey becomes interested in folk music acts such as The Kingston Trio. However, Lindsey’s tastes also encompass the harmony singing and pop music of The Beach Boys. His musical hero is said to be The Beach Boys’ creative centre, Brian Wilson.
Lindsey Buckingham attends Menlo-Atherton High School in California. It is at this educational institution that he meets Stevie Nicks.
Stephanie Lynn Nicks is born at 3:02 a.m. (Midwestern Standard Time) on 26 May 1948 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. She is the daughter of Jess Nicks (2 July 1925-10 August 2005) and Barbara Nicks (12 November 1927-29 December 2011). As an infant, the little girl can only pronounce her own name as ‘Tee-Dee.’ This leads to Stephanie being nicknamed ‘Stevie.’ Jess and Barbara Nicks go on to have a second child, Stevie’s younger brother, Christopher.
Stevie’s grandfather, Aaron Jess ‘A.J.’ Nicks, Sr. (18 May 1922-1 August 1974), is described as ‘an ardent but failed country-crooner,’ but Stevie loyally maintains he is the father of country music. A.J. Nicks teaches Stevie to sing duets with him. He takes her out with him to appear on stage at ‘gin mills’ where he has gigs. “By the time I was 5, I was a little diva,” Stevie recalls. When Stevie is 5, her parents fall out with A.J. Nicks over such questionable practices as taking their little girl into bars. “He went away for two years, and we never heard from him. I was very upset,” says Stevie.
Barbara Nicks, Stevie’s mother, tends to be very concerned about her daughter’s welfare. “She was very protective of me. All out of love. But I was kept in more than most people were,” says Stevie. It is Stevie’s mother who fosters Stevie’s early love of fairy tales. This passion for fantasy tends to stay with Stevie through her whole life. Barbara Nicks is a ‘home maker.’
Jess Nicks, Stevie’s father, holds jobs as President of General Brewing and President of Greyhound’s Armour-Dial (a meat-packing business). As an executive in the food business, Jess Nicks is required to move his family around the U.S.A. with each new appointment. From Phoenix, the Nicks family relocates successively to Albuquerque (New Mexico), El Paso (Texas), Salt Lake City (Utah), Los Angeles and San Francisco (both in California).
Stevie Nicks plays a lot of records as an adolescent. On her 16th birthday she is given a guitar as a present. Stevie writes her first song on this instrument. While at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California, Stevie joins her first band. The Changing Times is a foursome of vocalists who specialise in folk rock and harmony singing. Another relocation for the Nicks family follows. Residing in San Francisco, Stevie Nicks attends Menlo-Atherton High School where she first encounters Lindsey Buckingham.
This is how Stevie Nicks tells the story of her introduction to Lindsey Buckingham: “I was a senior in high school and Lindsey was a junior. And we went to a Young Life meeting – which was a religious meeting that simply got you out of the house on Wednesday nights – and him, he was there and I was there and we sat down and played ‘California Dreaming’ [a 1966 folk rock hit by The Mamas And The Papas]. I thought he was darling. I didn’t see him again for two years…”
‘Stevie [Nicks] blossoms as a beauty and comes out from behind her granny glasses long enough to become first runner-up as homecoming queen…at Menlo-Atherton High School.’
Meantime, in 1966 Lindsey Buckingham joins a psychedelic rock band called The Fritz Rabayne Memorial Band. Although that name is certainly in keeping with the kooky atmosphere of the time, it is a bit of a mouthful so the group soon becomes known simply as Fritz. The line-up is: Jody Moreing (vocals, guitar), Brian Kane (lead guitar), Javier Pacheco (keyboards), Lindsey Buckingham (bass, vocals) and Bob Aguirre (a.k.a. Bob Geary) (drums). In mid-1967 Jody Moreing leaves the band to go to college. Lindsey Buckingham suggests Stevie Nicks be brought into Fritz as a replacement.
Stevie Nicks remembers how Lindsey Buckingham re-enters her life: “He called me up and asked if I wanted to be in a band…and so, I was in this band with him for three and a half years – a band called Fritz.” When Stevie’s family relocates to Chicago in 1968, Stevie stays behind with Lindsey and Fritz in San Francisco. Keyboardist Javier Pacheco is the main songwriter in Fritz and his tendency is towards psychedelic music. However the addition of Stevie Nicks’ songs to the group’s repertoire introduces some country music tones to Fritz’s sound. Fritz opens shows for both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks is inspired by the headliners’ intensity on stage. Both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham attend San Jose State University while they are in Fritz. Stevie majors in speech communication and plans to be an English teacher. Neither Lindsey nor Stevie graduate; they both drop out of university before graduation. Fritz disbands around the end of 1971.
About this time, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks become romantically involved. Exactly when they became a couple is a bit more difficult to pinpoint. When they met in 1966, Stevie thought Lindsey was ‘darling’. When her family moved to Chicago in 1968, Stevie stayed in San Francisco with Lindsey who is described as her ‘boyfriend.’ Another account puts the start date of their relationship in 1970, in the midst of their time with Fritz. However, the most common date for the beginning of their love is 1972, after Fritz disbands.
Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks decide to make music as a duo. The act is titled Buckingham Nicks. The 1971 line-up of musicians involved is: Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar), Stevie Nicks (vocals), Tom Moncrieff (bass), Bob Aguirre/Geary (drums) and Gary Hodges (percussion). In 1972 Lindsey Buckingham tours with 1950s rock duo The Everly Brothers without the rest of his band of musicians. Buckingham Nicks secures a recording contract with Polydor and issue one album, ‘Buckingham Nicks’ (1973), on 5 September. The album contains ten songs: four by Lindsey Buckingham, four by Stevie Nicks, one co-written by Lindsey and Stevie and one written by John Lewis, who plays piano on the album. Stevie’s contributions include ‘Crystal’, a song which will later be reworked by Fleetwood Mac. ‘Buckingham Nicks’ is ‘not a commercial success.’ Polydor drops the duo from its roster of recording artists.
In 1973 Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks share a small house in Los Angeles with their bassist Tom Moncrieff and Lindsey’s friend Richard Dashut. Lindsey comes down with mononucleosis, a condition whose symptoms include fever and tiredness. With Lindsey out of action, the pragmatic Stevie Nicks works at a series of jobs to make ends meet. Stevie is employed as a dental assistant (for one day), as a hostess at a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant, as a house cleaner for record producer Keith Olsen and as a waitress. Stevie also claims that she first uses cocaine at this time while working these jobs. When Lindsey recovers sufficiently, he and Stevie move out to Aspen, Colorado, for a while. Three months later, in December 1974 Lindsey receives a phone call from Mick Fleetwood, the drummer and manager of Fleetwood Mac. At first, Fleetwood just wants to hire Lindsey Buckingham to replace Bob Welch in the Fleetwood Mac line-up. However, Lindsey loyally insists that he and Stevie are a ‘package deal.’ Ironically, Lindsey later points out, “When Stevie and I joined the band, we were in the midst of breaking up.” However all accounts suggest their love continues for a couple of years still to come. Before taking on the new members, Mick Fleetwood ensures that Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie get along because ‘nobody wants a situation where the two women are bickering back and forth.’
The addition of the two newcomers results in the most famous configuration of Fleetwood Mac: Stevie Nicks (vocals), Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar), Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). The new Fleetwood Mac is basically a three-headed beast since Stevie, Lindsey and Christine all sing and write songs. It’s not exactly new territory for the band though since some previous versions also contained three singer-songwriters (e.g. Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan). This is not a blues-rock band anymore though. Since 1970 Fleetwood Mac has drifted towards a softer, more laid-back approach. The latest version of the group adds ‘pop accessibility to the hard rock.’
Stevie Nicks brings to the group a more recognisable image, her distinctive voice and her songwriting skills. She has a ‘sexy, hippie gypsy stage persona which gives the band a charismatic frontwoman.’ Stevie is ‘a sex symbol and the most popular member of the group.’ Margi Kent is credited with helping Stevie develop her unique stage look of ‘flowing skirts, shawls and platform boots.’ “Even when platforms went completely out of style, I kept wearing them because I didn’t want to go back to being five feet three inches in heels,” Stevie explains. Without heels, Stevie Nicks’ height is said to be either five feet, one inch or five feet, one and a half inches. Stevie’s voice is described as ‘husky‘ or a ‘gruff, feathery alto.’ Her voice often has a decidedly nasal inflection and a country music-influenced drawl to it. The country music beloved by her grandfather, A.J. Nicks, also surfaces in Stevie’s songwriting. Her composing is usually a private thing for just her voice and either a guitar or a piano. They are intimate ballads rather than rock songs. Translating this into an arrangement suitable for Fleetwood Mac is not always a simple task. “I write my songs but [guitarist] Lindsey [Buckingham] puts the magic in,” Stevie says, intimating that her boyfriend helps with the musical arrangements. Lyrically, the love of fantasy instilled in Stevie by her mother, Barbara Nicks, often manifests in the poetic imagery she employs. When she joins Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood gives Stevie Nicks all the group’s previous discs with which to become acquainted. According to Stevie, the one common thread is magic (“There’s always been a very mystical thing about Fleetwood Mac,” she says); though, apart from Peter Green’s ‘Black Magic Woman’, it’s hard to see where she gets that idea. In any case, Stevie Nicks ensures that magic and mystical things become hallmarks of her songs.
Lindsey Buckingham’s contributions to Fleetwood Mac are his vocals, his guitar playing, his songs and, increasingly as time passes, his expertise with the recording studio. Ironically, Lindsey Buckingham – the group’s only male vocalist – has the highest-pitched voice. His singing style veers from appealing pop tones to an almost manic desperation and eccentricity. Before joining Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham usually played a Fender Telecaster. With Fleetwood Mac, he switches to a white Gibson Les Paul model guitar. Unusually, Buckingham doesn’t employ a guitar pick; he plays the strings with his fingers and fingernails. If, generally, he seems a less pyrotechnic guitarist than such forerunners as Peter Green, this has something to do with Fleetwood Mac’s new found dedication to accessible pop. In concert, or when the band stretches out on the occasional lengthier song, Lindsey Buckingham displays a fiery verve that prompts a reassessment of his skills as a guitarist. Lindsey’s songs alternate between acoustic, folk-influenced pieces, tight pop and goofball strangeness. The latter two strains represent some influence from his musical hero, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. Like Wilson, Buckingham comes to use the recording studio like an instrument in its own right, bending and shaping the sounds to meet his whims or goals. “I love to be in the [recording] studio. That’s what I like to do best,” Buckingham admits. It is also Lindsey’s musical flexibility that allows him to stitch together the otherwise divergent songwriting styles of the group’s three composers.
Christine McVie’s work was discussed earlier in this narrative when she first entered this saga. At this point, it is perhaps enough to note that Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are probably her greatest foils; the singer-songwriters whose skills are the most contrasting and complementary to her earth-mother persona and her grounded hit-writing abilities.
The new incarnation of Fleetwood Mac debuts on the album ‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1975) (UK no. 23, US no. 1, AUS no. 3), released in July. This should not be confused with the group’s debut album, ‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1968), which has the same title. The 1975 album is sometimes referred to as ‘The White Album’ because of its predominantly white cover and spartan imagery. Only drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are shown on the album cover. McVie is on his knees with fake shoes attached to his kneecaps to make him look humorously even shorter next to the lanky Fleetwood. The cover photo is the work of Herbert V. Worthington II. This album is co-produced by Fleetwood Mac and Keith Olsen. ‘Fleetwood Mac’ contains eleven songs. Vocalist and keyboardist Christine McVie contributes four and one half songs; the lion’s share. She writes and sings the languorous ‘Warm Ways’, which is the first single from the album. It fails to chart. However, the follow-up single, the giddy ‘Over My Head’ (US no. 20) (also by Christine), becomes Fleetwood Mac’s first hit single since ‘The Green Manalishi’ in 1970. However Christine’s best piece on the album is the instantly catchy ‘Say You Love Me’ (UK no. 40, US no. 11, AUS no. 38). In the lyrics, she pleads, “Have mercy baby on a poor girl like me / Now I’m falling, falling, falling at your feet / I’m tingling right from my head to my toes / So help me, help me, help me make the feeling go / ‘Cos when the lovin’ starts and the lights go down / And there’s not another livin’ soul around / You woo me until the sun comes up / And you say that you love me.” The song’s appeal is greatly enhanced by Lindsey Buckingham playing what sounds like a banjo. Christine McVie’s share of the album also includes the bouncy ‘Sugar Daddy’ (a gold-digger’s anthem) and a co-writing credit with Lindsey Buckingham on ‘World Turning’. The pair also shares vocals on this longer, semi-acoustic, tumultuous piece. The third single from ‘Fleetwood Mac’ is issued between Christine McVie’s ‘Over My Head’ and ‘Say You Love Me’. The track concerned is the band’s all-time best song: Stevie Nicks’ ‘Rhiannon’ (US no. 11, AUS no. 13). When the band performs ‘Rhiannon’ live, Nicks introduces it as a song about a Welsh witch. This is not quite accurate. Rhiannon is a Welsh goddess. It seems that Stevie got her interpretation of the character from ‘Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural’ (1972) by Mary Bartlett Lender. In this song of the occult, Stevie Nicks intones, “Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night / And wouldn’t you love to love her / Takes to the sky like a bird in flight / And who will be her lover?” In concert, Nicks practically lives the part of ‘Rhiannon’, ‘floating spacily across stages in gossamer black chiffon, midnight-suede boots, and a top hat.’ Stevie says, “The legend of Rhiannon is about the song of the birds that take away pain and relieve suffering…It’s not a rock ‘n’ roll song,” her original version being softer and more emotional. Boyfriend/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham gets the credit (or blame?) for the arrangement. Fleetwood Mac may have other songs to their credit that are bigger hits than ‘Rhiannon’ but none more memorable. ‘Rhiannon’ reinvents Fleetwood Mac forever. No longer will ‘Albatross’ or Peter Green’s blues-rock be the band’s most recognisable moments. Instead Nicks’ witcheries will dominate the band’s legend. ‘Rhiannon’ is not a hit in the U.K. when it is first released as a single in 1976, but when it is reissued in 1978, ‘Rhiannon’ (UK no. 46) does make a modest showing on the U.K. chart. Aside from ‘Rhiannon’, Stevie Nicks writes two other songs on this album. ‘Landslide’ is achingly delicate and vulnerable and perhaps inspired by the time she and Lindsey Buckingham spent in Aspen, Colorado, immediately prior to joining Fleetwood Mac. Stevie wrote both ‘Rhiannon’ and ‘Landslide’ for the second Buckingham Nicks album – which never eventuated. Her third song on this disc, ‘Crystal’, had appeared first on ‘Buckingham Nicks’ (1973) but is revisited here. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham sings the lead vocal on ‘Crystal’, with Stevie adding harmonies. Two of Lindsey’s own songs act as bookends for the album. He pens the opening song, ‘Monday Morning’, a frolicking tale of romantic confusion, and the closing song, ‘I’m So Afraid’. The latter gives him an opportunity to stretch out as a guitarist on this paranoid and spooky tune. The album also includes one outside composition, ‘Blue Letter’, which is written by Michael Curtis and Richard Curtis. Lindsey Buckingham takes the lead on this neat rocker.
‘Fleetwood Mac’ proves ‘remarkably successful’ but it is a slow process. It takes fifteen months to reach the top of the U.S. album charts. “We just played everywhere and we sold that record. We kicked that album in the @$$,” boasts vocalist Stevie Nicks.
‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1975) also ushers in what Stevie Nicks describes as “the cocaine years,” 1975 to 1986. She swiftly goes on to allege that, “I did not do more coke than anyone else in that band.” Whatever drugs may have been in use, the same period is roughly also Fleetwood Mac’s most commercially and creatively satisfying era.
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks has breast implant surgery in 1976.
1976 is a difficult year romantically for the members of Fleetwood Mac. Keyboardist Christine McVie has an affair with the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant. This seems to be the last straw for the troubled marriage between Christine and John McVie. The couple divorce in 1976. Although they are not married, vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham have been a couple since at least 1972 (and perhaps earlier). Their relationship has also been rather strained lately and the pair finally split in 1976. Drummer Mick Fleetwood has been involved with Jenny Boyd since the mid-1960s. They married in 1970. Jenny had an affair with Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Weston in 1973 that led to Weston being dismissed from the group. Mick and Jenny divorce in 1976…though it is not the end of their story…Amidst all this romantic turmoil, Fleetwood Mac record their next album.
‘Rumours’ (1977) (UK no. 1, US no. 1, AUS no. 1) is released on 4 February. This is the group’s first album for Warner Bros. Previously Fleetwood Mac was on the Reprise label, a subsidiary of Warners. With this disc they move to the parent label. Like its predecessor, ‘Rumours’ features only two members of Fleetwood Mac on the cover. However, rather than John McVie, it is Stevie Nicks who shares the cover image with Mick Fleetwood, wafting about the drummer. She is attired in her Rhiannon costume while Mick has his lucky toilet balls souvenir dangling between his legs. Once again the cover photo is by Herbert Worthington II. ‘Rumours’ is co-produced by Fleetwood Mac, Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut. (The last-named shared a house with vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham in the early 1970s.) The band had started work with Keith Olsen, the producer of their previous album, but sacked him. Some credit Lindsey Buckingham for naming the album ‘Rumours’. Another version of the legend suggests it was bassist John McVie who coined the title because he felt the band was writing ‘journals and diaries’ about each other in the music and song lyrics. The title is ‘their reference to the rumours abounding about which band member was sleeping with which other band member.’ ‘Rumours’ has eleven tracks: three written by guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, three compositions from vocalist Stevie Nicks, four songs penned by keyboardist Christine McVie and one piece attributed to all five members of Fleetwood Mac. The first single is Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Go Your Own Way’ (UK no. 38, US no. 10, AUS no. 20). In this fiery performance, Lindsey sings, “Loving you / Isn’t the right thing to do.” Former lover Stevie Nicks bristles later at the lyric, “Packing up / Shacking up is all you want to do.” “Now I want you to know,” Stevie sternly tells an interviewer, “that line about ‘shacking up’? I never shacked up with anybody when I was with him!…I was the one who broke up with him…All he wanted to do was fall asleep with that guitar.” In the song, Lindsey concludes, “You can go your own way / You can call it another lonely day.” Buckingham also serves up a great guitar solo that buzzes like a bee in a bottle. His other contributions to ‘Rumours’ are the lively and sexy opening number ‘Second Hand News’ and the semi-acoustic finger-picking of ‘Never Going Back Again.’ The second single from ‘Rumours’ is Stevie Nicks’ ‘Dreams’ (UK no. 24, US no. 1, AUS no. 14). “I sat down on my bed with my keyboard in front of me. I found the drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote ‘Dreams’ in about ten minutes. Right away I liked the fact that I was doing something with a dance beat, because that made it a little unusual for me…They [i.e. Fleetwood Mac] weren’t nuts about it. But I said, ‘Please, please record this song, at least try it,’” Stevie recounts. It would seem that the lyrics to ‘Dreams’ pointedly refer to ex-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham when they say, “Now here you go again / You say you want your freedom” and “ Thunder only happens when it’s raining / Players only love you when they’re playing.” The song’s title is derived from lines in the verses: “Have you any dreams you’d like to sell? / Dreams of loneliness / Like a heartbeat drives you mad / In the stillness of remembering / What you had and what you lost.” ‘Dreams’ is Fleetwood Mac’s all-time biggest hit in the U.S.A. It tops the U.S. singles chart for one week on 18 June 1977. “The reason that ‘Dreams’ is so special to me,” explains Stevie Nicks, “is that is the only [U.S.] no. 1 single Fleetwood Mac ever had. It’s also the only one that I hang on my wall in Phoenix. I am very proud of that…” Nicks is also the author of ‘I Don’t Want To Know’, a song supporting the adage that ‘ignorance is bliss’ and performed as a duet with Lindsey Buckingham, and ‘Gold Dust Woman’, the album’s closing track which is hypnotic and infused with country music-style lamentations. (Note: Another Stevie Nicks song, ‘Silver Springs’, doesn’t make the final cut and is exiled to the B side of the ‘Go Your Own Way’ single. ‘Silver Springs’ will resurface later under controversial circumstances.) Keyboardist Christine McVie is responsible for the other two singles from ‘Rumours’. The album’s third single is ‘Don’t Stop’ (UK no. 32, US no. 3, AUS no. 30). Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham shares the lead vocal on this song with Christine. The song’s uplifting message is in the lyrics (as well as the romping melody): “Why not think about times to come / And not about the things that you’ve done / If your life was as bad to you / Just think what tomorrow will do / Don’t stop / Thinking about tomorrow / Don’t stop / It’ll soon be here / It’ll be here / Better than before / Yesterday’s gone.” (‘Yesterday’s Gone’ was the original title for the album before ‘Rumours’ was chosen.) Single number four is ‘You Make Loving Fun’ (UK no. 45, US no. 9, AUS no. 65). It is inspired by Christine McVie’s affair with the band’s lighting director Curry Grant – though Christine tells husband (now ex-husband) bassist John McVie that she wrote it about her dog. In an unusual move for her, Christine builds ‘You Make Loving Fun’ on a compulsive synthesiser groove. One of her other pieces on ‘Rumours’ is ‘Songbird’, a spare sounding recording of piano and voice alone. If ‘Songbird’ sounds a bit different to its brethren, it is because it is not laid down in the recording studio; ‘Songbird’ is recorded at the University of California’s Zellerbach Auditorium ‘giving it its distinctive soft distance.’ Christine McVie’s other song on ‘Rumours’ is the wounded and emotional ‘Oh Daddy’. ‘The Chain’ is an ominous group composition about the ties that bind. Apparently it was first recorded as a Stevie Nicks solo piece. The recording sessions for ‘Rumours’ were ‘marked by hedonistic behaviour and interpersonal strife.’ To put it another way it ‘was fuelled by class A harmonies, class A drugs and beautiful music being made in studios and bedrooms between band members.’ ‘Rumours’ is Fleetwood Mac’s best album. Its sleek and enticing sound is given gravitas by its emotional baggage. It owes ‘its success to Fleetwood Mac’s willingness to turn private turmoil into gleaming, melodic public art.’ “Everything underneath is so dark and murky,” says Lindsey Buckingham. “It’s quite interesting on a musical level and as a soap opera.” Drummer Mick Fleetwood concludes, “[It’s] the most important album we ever made.” ‘Rumours’ sends four hundred and seventy-seven weeks (over eight years) on the U.K. album chart, though it spends only one week at no. 1 (28 January 1978). By contrast, it spends thirty-one weeks at no. 1 in the U.S.A. and sells over nineteen million copies in that country. Worldwide sales of ‘Rumours’ exceed forty million.
Starting on 28 February 1977, Fleetwood Mac begins a seven month concert tour to promote the album ‘Rumours’. In April 1977 they detour from the U.S. concert circuit to play European gigs in the U.K., Netherlands, France and Germany.
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks has an ‘on and off’ romantic relationship with Don Henley (born on 22 July 1947), vocalist and drummer for U.S. country rock band The Eagles, from 1976 to 1978. During one of those ‘off’ periods, Nicks has an affair with Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1977-1978. This liaison does not become public knowledge until years later. Allegedly during the time she spends with Don Henley, Nicks falls pregnant but has an abortion. Stevie Nicks provides backing vocals on Walter Egan’s May 1978 hit ‘Magnet And Steel’ (US no. 8, AUS no. 32). She is also reputedly the inspiration for the song. Stevie Nicks duets with Kenny Loggins on the July 1978 hit single ‘Whenever I Call You Friend’ (US no. 5). Nicks also provides backing vocals on John Stewart’s May 1979 song ‘Gold’ (US no. 5).
Fleetwood Mac vocalist and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham begins a romantic relationship with Carol Ann Harris in 1977. Lindsey meets Carol during the mixing of the ‘Rumours’ album. She is a receptionist at Producer’s Workshop, a Hollywood recording studio – and is also an aspiring model. Lindsey Buckingham co-produces Walter Egan’s album ‘Not Shy’ (1978). This includes the hit single ‘Magnet And Steel’ (US no. 8, AUS no. 32). Walter Egan’s backing band includes bassist Tom Moncrieff – who previously paid bass for Buckingham Nicks and, in the early 1970s, shared a house with Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and the co-producer of ‘Rumours’, Richard Dashut. Lindsey Buckingham co-produces John Stewart’s ‘Bombs Away Dream Babies’ (1979) (US no. 10). Buckingham also plays guitar on the album.
In 1979 Fleetwood Mac vocalist and keyboardist Christine McVie begins a tempestuous romantic relationship with Dennis Wilson (4 December 1944-28 December 1983), the drummer for U.S. pop group The Beach Boys. At one point Christine and Dennis are reportedly engaged. Commenting on the turbulent nature of their romance, Christine says, “I tend to go for these half little-boy characters.”
On 19 April 1978 Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie marries his second wife, Julie Ann Reubens. John and Julie go on to have a daughter together, Molly (born on 28 February 1989).
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood had divorced his wife Jenny Boyd in 1976. In 1977 Mick and Jenny reconcile and marry for the second time. Mick has a secret affair with Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks in 1977-1978. Mick Fleetwood and Jenny Boyd divorce for the second and final time in 1978. Jenny Boyd goes on to obtain a PhD in psychology and, by the late 1980s, is a clinical consultant and author.
CBS issues the compilation album ‘Man Of The World’ (1978) which revisits Fleetwood Mac’s early career.
The current line-up of Fleetwood Mac reconvenes for ‘Tusk’ (1979) (UK no. 1, US no. 4, AUS no. 2), released on 12 October. The album is co-produced by the same team that oversaw ‘Rumours’, Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat. However ‘Tusk’ is a very different beast to ‘Rumours’. The cover image has an inset snapshot of a dog chewing at someone’s trouser leg and that photo is slapped on an arty, abstract background. The dog in the photo is co-producer Ken Caillat’s pooch, Scooter. ‘Tusk’ is ‘a highly experimental album’ that costs over a million dollars to record. It is the most expensive rock album ever made up to this point in time. ‘Tusk’ is also a double album. “Making a double album is something that I very much wanted to do,” explains drummer/manager Mick Fleetwood who is credited with making the decision to proceed with this format. Since Fleetwood Mac contains three singer-songwriters, filling the double album’s twenty song menu is no problem. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham is responsible for writing nine of the album’s twenty tracks. This is a clear majority. Between ‘Rumours’ and ‘Tusk’ Buckingham undergoes quite a transformation. Gone are his long, dark, curly locks, his beard and his white Les Paul guitar. In their place, Lindsey has closely shorn hair, a clean-shaven face and a woodgrain semi-acoustic 1979 Model One guitar, a personalised instrument created by Renaissance Guitars. Buckingham has also discovered punk and new wave music and these influences colour his work. Lindsey is the author of the first single from this set, the album’s title track ‘Tusk’ (UK no. 6, US no. 8, AUS no. 3). It is perhaps the most bizarre thing ever recorded by Fleetwood Mac. ‘Tusk’ is allegedly named for Mick Fleetwood’s pet name for his own penis. The song is based on a drum pattern that Fleetwood uses as a rehearsal riff. It builds to include the brassy sounds of the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band (recorded live at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles). The hushed vocal demands, “Don’t say that you love me / Just tell me that you want me.” In the video for ‘Tusk’, bassist John McVie is represented by a cardboard cut-out because he was in Tahiti at the time. Strange as it may be, ‘Tusk’ is a popular song – and Fleetwood Mac’s all-time biggest hit in Australia. Lindsey Buckingham also writes the third single from ‘Tusk’, the manic ‘Not That Funny’ – which fails to chart. Three of his other compositions – ‘The Ledge’, ‘Save Me A Place’ and ‘That’s All For Everyone’ – are recorded on Buckingham’s portable home studio. This is rather incongruous given the album’s overall recording price tag. If Mick Fleetwood has any qualms about being asked to play drums on Kleenex boxes or provide percussion with slapped lamb chops on such songs, then after the weirdness of Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan, the eccentricities of the Mac’s current guitarist seem relatively mild. Buckingham provides songs of such ‘scrappy, austere strangeness’ on ‘Tusk’ that they have to be admired, even while scratching one’s head in confusion. Vocalist Stevie Nicks is represented on ‘Tusk’ by five songs (the smallest contingent of any of the group’s three singer-songwriters). She writes the second single from ‘Tusk’, ‘Sara’ (UK no. 37, US no. 7, AUS no. 11). It is reportedly named after the aborted child Nicks had with ex-lover Don Henley. However it may also be connected to Nicks’ friend Sara Recor who had a dalliance with Mick Fleetwood which effectively ended Nicks’ own secret affair with Fleetwood. In the lyrics, Stevie sings, “Sara / You’re the poet in my heart” and offers up the image of “undoing the laces” like the heroine of a historical bodice-ripper. Musically, the song gradually swells through layers of harmonies and Lindsey Buckingham’s filigreed guitarwork. Stevie Nicks writes three of the five singles from ‘Tusk’. She is also responsible for the fourth single, the witchy ‘Sisters Of The Moon’ (US no. 86), and the (non-charting) fifth single, the pop-oriented ‘Angel’. Rounding out her section of ‘Tusk’ are the tender ‘Beautiful Child’ and the softly brooding ‘Storms’. Keyboardist Christine McVie writes six songs on ‘Tusk’. These include the album’s third single, ‘Think About Me’ (US no. 20). On this rough-hewn pop tune, she shares lead vocals with Lindsey Buckingham. Dark brown tones pervade her work on such pieces as ‘Over & Over’ and ‘Never Make Me Cry’. ‘Brown Eyes’ (possibly about her beau Dennis Wilson) is repetitively mesmeric and features an uncredited guest appearance from former Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green. “He plays literally about eight notes at the end,” advises Mick Fleetwood. Looking back on ‘Tusk’, Lindsey Buckingham says, ”You got that sweetness [from Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie] and me as the complete nutcase. That’s what makes us Fleetwood Mac.” However bassist John McVie feels it sounds like “the work of three solo artists.” ‘Tusk’ polarises fans and critics alike; some love it, some hate it. Although, on the face of it, ‘Tusk’ looks like a very commercially successful album, Fleetwood Mac’s record label, Warner Bros, is less impressed. By February 1978, ‘Rumours’ had sold ten million copies; ‘Tusk’ sells ‘only’ four million. So, by that measure, ‘Tusk’ is ‘a commercial failure’ – but it would be a rare album that could meet the benchmark of ‘Rumours’.
Fleetwood Mac undertakes a nine month tour to promote ‘Tusk’. The itinerary takes in concerts in the U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Live’ (1980) (UK no. 31, US no. 14, AUS no. 20), released on 8 December, is a two disc set. It is assembled from concert recordings from 1977 to 1980, but most of the material comes from the ‘Tusk’ tour. ‘Fireflies’ (US no. 60), an otherwise unavailable Stevie Nicks song, is released as a single from ‘Live’. Its sound is fairly standard and what would be expected. It’s hard not to see the lyrics as autobiographical when it includes lines like “To be the last to leave / Well, what caused the fearsome / Divorce in the night / When there was no competition” and “Some call it our nightmare / My five fireflies.” A cover version of the 1963 Beach Boys song ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’ is also released as a single from this album. Although it does not chart it serves as a showcase for Fleetwood Mac’s vocal harmonies. ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’ has only minimal musical accompaniment (handclaps, bass, guitar).
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks releases her first solo album, ‘Bella Donna’ (1981) (UK no. 11, US no. 1, AUS no. 1), on 27 July. This album spawns four hit singles: ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ (a duet with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers) (UK no. 50, US no. 3, AUS no. 10), ‘Leather And Lace’ (a duet with ex-lover Don Henley) (US no. 6, AUS no. 68), ‘Edge Of Seventeen’ (US no. 11) and ‘After The Glitter Fades’ (US no. 32). ‘Bella Donna’ is produced by Jimmy Iovine – who is also Stevie Nicks’ boyfriend in 1981-1982. ‘Bella Donna’ includes Stevie Nicks’ backing vocalists Lori Perry and Sharon Celani. Lori Perry later becomes Stevie’s sister-in-law when Lori marries Stevie’s younger brother, Christopher.
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham releases his first solo album, ‘Law And Order’ (1981) (US no. 31), on 3 October. This disc is home to the hit singles ‘Trouble’ (UK no. 31, US no. 9, AUS no. 1) and ‘It Was I’ (US no. 110, AUS no. 74).
The romantic relationship between Fleetwood Mac keyboardist Christine McVie and Dennis Wilson comes to an end in 1982.
Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie tours with a version of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1981-1982. The line-up of the group for these concerts is assembled from various past incarnations of the group. Those participating in this tour are: John Mayall (vocals, keyboards), Mick Taylor (guitar), John McVie (bass) and Colin Allen (drums).
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood is diagnosed with diabetes around the time ‘Tusk’ is released. He will need to manage this medical condition for the rest of his life. Mick Fleetwood releases a solo album, ‘The Visitor’ (1981) (US no. 43), in June. It is inspired by a trip to Africa.
Fleetwood Mac reassembles for ‘Mirage’ (1982) (UK no. 5, US no. 1, AUS no. 2), released on 18 June. This album is once again co-produced by Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat. Most of the recordings are laid down at Le Chateau in Herouville, France, but additional recording sessions take place in Los Angeles at Larrabee Sound Studios and The Record Plant. The end product is a glossier, sleeker album that is ‘more conventional and more accessible than “Tusk”.’ The twelve tracks on ‘Mirage’ are apportioned to keyboardist Christine McVie (four songs), guitarist Lindsey Buckingham (five songs) and vocalist Stevie Nicks (three songs). The first single from ‘Mirage’ is ‘Hold Me’ (US no. 4, AUS no. 12). Christine McVie co-writes ‘Hold Me’ with Robbie Patton (a fairly obscure U.K. singer-songwriter) and she shares the lead vocal on this tune with Lindsey Buckingham. The lyrics coyly suggest, “There’s nobody in the future / So baby let me hand you my love / A new step for you to dance to / So slip your hand inside my glove.” ‘Hold Me’ has an appealing pop melody and buoyant harmonies. It fails to chart initially in the U.K. but ‘Hold Me’ (UK no. 94) manages a minor U.K. chart placement when it is reissued in 1989 on the heels of the song being used in an advertisement. Christine McVie’s ‘Love In Store’ (US no. 22, AUS no. 96), co-written with Jim Recor, is the album’s opening song and another catchy highlight of ‘Mirage’. It is the third single from this set. The closing track, ‘Wish You Were Here’, also belongs to McVie, though she co-writes this one with Bluesbreakers drummer Colin Allen. The only one of Christine’s quartet of songs on ‘Mirage’ that she doesn’t co-write with anyone is her warm and loving ‘Only Over You’. Stevie Nicks writes her own theme song with ‘Gypsy’ (UK no. 46, US no. 12, AUS no. 17). The video for ‘Gypsy’, the album’s second single, is a typically rococo production from director Russell Mulcahy. ‘Straight Back’ was written after her break-up with Jimmy Iovine while ‘That’s Alright’ dates back to the Buckingham Nicks era. ‘Oh Diane’ (US no. 9) is Lindsey Buckingham’s best known song from ‘Mirage’. Sounding rather like a 1950s pastiche, it is the fourth single lifted from this album. ‘Oh Diane’ is co-written by Buckingham and co-producer Richard Dashut. Another two of Buckingham’s works here – ‘Book Of Love’ and ‘Empire State’ – are also co-written by Dashut. Lindsey Buckingham writes the other two songs he performs – ‘Can’t Go Back’ (US no. 83) (the fifth and final single) and ‘Eyes Of The World’ – by himself. Keyboardist Christine McVie offers this assessment of Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album: “’Mirage’ was an attempt to get back into the flow that ‘Rumours’ had. But we missed a vital ingredient. That was the passion.”
Fleetwood Mac’s concert tour to promote ‘Mirage’ takes in only eighteen cities in the U.S.A. On 5 September 1982 the group headlines the US Festival (3 September-5 September 1982) in San Bernardino, California. It is financed by Steve Wozniak of Apple computers. Other acts participating in the three day festival include: The B-52’s, The Cars, The Grateful Dead, The Kinks, Tom Petty, The Police, The Ramones and Talking Heads. Fleetwood Mac is paid five hundred thousand dollars for their performance.
On 29 January 1983 Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks marries Kim Anderson. On 27 July 1981, the day her solo album ‘Bella Donna’ was released, Stevie learned that her friend Robin Anderson was dying of leukaemia. Robin lived long enough to give birth to a son and named Stevie as the child’s godmother. Robin Anderson died in 1982. Kim Anderson is her widower husband. He belongs to the Hiding Place Church. In the lead up to the wedding the Minister who performs the ceremony expresses some concern about whether the bride shares their religious beliefs. His trepidation is well-founded since the marriage lasts ‘only a few months’ – though the divorce doesn’t come through until April 1984. “We didn’t get married because we were in love,” says Stevie. “We got married because we were grieving and it was the only way that we could feel like we were doing anything.” Stevie Nicks goes on to have a romantic relationship from 1983 to 1986 with Joe Walsh (born on 20 November 1947), a guitarist from The Eagles. It may be recalled that Stevie had previously been involved with Eagles drummer Don Henley in an on-and-off relationship from 1976 to 1978. In 1985, during her time with Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks also has a brief dalliance with David A. Stewart (born on 9 September 1952), keyboardist and guitarist from the British duo Eurythmics.
In the interim between ‘Mirage’ and the next Fleetwood Mac album, Stevie Nicks releases two solo albums. ‘The Wild Heart’ (1983) (UK no. 28, US no. 5, AUS no. 8) is issued on 10 June. It includes the singles ‘Stand Back’ (US no. 5, AUS no. 20), ‘If Anyone Falls’ (US no. 14) and ‘Nightbird’ (US no. 33). ‘Rock A Little’ (1985) (UK no. 30, US no. 12, AUS no. 5) is released on 18 November. The hit singles from this set are: ‘Talk To Me’ (UK no. 54, US no. 6, AUS no. 20), ‘I Can’t Wait’ (UK no. 68, US no. 4, AUS no. 22) and ‘Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You’ (US no. 60). Stevie Nicks also makes some guest appearances on stage with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers during Dylan and Petty’s joint concert tour from 5 February 1986 to 6 August 1986.
In October 1986 Stevie Nicks checks into The Betty Ford Clinic for thirty days to treat her addiction to cocaine. A psychiatrist prescribes the sedative Klonopin for her to prevent a relapse.
The relationship between Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and Carol Ann Harris comes to an end in 1983. Lindsey Buckingham’s 1983 solo single ‘Holiday Road’ (US no. 82) comes from the soundtrack to the movie ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ (1983). Lindsey Buckingham releases a solo album, ‘Go Insane’ (1984) (US no. 45), on 3 July. The singles ‘Go Insane’ (US no. 23, AUS no. 100) and ‘Slow Dancing’ (US no. 106) are lifted from this album. Buckingham tells a reporter, “I’ve seen Stevie’s show. I’ve seen Christine’s show. To me, they both bordered on being lounge acts.”
Fleetwood Mac keyboardist Christine McVie releases a solo album titled, simply, ‘Christine McVie’ (1984) (UK no. 58, US no. 26). This album has two hit singles: ‘Love Will Show Us How’ (US no. 30) and ‘Got A Hold On Me’ (US no. 10). On 18 October 1986 Christine McVie marries her second husband, Eduardo ‘Eddie’ Quintela. He is twelve years younger than Christine. Eddie Quintela is a Portuguese musician who will go on to co-write a number of songs with Christine McVie in the years following their marriage.
After the end of the ‘Mirage’ tour in 1982, Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie indulges his enthusiasm for sailing while his colleagues make solo albums.
The album ‘I’m Not Me’ (1983), released on 24 June, is credited to Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo. This is an extracurricular project for Fleetwood Mac’s drummer. The group’s line-up on this disc is: Billy Burnette (vocals, guitar), Steve Rossi (guitar, vocals), George Hawkins (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie make guest appearances on this album. ‘I’m Not Me’ does not sell well enough to earn a place on the sales chart for popular albums. Mick Fleetwood files for bankruptcy in the mid-1980s.
The Shanghai label issues ‘Live In Boston’ (1985) in February. This is a concert recording of Fleetwood Mac performing in Boston, Massachusetts, in the U.S.A. on 5-7 February 1970.
The members of Fleetwood Mac come together again for ‘Tango In The Night’ (1987) (UK no. 1, US no. 7, AUS no. 5), released on 13 April. The album’s cover image of a jungle scene by night is the work of Australian artist Brett-Livingstone Strong. The original painting is in the home of Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The work is a homage to the purposefully naïve paintings of Henri Rousseau. ‘Tango In The Night’ is co-produced by Lindsey Buckingham and Richard Dashut. It started life as a Lindsey Buckingham solo album, but became a Fleetwood Mac album instead. It is assembled over a period of almost eighteen months. Six of the twelve tracks on ‘Tango In The Night’ are issued as singles. The first single is Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Big Love’ (UK no. 9, US no. 5, AUS no. 16). With a pulse-quickening rhythm, ‘Big Love’ appears to be lust-fuelled. Towards the end, Lindsey exchanges breathy “ooh…ahh” vocals with a female voice. This is not either of the female members of Fleetwood Mac. Nor is the woman he is performing the duet with dance pop star Madonna as is sometimes rumoured. It is in fact Lindsey’s own vocals altered in the recording studio to simulate both the male and female parts. The fourth single from ‘Tango In The Night’, ‘Family Man’ (UK no. 54, US no. 90, AUS no. 83), is co-written by Lindsey Buckingham and co-producer Richard Dashut. ‘Family Man’ has an echoing atmosphere, oddball vocals and an almost flamenco guitar break. Buckingham also pens ‘Caroline’ and the album’s title track. Vocalist Stevie Nicks spends only two weeks in the recording studio for this album because she is busy promoting her third solo album, ‘Rock A Little’. Stevie provides lead vocals on the second single from ‘Tango In The Night’, ‘Seven Wonders’ (UK no. 56, US no. 19, AUS no. 23). This sweetly rocking ode to love and astonishment is co-written by Stevie Nicks and Sandy Stewart (a fairly obscure U.S. singer/keyboardist). Nicks’ ‘Welcome To The Room…Sara’ is inspired by the singer’s stay at The Betty Ford Clinic where she used the pseudonym of Sara Anderson to try to maintain some privacy. ‘When I See You Again’ is Nicks’ other contribution to this set. Keyboardist Christine McVie offers up a series of pop gems on ‘Tango In The Night’. ‘Little Lies’ (UK no. 5, US no. 4, AUS no. 16) is the album’s biggest hit and its third single. It’s hard not to get swept up in the song’s chirpy momentum as it rejoices in attractive untruths. Christine’s new husband, Eddie Quintela, shares songwriting credit for ‘Little Lies’. ‘Everywhere’ (UK no. 54, US no. 90, AUS no. 83), single number five, is all Christine’s though. It fairly radiates love and well-being. ‘Isn’t It Midnight’ (UK no. 60) is more propulsive, but hardly less attractive. Lindsey Buckingham shares a songwriting credit with Christine McVie and Eddie Quintela on this piece and also contributes an impressive guitar solo. ‘Isn’t It Midnight’ is the disc’s sixth and final single. ‘Tango In The Night’ has a pair of Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie co-compositions – ‘Mystified’ and ‘You And I Part II’ – with lead vocals by, respectively, Christine and Lindsey. Reflecting on ‘Tango In The Night’ years later, Lindsey Buckingham claims, “That was in my estimation when everybody in the band was personally at their worst…By the time we did ‘Tango In The Night’ everybody was leading their lives in a way that they would not be too proud of today.” He alleges that some of Stevie Nicks’ backing vocals had to be erased and rejigged because she was too drunk at the time. Despite such issues, it is worth remembering that ‘Tango In The Night’ is one of the most successful albums of the 1980s, particularly in the U.K.
Castle Records issues ‘The Collection’ (1987) on 9 June, a compilation album of Fleetwood Mac recordings.
On 7 August 1987 the members of Fleetwood Mac gather in the home of keyboardist Christine McVie. During this meeting vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham have a ‘physical altercation.’ Buckingham quits Fleetwood Mac the next day.
The departure of Lindsey Buckingham brings to an end Fleetwood Mac’s imperial period (1975-1987). This has been the most popular, longest-running and most stable configuration of the band.
Although Lindsey Buckingham leaves Fleetwood Mac in 1987, his part in their story is not yet over. He will return to the fold at a later date. In the meantime, Lindsey Buckingham releases the solo album ‘Out Of The Cradle’ (1992) (UK no. 51, US no. 128) on 16 June.
In 1987 Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie suffers an alcohol-induced seizure. This prompts him to give up booze. He remains sober from this point on.
Lindsey Buckingham is replaced in Fleetwood Mac in 1987 by not one new member, but two. They are Billy Burnette (vocals, guitar) and Rick Vito (guitar).
Billy Burnette is born Dorsey William Burnette III on 8 May 1953 in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. He is the son of Dorsey Burnette and Alberta Burnette. Billy’s family background is steeped in rock ‘n’ roll. In the 1950s, his father Dorsey Burnette was part of The Rock And Roll Trio. The other two members were Dorsey’s brother (Billy’s uncle) Johnny Burnette and Paul Burlison. Johnny Burnette’s most famous moment comes a little later when he has a hit in 1960 with ‘You’re Sixteen’ (UK no. 3, US no. 8). This song is later covered by ex-Beatles drummer Ringo Starr in 1973. Johnny Burnette’s son (Billy’s cousin) Rocky Burnette also goes on to a career in music, scoring a hit in 1980 with ‘Tired Of Toein’ The Line’ (UK no. 58, US no. 8, AUS no. 1).
Billy Burnette’s recording career begins when he is 7 years old. Though still a child, he appears on Ricky Nelson’s 1960 song ‘Hey Daddy (I’m Gonna Tell Santa On You)’. Billy Burnette tours in the band of singer Brenda Lee while teaching himself to play guitar. Billy graduates from high school in 1969. He gets into songwriting and spends three years on the road as rhythm guitarist for folk singer Roger Miller.
Billy Burnette goes on to make a series of solo albums but his career is fairly inconsistent: ‘Billy Burnette’ (1972) is released by Entrance Records; ‘Billy Burnette’ (1979) – a different album with the same name – is issued by Polydor; ‘Between Friends’ (1979); ‘Billy Burnette’ (1980) – his third namesake disc – comes from the Columbia label and includes the single ‘Don’t Say No’ (US no. 68); and ‘Gimme You’ (1981). Billy Burnette plays in Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo and is on the album ‘I’m Not Me’ (1984). After that Billy Burnette releases two more solo albums, ‘Try Me’ (1985) and ‘Soldier Of Love’ (1986).
Somewhere along the line, Billy Burnette becomes the father of two sons. However the identity of their mother (or mothers) is not public knowledge and neither are the dates of birth of the boys. His elder son, Dorsey William ‘Billy Jr’ Burnette IV works for Bi-Lotec Publishing. The younger child, Michael Beau Burnette, is in a Nashville band called Super Shaker.
Richard ‘Rick’ Vito is born on 13 October 1949 in Darby, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. During Rick’s youthful summers, Rick’s father manages a corner bar belonging to Rick’s grandmother in Wildwood, New Jersey. However it seems it is Rick’s mother who plays a larger role in his interest in music. She had played Hawaiian lap guitar. It is also Rick’s mother who takes him to his first rock concert, a 1959 show by The Everly Brothers.
Rick Vito gains a reputation as an impressive guitarist. He has copious credits as a session musician. Some of his most famous pre-Fleetwood Mac credits include playing guitar on the following albums: ‘Something/Anything’ (1972) by Todd Rundgren, ‘Lawyers In Love’ (1983) by Jackson Browne and ‘Like A Rock’ (1986) by Bob Seger.
When Mick Fleetwood needs to replace Lindsey Buckingham in the Fleetwood Mac line-up, he thinks of Billy Burnette who he knows from Burnette’s stint with Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo in 1984. However Billy refuses to join Fleetwood Mac unless his friend Rick Vito also joins. So in September 1987 both Billy Burnette and Rick Vito become members of Fleetwood Mac. The pair debut on Fleetwood Mac’s 1987-1988 ‘Shake the Cage’ tour.
Billy Burnette takes time out for another solo album, ‘Brother To Brother’ (1988).
Warner Brothers puts together Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Greatest Hits’ (1988) (UK no. 3, US no. 14, AUS no. 3), released on 15 November. ‘Greatest Hits’ also eases in new members Billy Burnette and Rick Vito on two new songs recorded for this set. ‘As Long As You Follow’ (UK no. 66, US no. 43, AUS no. 35) is co-written by keyboardist Christine McVie and her husband Eddie Quintela. It has a typically attractive melody but is also very laid back. ‘No Questions Asked’ is co-written by Stevie Nicks and Kelly Johnston. This is a livelier than ‘As Long As You Follow’ but displays a greater country music influence.
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks releases a new solo album, ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror’ (1989) (UK no. 3, US no. 10, AUS no. 8), on 11 May. This album has three hit singles: ‘Rooms On Fire’ (UK no. 16, US no. 16, AUS no. 23), ‘Long Way To Go’ (UK no. 60) and ‘Whole Lotta Trouble’ (UK no. 62). Stevie Nicks has a romantic relationship in 1988-1989 with Rupert Hine, the British-born producer of ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror’.
‘Behind The Mask’ (1990) (UK no. 1, US no. 18, AUS no. 9), issued on 9 April, is the first real test for the new six-piece Fleetwood Mac line-up. This album is co-produced Fleetwood Mac and Greg Ladanyi. The members of Fleetwood Mac are not actually in Dave Gorton’s cover photo for this album; instead, people were chosen to symbolise the various singers and musicians. ‘Behind The Mask’ is said to be ‘more adult contemporary’ in terms of the music it contains. The most commercially successful cut from this disc is ‘Save Me’ (UK no. 53, US no. 33, AUS no. 4). It is the kind of effortlessly catchy tune that keyboardist Christine McVie regularly submits. Her husband, Eddie Quintela, again receives a co-songwriting credit. Vocalist and guitarist Billy Burnette co-writes with David Malloy the dramatic ‘In The Back Of My Mind’ (UK no. 58), which Burnette also sings. Burnette co-writes ‘Hard Feelings’ with U.S. songwriter Jeff Silbar. This is a bitter break-up song with chiming guitars. Although released as a single, ‘Hard Feelings’ fails to make a mark on the charts. Burnette and fellow newcomer guitarist Rick Vito co-write ‘When The Sun Goes Down’. Christine McVie and Eddie Quintela co-write the optimistic ‘Skies The Limit’ (AUS no. 155), the album’s fourth single and the last to chart…albeit in a very minor way. Still, that’s more than can be said for the fifth and final single ‘Love Is Dangerous’. This is co-written by vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Rick Vito. It’s a bit edgier than is typical for Nicks due to Vito’s guitar textures. Stevie’s own ‘Affairs Of The Heart’ is more country-flavoured. ‘Behind The Mask’ is the first Fleetwood Mac album since 1975 to fail to achieve sales sufficient to warrant a gold record presentation in the U.S.
Mick Fleetwood’s book ‘My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac’ (1990) is published by William Morrow & Co. It is co-written with Stephen Davis. The book deals with the drummer’s previously undisclosed affair with Stevie Nicks, his cocaine addiction and his bankruptcy. Fleetwood ‘takes some heat’ from the rest of the group after the book comes out. He apologises to them and claims he did it ‘for the money’ to recover from bankruptcy. Stevie Nicks in particular remains unimpressed.
The final show in the concert tour to promote ‘Behind The Mask’ features a guest appearance from former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham. The ladies in the group, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, both claim that, though they will continue to be part of Fleetwood Mac in the recording studio, this has been their last tour. Stevie’s disquiet has already been mentioned but Christine’s father dies in 1991 and this weighs upon her.
Castle Communications issues the compilation ‘Original Fleetwood Mac: The Blues Years’ (1991).
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks plans to release a compilation album. She seeks permission to include on that album ‘Silver Springs’, a song of hers that was recorded at the time of ‘Rumours’ but left off that album. However Mick Fleetwood is planning a Fleetwood Mac compilation and reserves ‘Silver Springs’ for that set. This dispute leads Stevie Nicks to quit Fleetwood Mac in 1991.
Like Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks will return to the story of Fleetwood Mac at a later date. In the meantime, Stevie Nicks releases the following solo recordings: ‘Timespace: The Best Of Stevie Nicks’ (1991) (UK no. 15, US no. 30, AUS no. 13), a compilation album issued on 3 September which includes a couple of new songs including ‘Sometimes It’s A Bitch’ (UK no. 40, US no. 56, AUS no. 18); and ‘Street Angel’ (1994) (UK no. 16, US no. 45, AUS no. 43), which includes the single ‘Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind’ (US no. 57).
Back in 1986 Stevie Nicks had been prescribed the sedative Klonopin while she as at The Betty Ford Clinic to help her keep off cocaine. By late 1993 Nicks has to detox to get off Klonopin. During her hospital stay for that purpose, Nicks gains weight. For someone who has been regularly regarded as a ‘sex symbol,’ this physical alteration leads to criticism of her appearance in 1994. The breast implants she had received in 1976 are removed at Nicks’ insistence in 1994 and, according to her, this leads to her contracting the Epstein-Barr virus, a semi-psychological malady marked by extreme lassitude. By 1996 Stevie Nicks has managed to trim down through altering her diet and adopting a jogging regimen.
In November 1991 guitarist Rick Vito quits Fleetwood Mac. He will make another brief appearance with the group but this is really the end of his tenure (1987-1991) with Fleetwood Mac. Rick Vito goes on to release the following solo albums: ‘King Of Hearts’ (1992), ‘Bluestown’ (1996), ‘Pink & Black’ (1998), ‘Lucky Devils’ (2000), ‘Crazy Cool’ (2001), ‘Band Box Boogie’ (2003), ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ (2005), ‘Talk That Talk’ (2006), ‘Blue Again’ (2007) [by The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band Featuring Rick Vito], ‘Lucky In Love: The Best of Rick Vito’ (2009) and ‘Mojo On My Side’ (2014).
Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie steps out for a side project: ‘John McVie’s “Gotta Band” With Lola Thomas’ (1992). The featured singer is a U.S. vocalist. The rest of the band comprises: Mick Taylor (guitar), Billy Burnette (guitar), David Plenn (guitar), Jim Pugh (piano), John McVie (bass) and Lee Spath (drums).
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood opens his own entertainment spot, Fleetwood’s Nightclub, in 1991. The following year he assembles a new incarnation of his band The Zoo for ‘Shakin’ The Cage’ (1992), released in June. The title track, ‘Shakin’ The Cage’ (US no. 19), is released as a single. Mick Fleetwood co-writes most of the tracks on this album with Australian rock star Billy Thorpe. Delaney Bramlett (of Delaney And Bonnie fame) co-writes one song on this album with Fleetwood and Thorpe. On this album, The Zoo consists of: Bekka Bramlett (vocals) [Delaney Bramlett’s daughter], Billy Thorpe (synthesiser, guitar), Gregg Wright (guitar), Brett Tuggle (keyboards), Tom Lilly (bass), Isaac Asante (percussion) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
‘Live At The Marquee 1967’ (1992), released on 3 April, is a concert from Fleetwood Mac’s early days issued on the Receiver label.
’25 Years – The Chain’ (1992) (UK no. 9, AUS no. 2), released on 24 November, is a four CD trawl though Fleetwood Mac’s history from the early Peter Green incarnation up to the ‘Behind The Mask’ line-up. This set includes a generous sampling of previously unreleased material as well. These tracks include: an alternate take of ‘String-A-Long’ from Jeremy Spencer’s first solo album; Danny Kirwan’s dusty ‘Trinity’, an outtake from ‘Bare Trees’; Stevie Nicks’ ‘Silver Springs’, the ‘Rumours’ outcast that led to Nicks’ 1991 exit from Fleetwood Mac; two Lindsey Buckingham tracks – ‘Goodbye Angel’ and ‘Teen Beat’ – that were recorded for ‘Mirage’ but excluded from that set; and a trio of new songs: ‘Love Shines’ by Christine McVie and Eddie Quintela, ‘Paper Doll’ (US no. 108) by Stevie Nicks, Rick Vito and John Herron; and Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Make Me A Mask’. Of course with four CDs to fill, ’25 Years-The Chain’ also hosts the expected ‘greatest hits’ of Fleetwood Mac.
Fleetwood Mac plays at the inauguration ball for U.S. President Bill Clinton on 20 January 1993. On this occasion, it is the ‘Rumours’ era line-up of the band – Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood – that appears. This is because the Clinton campaign had used ‘Don’t Stop’ (from ‘Rumours’) in their promotional work. Ironically, bassist John McVie is described as a ‘staunch Republican’ since Clinton won office as the candidate for the opposing Democratic Party.
Fleetwood Mac plays at the Super Bowl XXVII match on 31 January 1993. This is the finale of the U.S. grid iron football season. On this occasion, Fleetwood Mac consists of: Billy Burnette (vocals, guitar), Rick Vito (guitar) [making a one-off return guest appearance], Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
Plans are made for a new Fleetwood Mac album. This is expected to be made without either Stevie Nicks or Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist and guitarist Billy Burnette is to perform all the guitarwork (since Rick Vito left in 1991). However these plans are derailed in March 1993 when Billy Burnette leaves Fleetwood Mac. Burnette intends to perform country music and pursue an acting career. He makes a solo album, ‘Coming Home’(1993), but Burnette’s absence from Fleetwood Mac will turn out to be temporary rather than permanent at this time.
Fleetwood Mac takes on two new members in 1993: vocalist Bekka Bramlett and guitarist Dave Mason.
Rebekka Ruth Lazone ‘Bekka’ Bramlett is born on 19 April 1968. She is the daughter of Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett (nee O’Farrell). Her parents performed as Delaney And Bonnie (1967-1972), a U.S. blues, rock and blue-eyed soul duo. Delaney And Bonnie recorded the following albums: ‘Down Home’ (1969), ‘The Original Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (Accept No Substitute)’ (1969) (US no. 175), ‘On Tour With Eric Clapton’ (1970) (UK no. 39, US no. 29), ‘To Bonnie From Delaney’ (1970) (US no. 58), ‘Motel Shot’ (1971) (US no. 65), ‘Country Life’ (1972) and ‘Together’ (1972). Their most famous song is probably ‘Never Ending Song Of Love’ (US no. 13) from 1971’s ‘Motel Shot’. Delaney and Bonnie split up – both professionally and personally – in 1972.
Bekka Bramlett works with Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo in 1991-1992. This brings her into Fleetwood’s orbit and makes it natural for him to consider her as a new member for Fleetwood Mac. Billy Burnette had followed the same career path; working with an earlier incarnation of Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo before joining Fleetwood Mac.
David Thomas ‘Dave’ Mason is born on 10 May 1946 in Worcester, England. This is in the farm belt of the English Midlands. Dave Mason is the son of Edward Mason and Nora Mason. Dave is the younger of two children. His father, Edward, was 52 when Dave was born. His parents operate a sweet shop (candy store, lolly shop) for forty-six years. Nora Mason works in the shop but her husband can usually be found at the racetrack because he is a big fan of horse racing. Dave Mason is a ‘lonely and solitary’ boy. He is overweight (a characteristic he does not carry into adulthood) and prone to crippling migraine headaches.
Dave Mason is a self-taught guitarist. He takes up the instrument when he is 15. Dave Mason becomes a professional musician while still in his teens. He plays in a Birmingham instrumental group called The Jaguars. They record the single ‘Opus to Spring’ in 1963. Drummer Jim Capaldi plays in a rival band called The Sapphires. Dave Mason and Jim Capaldi join forces in The Hellions (1964-1965). After quitting The Hellions in spring 1965, Dave Mason studies music formally. He sometimes sits in with Jim Capaldi’s new band, Deep Feeling. Around this time, Dave Mason works as a roadie for a while for the British pop band The Spencer Davis Group. This outfit features Steve Winwood (vocals, organ, guitar). Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood (saxophone, flute) all appear uncredited on The Spencer Davis Group’s 1967 single ‘I’m A Man’ (UK no. 9, US no. 10).
In April 1967 Traffic is formed. This band consists of Steve Winwood (vocals, organ, guitar), Dave Mason (guitar), Chris Wood (saxophone, flute) and Jim Capaldi (drums). Traffic is probably Dave Mason’s most famous moment but he has a troubled relationship with the band slipping in and out of the line-up. Dave Mason writes Traffic’s psychedelic August 1967 single ‘Hold In My Shoe’ (UK no. 2), but this is not included on the group’s debut album, ‘Mr Fantasy’ (1967) (UK no. 8, US no. 88), in December. Dave Mason parts ways with Traffic for a while after December 1967. In this period he produces Family’s debut album ‘Music In A Doll’s House’ (1968) (UK no. 35); releases a solo single ‘Just For You’ b/w ‘Little Woman’; and acts as a session musician on Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Electric Ladyland’ (1968) (UK no. 6, US no. 1). In March 1968 Dave Mason finds his way back to Traffic and plays on the group’s second album, ‘Traffic’ (1968) (UK no. 9, US no. 17). This includes Dave Mason’s composition ‘Feelin’ Alright’ (US no. 123) which is covered by Joe Cocker in 1969. By October 1968, Mason has exited Traffic again and that group (temporarily) shuts down, offering ‘Last Exit’ (1969) (US no. 19) as a parting shot. For a short time (January 1969-March 1969), the guitarist is involved in the quartet Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog. While Steve Winwood is occupied with Blind Faith (February 1969-January 1970), the rest of his Traffic colleagues experiment with this act. The ‘Frog’ of the title is vocalist and organist Mick Weaver. Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog comes to an end when Dave Mason relocates to Los Angeles in the U.S.A. He becomes one of the loose affiliation of musicians called Friends who back Delaney And Bonnie. Dave Mason appears on their album ‘On Tour With Eric Clapton’ (1970) (UK no. 39, US no. 29). He then follows Clapton into Clapton’s new project Derek And The Dominos. Dave Mason is only involved in the earliest stages of this act (June 1970-July 1970). He appears only on their debut single, ‘Tell The Truth’. Dave Mason goes on to release his first solo album, ‘Alone Together’ (1970). Next, Dave Mason joins forces with Cass Elliot (vocalist from The Mamas And The Papas) from September 1970 to May 1971. They release only one album, ‘Dave Mason & Cass Elliot’ (1971), before going their separate ways. Dave Mason helps out a reunited version of Traffic from May 1971 to December 1971 and can be heard on Traffic’s live album ‘Welcome To The Cantina’ (1971) (US no. 26). However this is Dave Mason’s final bow with Traffic.
Dave Mason goes on to record the following solo albums: ‘Headkeeper’ (1972) (US no. 51), ‘Dave Mason Is Alive’ (1973), ‘It’s Like You Never Left’ (1973), ‘Dave Mason’ (1974) (US no. 25), ‘Split Coconut’ (1975) (US no. 27), ‘Certified Live’ (1976) [a double album], ‘Let It Flow’ (1977) (US no. 37), ‘Mariposa de Oro’ (1978), ‘Old Crest On A New Wave’ (1980), ‘Two Hearts’ (1987) and ‘Some Assembly Required’ (1987). ‘Let It Flow’ is home to three hit singles: ‘We Just Disagree’ (US no. 12), ‘So High (Rock Me Baby And Roll Me Away)’ (US no. 89) and ‘Let It Go, Let It Flow’ (US no. 45). ‘Save Me’ (US no. 71), a duet with Michael Jackson, comes from ‘Old Crest On A New Wave’.
Along the way Dave Mason marries three times and is declared bankrupt twice. No information is available on his spouses. Reportedly, Dave Mason dates U.S. actress Leigh Taylor-Young (born on 25 January 1945) from 1993 to 1996.
In March 1994 vocalist and guitarist Billy Burnette returns to the Fleetwood Mac line-up.
In 1994 Fleetwood Mac goes on tour as the opening act for Crosby, Stills & Nash. In 1995 Fleetwood Mac tours as part of a package concert with REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar. Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer plays a few songs with the group on stage in Tokyo, Japan, in 1995. Keyboardist Christine McVie, true to her 1991 decision, does not tour with Fleetwood Mac in 1994-1995 though she is, technically, still a member of the band.
On 26 July 1995 Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood marries his second wife, Lynn Frankel. Mick and Lynn go on to have twin daughters, Ruby and Tessa (both born in 2002).
Castle Communications issues ‘Live At The BBC’ (1995) (UK no. 48), a two disc set of performances by Fleetwood Mac in the period 1967 to 1971.
‘Time’ (1995) (UK no. 47), released on 10 October, is the only Fleetwood Mac album by the line-up of: Bekka Bramlett (vocals), Billy Burnett (vocals, guitar), Dave Mason (guitar, vocals), Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). ‘Time’ is co-produced by Fleetwood Mac, Richard Dashut, John Jones and Ray Kennedy. The only single released from ‘Time’ is (the non-charting) ‘I Do’. “And I do, I do / I love you for what you are,” sings Christine McVie in this song she co-writes with her husband Eddie Quintela. ‘I Do’ sounds like fairly standard Fleetwood Mac material. It is distinguished by a slightly quirkier beat than is the norm and some strong guitarwork from Dave Mason. Elsewhere, Billy Burnette and Bekka Bramlett harmonise on the country-flavoured ‘Talkin’ To My Heart’. Burnette co-writes this track with Deborah Allen and Rafe VanHoy. ‘Time’ receives ‘little attention,’ fails to even make the U.S. top two hundred list for album sales and ‘isn’t commercially successful’ generally.
In the wake of the dismal fate befalling ‘Time’, vocalist and keyboardist Christine McVie leaves the group. Like Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, her part in this saga is not yet concluded.
In fact, Fleetwood Mac disbands late in 1995. However this dissolution lasts only for a few months. It is the end of the road though for Bekka Bramlett, Billy Burnette and Dave Mason.
Former Fleetwood Mac vocalist Bekka Bramlett forms a country music duo, Bekka & Billy (1996-1998), with fellow former Fleetwood Mac member Billy Burnette. They issue only one album, ‘Bekka & Billy’ (1997), before parting company. Bekka Bramlett goes on to issue the solo albums ‘What’s In It For Me’ (2002) and ‘I’ve Got News For You’ (2009). Between her first and second solo albums, Bekka Bramlett marries musician Tom Britt on 14 May 2007. They later divorce.
Former Fleetwood Mac vocalist and guitarist Billy Burnette releases ‘Bekka & Billy’ (1997), which is co-credited to Bekka Bramlett. Subsequently, Billy Burnette issues the following solo albums: ‘All Night Long’ (1999), ‘Are You With Me Baby’ (2000), ‘Memphis In Manhattan’ (2006), ‘The Bluegrass Elvises, Volume 1’ (2007) [an Elvis Presley tribute album by Billy Burnette and Shawn Camp] and ‘Rock & Roll With It’ (2011).
Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Dave Mason issues the following albums after leaving Fleetwood Mac: ‘Live: The 40, 000 Headmen Tour’ (1999) [with Jim Capaldi], ‘Live At Perkins Palace’ (2002), ‘Live A Sunrise Theatre’ (2002), ‘Dave Mason Live At XM Satellite Radio’ (2007), ’26 Letters – 12 Notes’ (2008), ‘Future’s Past’ (2014) and ‘Traffic Jam’ (2015) [a live recording].
Columbia issues ‘The Best Of Fleetwood Mac’ (1996) on 12 February.
In May 1996 Fleetwood Mac performs at a private party in Louisville, Kentucky, prior to the Kentucky Derby horse race. On this occasion, it is almost the classic ‘Rumours’ era Fleetwood Mac that comes together. The sole exception is guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, whose place is filled by Steve Winwood (from Traffic) on a one-time-only basis.
The movie ‘Twister’ (1996), released on 30 May, includes on its soundtrack a song called ‘Twisted’. This is a duet by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks with Mick Fleetwood on drums.
Finally, in March 1997, the classic Fleetwood Mac line-up – Stevie Nicks (vocals), Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar), Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) – reassembles. Although this appears to be what the public most wants, over subsequent years it becomes a battle to keep Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie all in the band at the same time. This line-up performs a reunion concert on 22 May 1997 at the Warner Bros, Burbank, California, sound-stage. This is released as the live album ‘The Dance’ (1997) (UK no. 15, US no. 1, AUS no. 4) on 19 August. This album sees Fleetwood Mac return to Warner Bros’ Reprise imprint which will continue to release their material in the future. Live versions of ‘The Chain’, ‘Sliver Springs’ and ‘Landslide’ (US no. 51) from this set are issued as singles, but only the last-named makes a (modest) mark on the popular sales charts. However, given its place in history – left off ‘Rumours’, the subject of a 1991 tug-of-war between Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac that resulted in Nicks leaving the band – it is perhaps worth considering ‘Sliver Springs’ a bit more closely. This Stevie Nicks composition is a laid back semi-ballad. It has a tender, country lilt to it.
Fleetwood Mac goes on an arena concert tour through most of 1997. The five-piece band is augmented by the following musicians and performers in a larger ensemble: Neale Haywood (guitar), Brett Tuggle (keyboards), Lenny Castro (percussion), Sharon Celani (backing vocals) and Mindy Stein (backing vocals). With the exceptions of Castro and Stein, these individuals continue to flesh out the group’s sound on stage up to at least 2015.
Fleetwood Mac is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. This honour goes to not only Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood; it is also given to Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan. Notably, Bob Welch is omitted from this honour. This may be due to Welch having a falling out with the group, having sued them for unpaid royalties in 1994. Neither Jeremy Spencer nor Danny Kirwan attends the ceremony. Peter Green is there, but he does not perform with Fleetwood Mac. Instead, Green performs his song ‘Black Magic Woman’ with Santana, who are also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the same night. (In 1970 Santana had a hit with a cover version of ‘Black Magic Woman’ (US no. 4).)
After ‘The Dance’ tour, keyboardist Christine McVie decides to leave Fleetwood Mac – again – in 1998. Like her 1995 exit, this departure will also eventually prove to be temporary. Christine McVie sells off her property in Los Angeles and moves back to the United Kingdom. She lives in Kent. Christine McVie’s marriage to Eddie Quintela ends in divorce in 2003. ‘In The Meantime’ (2004) (UK no. 133), released on 7 September, is a solo album by Christine McVie.
The Eagle label issues ‘London Live ‘68’ (1998) on 30 March. This is a concert recording from Fleetwood Mac’s early blues-rock era.
‘Enchanted’ (1998) (US no. 85), released on 28 April, is a three disc box set of solo recordings made in the period 1981 to 1994 by Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks.
On 8 July 1998 Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his girlfriend Kristen Messner become the parents of a son, William Gregory Buckingham. Lindsey and Kristen go on to marry on 15 February 2000. He is 51 years old and she is 30 years old. Lindsey and Kristen will have two more children, daughters Leelee (born on 15 July 2000) and Stella (born on 20 April 2004).
Recordings from Fleetwood Mac’s early days continue to be revisited on the following albums: ‘The Vaudeville Years’ (1998) (UK no. 168) is issued by Receiver on 13 October. This is a two disc set of outtakes and previously unreleased material from 1968-1970. ‘The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions 1967-1969’ (1999) is a six CD boxed set from, naturally, the Blue Horizon label. ‘Shrine ‘69’ (1999) is issued by Rykodisc. This is a concert recording from 25 January 1969 in Southern California with the Fleetwood Mac line-up of Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks releases a new solo album, ‘Trouble In Shangri-La’ (2001) (UK no. 43, US no. 5), on 1 May.
Receiver revisits Fleetwood Mac’s past again for ‘Show-Biz Blues’ (2001) on 26 June. This is a two CD set of material from 1968-1970.
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood issues a solo album, ‘Total Drumming’ (2001), on 2 October. This is an instrumental album compiled from drum loops.
A trio of Fleetwood Mac compilation albums are issued in 2002. ‘Jumping At Shadows: The Blues Years’ (2002) is put out by the Indigo label on 21 April. Reprise releases ‘The Very Best Of Fleetwood Mac’ (2002) (UK no. 6, US no. 12, AUS no. 11) on 11 November. This covers the band’s more modern (i.e. post 1975) era. It is initially released as a single disc in the U.K. but a two disc set in the U.S. The two disc edition is later also released in the U.K. in 2009. Columbia turns the clock back for ‘The Best Of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’ (2002) (UK no. 129) on 11 November. This gathers together recordings from 1967 to 1971.
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood officially becomes a U.S. citizen on 22 November 2002.
‘Say You Will’ (2003) (UK no. 6, US no. 3, AUS no. 24), released on 15 April, is the first new Fleetwood Mac studio album since ‘Time’ (1995). ‘Say You Will’ is co-produced by Lindsey Buckingham, Rob Cavallo and John Shanks. On this album, Fleetwood Mac is a quartet consisting of Stevie Nicks (vocals), Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). It is Lindsey Buckingham’s first outing on a studio recording as a member of Fleetwood Mac since ‘Tango In The Night’ (1987). In another milestone, this is the first new Fleetwood Mac album without any Christine McVie compositions since ‘Kiln House’ (1970). Although she is not part of the band at this time, Christine McVie does appear on keyboards and backing vocals on two tracks from ‘Say You Will’, recordings that were repurposed from an abandoned Lindsey Buckingham solo album. Two singles are released from ‘Say You Will’, one from each of the band’s songwriters. Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Peacekeeper’ (US no. 80) appears to be an anti-war song. “Take no prisoners, only kill,” it ominously intones over twanging guitar textures. Stevie Nicks pens the title track, the (non-charting) single, ‘Say You Will’. “Give me one more chance,” Nicks pleads in her familiar nasal drawl. ‘Say You Will’ (the song) has an oddly mashed percussion and a kiddie chorus at the end but, despite this odd mixture, it is an oddly attractive song that draws in the listener.
Fleetwood Mac undertakes a world arena tour in 2003-2004 to promote ‘Say You Will’.
Fleetwood Mac’s past continues to be churned over on the following albums: ‘Madison Blues’ (2003), from the Shakedown label, is a three disc set of live and studio performances dating back to the 1970-1971 period between the exit of Peter Green and the arrival of Bob Welch. The Metro label offers ‘Green Shadows’ (2003), released on 11 August. ‘Fleetwood Mac: Live In Boston’ (2004) (US no. 84), released on 15 June, is much closer to the present day in its focus. It chronicles live performances on 23-24 September 2003 on the ‘Say You Will’ tour. ‘Fleetwood Mac: Live In Boston’ is released by Warner Reprise Video because it is actually a two DVD package with an additional CD.
‘Something Big’ (2004), released on 28 September, is credited to The Mick Fleetwood Band. Todd Smallwood (vocals, guitar, bass) plays a leading role in the side-project for Fleetwood Mac’s drummer, though the likes of John McVie and U.S. singer-songwriter Jackson Browne also lend a hand.
In 2004-2005 rumours circulate of a reunion of the early Fleetwood Mac line-up. However, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan are not really interested in the idea so it fails to materialise.
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham releases a solo album, ‘Under The Skin’ (2006) (UK no. 154, US no. 80), on 3 October.
‘Crystal Visions – The Very Best Of Stevie Nicks’ (2007) (US no. 21, AUS no. 44), released on 27 March, is a new compilation of the solo work of the Fleetwood Mac vocalist.
‘The Essential Fleetwood Mac’ (2007), released on 2 June, is a two CD set that is issued by Columbia. It deals only with the band’s 1967-1968 output.
‘Live At The Performance Hall’ (2008) (US no. 186), released on 25 March, is a DVD/CD of a solo performance by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham in Fort Worth, Texas, on 27 January 2007. Buckingham follows this with a new studio recorded solo album, ‘Gift Of Screws’ (2008) (UK no. 59, US no. 48), on 15 September.
‘Blue Again’ (2008), released on 13 October, is credited to The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band Featuring Rick Vito, as Fleetwood Mac’s former guitarist (Vito) has a brief reunion with the band’s drummer (Fleetwood).
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks releases ‘The Soundstage Sessions’ (2009) (US no. 47) on 31 March. Although this material is recorded live in 2007-2008 in Chicago and Nashville, it has no crowd sounds so it simulates a studio recording.
Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Unleashed’ tour starts in the U.S.A. (March 2009-June 2009), continues in Europe (October 2009) and winds up in Australia and New Zealand (November-December 2009).
Stevie Nicks’ ‘In Your Dreams’ (2011) (UK no. 14, US no. 6, AUS no. 24), on 3 May, is a new studio-recorded solo album.
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham releases a solo album, ‘Seeds We Sow’ (2011) (UK no. 52, US no. 45), on 6 September. ‘Songs From The Small Machine: Live In L.A. At Saban Theatre In Beverly Hills, CA / 2011’ (2011), released on 1 November, is a DVD/CD package from Buckingham documenting a gig on 22 April 2011. ‘One Man Show’ (2012) is another Lindsey Buckingham solo show, this one from 1 September 2012. ‘One Man Show’ is only available as a computer download from 14 November 2012.
Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Extended Play’ (US no. 48) is a four song EP released on 30 April 2013. It is only digitally available for download. This is the first new Fleetwood Mac music since ‘Say You Will’ (2003), a decade ago. ‘Extended Play’ is co-produced by Mitchell Froom and Lindsey Buckingham. The single from this project is Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Sad Angel’ (UK no. 125). The song’s arrangement is fast-paced. It is a bit vague about whether the ‘angel’ of the title is a girl or a heavenly creature. The lyrics are littered with imagery of war, sword and fire. Stevie Nicks’ ‘Without You’ is a lost demo dating back to the Buckingham Nicks era circa 1973. The remaining two songs on ‘Extended Play’ – ‘It Takes Time’ and ‘Miss Fantasy’ – are both written by Lindsey Buckingham.
The marriage of Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood and Lynn Frankel ends in April 2013 when Fleetwood files for legal separation and joint custody of their daughters. The divorce is not finalised until 20 November 2015.
‘Opus Collection’ (2013) (US no. 72) is a Fleetwood Mac compilation album released on the Rhino label.
On 27 October 2013 it is announced that Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie has colon cancer. He continues to play music while having treatment for the cancer. McVie makes a full recovery and is cleared completely of cancer by 2017.
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks finds a new sideline as an ordained Minister of the Universal Life Church. She officiates at the wedding of Vanessa Carlton and John McCauley on 28 December 2013.
On 11 January 2014 keyboardist Christine McVie returns to Fleetwood Mac. “I was just rotting away doing nothing,” she says. “I thought to myself that the only people I would want to play music with again would be Fleetwood Mac.”
Fleetwood Mac embark on the ‘On with the Show’ tour. It starts in the U.S.A. on 30 September 2014 and ends in the U.K. on 14 November 2014.
Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks releases the solo album ’24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault’ (2014) (UK no. 14, US no. 7, AUS no. 16) on 30 September. The contents of this set are new versions of demo recordings Stevie made from 1969 to 1987, plus some from 1994 and 1995. In 2016-2017, Stevie Nicks promotes this album with the ’24 Karat Gold’ tour. The tour is shared with The Pretenders.
‘Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie’ (2017) (UK no. 5, US no. 17, AUS no. 21), released on 9 June, is an album by two of Fleetwood Mac’s singer-songwriters. The project started out with the intention that it would be a new Fleetwood Mac album. With that in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that both John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) play on this album. Really, the only missing piece here is vocalist Stevie Nicks.
On 9 April 2018 vocalist and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham leaves Fleetwood Mac for the second time. When Buckingham previously left the band in 1987, he was replaced by two new members. The same thing happens on this occasion. Replacing Lindsey Buckingham in Fleetwood Mac are Neil Finn (vocals, guitar) and Mike Campbell (guitar).
Neil Mullane Finn is born on 27 May 1958 in Te Awamutu, New Zealand. Neil Finn is the son of Richard ‘Dick’ Finn and Mary Finn (nee Mullane). Dick Finn is an accountant for local farmers. Neil is the youngest of Dick and Mary Finn’s four children. Neil’s elder siblings are: Carolyn (born in 1950), Brian Timothy ‘Tim’ (born on 25 June 1952) and Judy (born in 1954). The Finn household is fairly musical. Mary Finn plays piano and sings. Her two sons both learn piano. Tim also plays guitar. Tim and Neil attend a Catholic boarding school, Sacred Heart College, in Auckland, New Zealand. Since he is older, Tim starts there earlier than Neil. The guitar that Tim leaves behind is taken up by 8 year old Neil Finn.
In 1971 Tim Finn goes on to Auckland University. While he is there, in 1972 Tim forms a band that comes to be known as Split Enz. In 1975 Split Enz relocates to Australia and begins a recording career.
Back in New Zealand, Neil Finn finishes at Sacred Heart College and goes on to Te Awamutu College. Neil’s school days come to an end in 1975. He starts work as a hospital orderly. In 1976 Neil Finn puts together his own band, a group called After Hours. In 1977 Neil starts dating Sharon Johnson, a girl who creates chandeliers.
On 7 April 1977 Neil Finn joins Split Enz, his brother Tim Finn’s group. Tim Finn is still the group’s leader and main creative force, but Neil quickly becomes a virtual equal to his brother as both a vocalist and songwriter. Neil Finn appears on the following albums by Split Enz: ‘Dizrythmia’ (1977) (AUS no. 18), ‘Frenzy’ (1979)(AUS no. 24), ‘True Colours’ (1980) (UK no. 41, US no. 40, AUS no. 1), ‘Waiata’ (1981) (US no. 45, AUS no. 1) [retitled ‘Corroboree’ in Australia], ‘Time And Tide’ (1982) (UK no. 71, US no. 58, AUS no. 1), ‘Conflicting Emotions’ (1983) (US no. 137, AUS no. 13) and ‘See Ya Round’ (1984) (AUS no. 29). Some of the most successful Split Enz songs to feature Neil Finn as vocalist, guitarist and songwriter are: ‘I Got You’ (UK no. 12, US no. 53, AUS no. 1) (from ‘True Colours’), ‘One Step Ahead’ (US no. 104, AUS no. 5) and ‘History Never Repeats’ (UK no. 63, AUS no. 4) (both from ‘Waiata’/’Corroboree’). The other members of Split Enz in this period (1977-1984) are: Tim Finn (vocals, occasional guitar and piano, 1977-1984 (pre-‘See Ya Round’); Eddie Rayner (keyboards, 1977-1984); Nigel Griggs (bass, 1977-1984); Noel Crombie (percussion, 1977-1982, drums, 1982-1983, percussion, 1984); Malcolm Green (drums, 1977-1982); and Paul Hester (drums, 1983-1984).
On 13 February 1982 Neil Finn marries his girlfriend, Sharon Johnson. Neil and Sharon go on to have two sons: Liam (born on 24 September 1983) and Elroy (born on 25 October 1989).
After Split Enz breaks up in 1984, Neil Finn forms a new band. Initially, in 1985 it is a four-piece group called The Mullanes consisting of Neil Finn (vocals, guitar), Craig Hooper (keyboards), Nick Seymour (bass) and Paul Hester (drums). However, by the time they make their first album, Craig Hooper has left and the group has changed its name to Crowded House. The following albums are released by Crowded House: ‘Crowded House’ (1986) (UK no. 99, US no. 12, AUS no. 1), ‘Temple Of Low Men’ (1988) (UK no. 138, US no. 40, AUS no. 1), ‘Woodface’ (1991) (UK no. 6, US no. 83, AUS no. 2), ‘Together Alone’ (1993) (UK no. 4, US no. 73, AUS no. 2) and the compilation album ‘Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of Crowded House’ (1996) (UK no. 95, US no. 7, AUS no. 18). Some of the biggest hits by Crowded House are: ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ (UK no. 27, US no. 2, AUS no. 8), ‘Something So Strong’ (UK no. 95, US no. 7, AUS no. 18) (both from ‘Crowded House’) and ‘Better Be Home Soon’ (US no. 42, AUS no. 2) (from ‘Temple Of Low Men’). Neil Finn’s brother, Tim Finn (vocals, some guitar), joins Crowded House for one album only (‘Woodface’). Mark Hart (guitar, keyboards) becomes the fourth member of Crowded House (1992-1996). Drummer Paul Hester leaves the group in 1994. Peter Jones (drums) replaces him, but never records with the band as Hester helps out with the group’s final recordings. Hester commits suicide on 26 March 2005.
Neil Finn’s career takes in a variety of projects subsequently, including a reborn version of Crowded House with Matt Sherrod on drums. Other albums on which Neil Finn appears are: ‘Finn’ (1995) (UK no. 15) by Tim Finn & Neil Finn; ‘Try Whistling This’ (1998) (UK no. 5, AUS no. 1) by Neil Finn; ‘One Nil’ (2001) (UK no. 14, AUS no. 9) [retitled ‘One All’ (2002) for the U.S.] by Neil Finn; ‘7 Worlds Collide’ (2002) (UK no. 140) is an all-star collaboration; ‘Everyone Is Here’ (2004) (UK no. 8, AUS no. 2) by The Finn Brothers; ‘Time On Earth’ (2007) (UK no. 3, US no. 46, AUS no. 1) by Crowded House; ‘The Sun Came Out’ (2009) (UK no. 58, AUS no. 39) by 7 Worlds Collide; ‘Intriguer’ (2010) (UK no. 12, US no. 50, AUS no. 1) by Crowded House; ‘Pajama Club’ (2011) (UK no. 154, AUS no. 61) by Pajama Club (Neil, his wife and sons plus Sean Donnelly); ‘Goin’ Your Way’ (2013) (AUS no. 5) by Neil Finn & Paul Kelly; ‘Dizzy Heights’ (2014) (UK no. 22, AUS no. 6) by Neil Finn; and ‘Out Of Silence’ (2017) (UK no. 71, AUS no. 9) by Neil Finn.
Michael Wayne Campbell is born on 1 February 1950 in Panama City, Florida, U.S.A. He grows up there and in Jacksonville, Florida. Mike Campbell buys his first guitar when he is 16. In 1968 Mike graduates from Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville. His first band is a short-lived outfit called Dead Or Alive.
In 1971 Mike Campbell joins a group called Mudcrutch. It is in this group that Campbell first meets Tom Petty. In April 1974 Mudcrutch relocates from Florida to Los Angeles, California, but the group breaks up in 1975. Tom Petty scores a recording contract as a solo artist but decides he really needs a backing band. Thus Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers is born in 1976 with the following line-up: Tom Petty (vocals, guitar), Mike Campbell (guitar), Benmont Tench (keyboards), Ron Blair (bass) and Stan Lynch (drums). Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers release the following albums: ‘Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ (1976) (UK no. 24, US no. 55, AUS no. 57), ‘You’re Gonna Get It’ (1978) (UK no. 34, US no. 23, AUS no. 60), ‘Damn The Torpedoes’ (1979) (UK no. 57, US no. 2, AUS no. 15), ‘Hard Promises’ (1981) (UK no. 32, US no. 5, AUS no. 21), ‘Long After Dark’ (1982) (UK no. 45, US no. 9, AUS no. 77), ‘Southern Accents’ (1985) (UK no. 23, US no. 7, AUS no. 53), ‘Pack Up The Plantation’ (1986) (US no. 22, AUS no. 24) [a live album], ‘Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough)’ (1987) (UK no. 59, US no. 20, AUS no. 63), ‘Full Moon Fever’ (1989) (UK no. 8, US no. 3, AUS no. 13), ‘Into The Great Wide Open’ (1991) (UK no. 3,US no. 13, AUS no. 28), ‘Greatest Hits’ (1993) (UK no. 10, US no. 5, AUS no. 16), ‘Wildflowers’ (1994) (UK no. 36, US no. 8, AUS no. 38), ‘Songs And Music From “She’s The One”’ (1996) (UK no. 37, US no. 15), ‘Echo’ (1999) (UK no. 43, US no. 10), ‘The Last DJ’ (2002) (UK no. 179, US no. 9), ‘Mudcrutch’ (2008) (US no. 8) [a one-off revival of the old band], ‘Mojo’ (2010) (UK no. 38, US no. 2, AUS no. 52) and ‘Hypnotic Eye’ (2014) (UK no. 7, US no. 1, AUS no. 30). Technically, ‘Full Moon Fever’ and ‘Wildflowers’ are solo albums by Tom Petty but Mike Campbell still plays guitar on both of them. Over the years, The Heartbreakers have some line-up changes. Howie Epstein (bass) replaces Ron Blair from 1983 to 2003 until Blair returns to the band. Steve Ferrone (drums) replaces Stan Lynch from 1994. Multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston joins the group in 1994 bringing the band up to a six-piece. Mike Campbell is not just The Heartbreakers’ guitarist; he often co-writes the group’s songs with Tom Petty. The act’s biggest hits that are co-written by Petty and Campbell are: ‘Refugee’ (US no. 15) (from ‘Damn The Torpedoes’), ‘You Got Lucky’ (US no. 20) (from ‘Long After Dark’) and ‘Runnin’ Down A Dream’ (UK no. 55, US no. 23) (with Jeff Lynne as third co-author from ‘Full Moon Fever’). Tom Petty dies on 2 October 2017. Naturally, this means the end of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers and leaves Mike Campbell at liberty.
Mike Campbell is also the co-writer of ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ (with Tom Petty) (UK no. 50, US no. 3, AUS no. 10), the 1981 duet by Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks from Nicks’ debut solo album ‘Bella Donna’, and ‘Whole Lotta Trouble’ (with Stevie Nicks) (UK no. 62) from Stevie Nicks’ ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror’ (1989). This means that Mike Campbell has some history with Stevie Nicks before he joins Fleetwood Mac on 9 April 2018.
The new 2018 Fleetwood Mac line-up is: Stevie Nicks (vocals), Neil Finn (vocals, guitar), Mike Campbell (guitar), Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums).
In 1976 Fleetwood Mac keyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie were in the throes of divorce. In 1976 the romantic relationship begun in 1972 by Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was fraying apart. In 1976 Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood divorced his wife, Jenny Boyd. He remarried her in 1977. Lindsey Buckingham correctly likened this to a “soap opera.” At other times the story of Fleetwood Mac was closer to tragedy. Consider, for instance, the fates of Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch. There was even the absurdity of the 1974 ersatz Fleetwood Mac put together by the band’s manager. The story of Fleetwood Mac had a voluminous cast of players moving on and off the stage with only the rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood as constants. The blues-rock Fleetwood Mac of the late 1960s (Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan) was very different to the mega-successful pop Fleetwood Mac of the mid-1970s to mid-1980s (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie). There was also a plethora of other incarnations over the years. It’s possible that some listeners will like one of these incarnations but the others may leave them cold. This makes pinpointing the band’s peak difficult. Commercially, there is no denying the platinum powerhouse of 1975 to 1987. Yet, the blues years (1967-1970) may be more substantial and noteworthy to at least some people. There may be admirable aspects to all of Fleetwood Mac’s configurations. ‘The 1970s renaissance of Fleetwood Mac was one of the most dramatic turnarounds in rock.’ The music of Fleetwood Mac ‘was unabashedly pop, yet it touched on serious themes without being weighed down by them.’
- wikipedia.org as at 6 April 2018, 10 June 2018
- tenyearsafter.com – ‘Peter Green Biography Notes’ by Kulturwerksatt (Culture Workshop) Melle-Buer (4 November 2009)
- thefamouspeople.com – ‘Peter Green’ by ‘Editors,TheFamousPeople.com’ (30 October 2017)
- Internet Movie Database – imdb.com – as at 13 April 2018
- ‘The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock’ by Nick Logan, Bob Woffinden (Salamander Books, 1978) p. 53, 65, 82, 83, 84, 98, 104, 149, 150
- thoughtco.com – ‘Peter Green, Blues Guitarist’ by Reverend Keith A. Gordon (8 March 2017)
- ‘The Illustrated Rock Handbook’ edited by Roxanne Streeter, Ray Bonds (Salamander Books, 1983) p. 72, 80, 82, 83, 114, 141, 188, 230
- ‘Rolling Stone’ (U.S. rock magazine) ‘Fleetwood Mac: They Dared to be Different’ by Daisann McLane (7 February 1980) (reproduced on rollingstone.com)
- fleetwoodmac.net – ‘The Penguin Biographies – Jenny Boyd’ as at 28 January 2013
- ‘Rolling Stone Rock Almanac’ by the Editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Papermac, 1984) p. 117, 131, 147, 151, 154, 155, 171, 175, 266, 271, 303, 344
- fleetwoodmac.net – ‘The Penguin Biographies – John McVie’ as at 11 April 2018
- allmusic.com – ‘Fleetwood Mac’ by Stephen Thomas Erlewine as at 29 August 2001
- Fleetwood Mac ‘Greatest Hits’ – Sleeve notes by Stephen Davis (Warner Brothers Records Inc., 1988) p. 4
- wiktionary.org as at 17 April 2018 [definition of ‘kif’]
- ‘The Guardian’ (U.K. newspaper) ‘After the “Family” Broke us Apart’ by Hester Lacey, Linda McDonald (26 November 2005) (reproduced on theguardian.com) [Jeremey Spencer information]
- xfamily.org – ‘Jeremy Spencer’ as at 12 April 2018
- concerts.wikia.com as at 14 April 2018. No author credited. [Fleetwood Mac concerts 1960s – 1967]
- amazon.com as at 10 April 2018 [for the publication date of ‘The Fleetwood Mac Story: Rumours and Lies’ by Bob Brunning]
- ‘New Musical Express’ (U.K. rock newspaper) ‘Fleetwood Mac: The Group as Group Encounter?’ by Chris Salewicz (19 January 1980) (reproduced in ‘Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac: Interviews and Encounters’ by Sean Egan (Chicago Review Press, 1 July 2016))
- 45cat.com as at 12 April 2018 [release date for the single ‘I Believe My Time Ain’t Long’]
- Google lyrics as at 20 April 2018 [‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Fireflies’, ‘I Do’, ‘Peacekeeper’, ‘Say You Wil’]
- whosdatedwho.com as at 11 April 2018
- Notable Names Database – nndb.com – ‘Christine McVie’ – no author credited – as at 11 April 2018 [name of Christine McVie’s step-brother]
- brainyquote.com as at 12 April 2018
- ‘The Chain’ – Back cover quotes and songwriting credits (Warner Brothers Records Inc., 1992)
- fleetwoodmac.net – ‘The Penguin Biographies – Christine McVie’ as at 11 April 2018
- ‘Q Magazine’ (U.K. rock magazine) – 1990 Mick Fleetwood quote via 1 (above) [‘Then Play On’ LP]
- ‘The Vaudeville Years’ – Danny Kirwan quote (Receiver, 1998) via 1 (above) [Danny Kirwan]
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 85, 109, 113
- fleetwoodmac.net – ‘The Penguin Biographies – Danny Kirwan’ as at 11 April 2018
- fleetwoodmac.net – Post by Martin and Lisa Adelson (1 June 2004) [when John McVie got his penguin tattoo]
- discogs.com as at 11 April 2018 [the date of ‘Tiny Crustacean Show’ by Donovan’s Brain]
- ‘Plain Dealer’ (Cleveland, U.S.A., newspaper) – 1998 Bob Welch quote via 1 (above) [Bob Welch]
- ‘Rock Stars’ by Timothy White (Columbus Books, 1984) – ‘Stevie Nicks’ p. 252, 256, 257
- ‘Rolling Stone’ (U.S. rock magazine) ‘Lindsey Buckingham, Lonely Guy’ by Michael Goldberg (25 October 1984) (reproduced on rollingstone.com)
- ‘The Stevie Nicks Story, The Source’ (1981) from inherownwords.com ‘Stevie Nicks on Lindsey Buckingham’ via 1 (above) [Stevie Nicks]
- ‘Allure’ (U.S. magazine) ‘How I Got That Look’ (1995) via 1 (above) [Stevie Nicks]
- ‘Fleetwood Mac at American Airlines Centre’ (15 December 2014) review by Preston Jones via 1 (above) [Stevie Nicks]
- ‘Uncut’ (U.K. rock magazine) ‘Fleetwood Mac – “Everybody was Pretty Weirded Out” – The Story of “Rumours”’ by Nigel Williamson (29 January 2013) via 1 (above) [‘Fleetwood Mac’ (1975) LP]
- ‘Q Magazine’ (U.K. rock magazine) ‘Queen of the Stoned Age’ – Stevie Nicks interview by Paul Elliott (May 2001) (reproduced on rockalittle.com)
- ‘Blender’ (U.S. rock magazine) ‘The Greatest Songs Ever’ (May 2005) date via ‘Fleetwood Mac on Fleetwood Mac: Interviews and Encounters’ by Sean Egan (Chicago Review Press, 1 July 2016), article via 1 (above) [‘Dreams’ song]
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Australia, newspaper) ’36 Years On, 40 Million People Can’t be Wrong’ – a reissue of ‘Rumours’, review by Cameron Adams (31 January 2013) p. 40
- ‘The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’, ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (February 2004) p. 40
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Australia newspaper) (11 April 2013) p. 16
- ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘The Sound of Southern California’ by John Rockwell (Plexus Publishing, 1992), p. 547
- ‘Classic Albums’ (2004 DVD) – Mick Fleetwood quote on ‘Rumours’ via 1 (above) [‘Rumours’ LP]
- ‘Something Else Reviews’, ‘Fleetwood Hit Big with “Tango In The Night” then Imploded’ by Nick DeRiso (2004?) via 1 (above) [‘Tango In The Night’ LP]
- rickvito.com – ‘Biography’ as at 12 April 2018
- google search as at 12 April 2018 [for the date of President Clinton’s inauguration]
- billdeyoung.com – ‘We Just Disagree: The Story of Dave Mason’ (27 May 2014)
- allmusic.com – ‘Dave Mason’ by William Ruhlmann as at 12 April 2018
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Australia ,newspaper) (11 April 2013) p. 16 [Date of Mick Fleetwood’s separation from Lynn Frankel]
- jezebel.com – ‘Queen Witch Stevie Nicks Officiated a Wedding this Weekend’ by Madeleine Davies (30 December 2013)
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Australia, newspaper) ‘Don’t Stop’ interview by Cameron Adams (9 April 2015) p. 36
- ‘The History of Rock’ by Mark Paytress (Parragon Books, 2011) p. 170
- lyricsfreak.com as at 8 September 2014
Song lyrics copyright unavailable with the following exceptions: ‘The Chain’ (Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group); ‘Oh Well’ (BMG Rights Management (US) LLC); ‘Black Magic Woman’ (Murbo Music Publishing Inc.); ‘Green Manalishi’ (BMG Platinum Songs obo Palan Music Pub Ltd); ‘Sentimental Lady’ and ‘Dreams’ (both Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC); ‘Say You Love Me’, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘I Do’ (all Universal Music Publishing Group); ‘Go Your Own Way’ (Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd); ‘Fireflies’ (O/B/O Apra Amcos); ‘Peacekeeper’ and ‘Say You Will’ (born Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd)
Last revised 10 June 2018