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Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac is a rock group led by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (whose names partially form the group's name), who had their biggest hits in the 1970s.


Once singing the blues

The group began as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac in 1968 by guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie, after the three left (or were fired from) John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. They were then joined by Jeremy Spencer. Fleetwood Mac would release a series of straightforward blues albums which did moderately well in the United Kingdom. Early singles included "Oh, Well", "Albatross", and "Black Magic Woman" (which was re-recorded by Santana and became a U.S. hit).

Welch jellies the Mac

Fleetwood Mac went through many personnel changes, losing multiple lead guitarists (including Peter Green) and gaining blues singer Christine McVie (John McVie's wife). When American guitarist Bob Welch joined them, the band adopted more of a southern California country rock sound, still tempered by the blues influence of the British members. Some of Fleetwood Mac's early hits in the Welch era include "Sentimental Lady" (from 1972's Bare Trees ), which Welch himself remade during his solo career in 1977, and the stirring "Hypnotized" (from 1973's Mystery To Me).

Rumours are flying

In late 1974, Bob Welch left the band, and Mick Fleetwood was left to fill the vacancy. To show Mick Fleetwood his mixing skills, Keith Olsen played a track for Fleetwood titled "Frozen Love", which he had mixed for Buckingham Nicks (Album Title: Buckingham Nicks PD 5058, Released in September 1973). Having heard guitarist Lindsey Buckingham's skills, he asked Buckingham to join the band. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his musical partner and girlfriend Stevie Nicks also be invited to the band.

In 1975, the new lineup released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band and thus became a huge hit, and the group was catapulted into stardom. Among the hit singles from this album included McVie's "Over My Head" & "Say You Love Me", and Nicks' "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)"

But in 1976, with the success of the band also came the end of John and Christine McVie's marriage, as well as Buckingham and Nicks' longtime romantic relationship. Huge additional pressures were placed on the band to release a followup album, which, when combined with the newly found wealth, led to large amounts of drug and alcohol consumption.

The resulting concept album was Rumours in 1977, in which the band laid bare the emotional turmoil of the time. It became the best selling album of its time, selling over 18 million copies worldwide. The RIAA certified Rumours as a diamond album. It spawned more hit singles than its predecessor, including Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way", Nicks' "Dreams", "Gold Dust Woman" and "The Chain" (the latter song credited to the entire group, but actually composed by Nicks), and McVie's "You Make Loving Fun" & "Don't Stop" (the group's signature song that usually closed their live concerts).

The elephant comes to the Mac

The band would release further albums, including the quirky double album Tusk in 1979 (which spawned three hit singles, Nicks' seven-minute opus "Sara" [cut to three-and-a-half minutes for the first CD version release--it has since been restored for CD reissue], McVie's "Never Forget", and Buckingham's title track), a live album (Live , 1980) and the more conventional Mirage (which included Buckingham's "Hold Me" and Nicks' "Gypsy") before going on a hiatus, allowing for the solo careers of Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie. They would record one more album (Tango In The Night, 1987, which featured McVie's "Little Lies" and "Welcome To The Room, Sara", Nicks' sequel to Tusk's earlier track "Sara") before Buckingham officially quit the band.

The Mac carries on

Fleetwood Mac added guitarists Billy Burnette and Rick Vito and recorded more albums through the late 1980s and early 1990s, beginning with Behind The Mask, in which the group went for an edgier sound (as evidenced by the Nicks-composed single "Love Is Dangerous"). Unfortunately, Behind The Mask failed to make gold, and it is often seen by music critics as a low point for the band in the absence of Lindsey Buckingham.

The Buckingham/Nicks/McVie(s)/Fleetwood lineup would reunite from time to time in the 1990s. The first time was for the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, who had made Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop his campaign song. The second time was for a live concert in Los Angeles which resulted in the 1997 album The Dance. A hugely successful stadium tour followed the MTV premiere of The Dance which kept the reunited Mac on the road throughout much of 1997. This would be the final time the 1970s incarnation would perform with Christine McVie. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Fleetwood Mac in 1998.

In 2003 McVie left the band permanently to focus on her solo career, leaving Buckingham and Nicks to handle the vocals for the band's latest album, Say You Will. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and a well-attended arena tour lasted through 2004. Band leaders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are the only original members still with the group.


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Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12