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Fleetwood Mac

While most bands undergo a number of changes over the course of their careers, few groups experienced such radicalstylistic changes asFleetwood Mac. Initially conceived as a hard-edged British blues combo in the late '60s, the bandgradually evolved into a polished pop/rock actover the course of a decade. Throughout all of their incarnations, the onlyconsistent members of Fleetwood Mac were drummer Mick Fleetwoodand bassist John McVie -- the rhythm section thatprovided the band with its name. Ironically, they had the least influence over the musicaldirection of the band. Originally,guitari ...read more

While most bands undergo a number of changes over the course of their careers, few groups experienced such radicalstylistic changes asFleetwood Mac. Initially conceived as a hard-edged British blues combo in the late '60s, the bandgradually evolved into a polished pop/rock actover the course of a decade. Throughout all of their incarnations, the onlyconsistent members of Fleetwood Mac were drummer Mick Fleetwoodand bassist John McVie -- the rhythm section thatprovided the band with its name. Ironically, they had the least influence over the musicaldirection of the band. Originally,guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer provided the band with its gutsy, neo-psychedelic blues-rock sound,but as bothguitarists descended into mental illness, the group began moving toward pop/rock with the songwriting of pianist ChristineMcVie. Bythe mid-'70s, Fleetwood Mac had relocated to California, where they added the soft rock duo of LindseyBuckingham and Stevie Nicks to theirlineup. Obsessed with the meticulously arranged pop of the Beach Boys and the Beatles,Buckingham helped the band become one of the mostpopular groups of the late '70s. Combining soft rock with theconfessional introspection of singer/songwriters, Fleetwood Mac created a slick butemotional sound that helped 1977'sRumours become one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. The band retained its popularity through theearly '80s, whenBuckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie all began pursuing solo careers. The band reunited for one album, 1987's Tango intheNight, before splintering in the late '80s. Buckingham left the group initially, but the band decided to soldier on, releasingone other album beforeNicks and McVie left the band in the early '90s, hastening the group's commercial decline.

The roots of Fleetwood Mac lie in John Mayall's legendary British blues outfit, the Bluesbreakers. Bassist John McVie was oneof the chartermembers of the Bluesbreakers, joining the group in 1963. In 1966 Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton, and a yearlater drummer Mick Fleetwoodjoined. Inspired by the success of Cream, the Yardbirds, and Jimi Hendrix, the trio decided tobreak away from Mayall in 1967. At their debut atthe British Jazz and Blues Festival in August, Bob Brunning was playing bassin the group, since McVie was still under contract to Mayall. He joinedthe band a few weeks after their debut; by that time,slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer had joined the band. Fleetwood Mac soon signed with BlueHorizon, releasing their eponymousdebut the following year. Fleetwood Mac was an enormous hit in the U.K., spending over a year in the Top Ten.Despite itsBritish success, the album was virtually ignored in America. During 1968, the band added guitarist Danny Kirwan. The followingyear,they recorded Fleetwood Mac in Chicago with a variety of bluesmen, including Willie Dixon and Otis Spann. The set wasreleased later that year,after the band had left Blue Horizon for a one-album deal with Immediate Records; in the U.S., theysigned with Reprise/Warner Bros., and by1970, Warner began releasing the band's British records as well.

Fleetwood Mac released English Rose and Then Play On during 1969, which both indicated that the band was expanding itsmusic, moving awayfrom its blues purist roots. That year, Green's "Man of the World" and "Oh Well" were number two hits.Though his music was providing thebackbone of the group, Peter Green was growing increasingly disturbed due to his largeingestion of hallucinogenic drugs. After announcing that hewas planning to give all of his earnings away, Green suddenly leftthe band in the spring of 1970; he released two solo albums over the course ofthe '70s, but he rarely performed after leavingFleetwood Mac. The band replaced him with Christine Perfect, a vocalist/pianist who had earned asmall but loyal following inthe U.K. by singing with Spencer Davis and the Chicken Shack. She had already performed uncredited on Then PlayOn.Contractual difficulties prevented her from becoming a full-fledged member of Fleetwood Mac until 1971; by that time shehad married John McVie.

Christine McVie didn't appear on 1970's Kiln House, the first album the band recorded without Peter Green. For that album,Jeremy Spencerdominated the band's musical direction, but he had also been undergoing mental problems due to heavy druguse. During the band's American tourin early 1971, Spencer disappeared; it was later discovered that he left the band to jointhe religious cult the Children of God. Fleetwood Mac hadalready been trying to determine the direction of their music, butSpencer's departure sent the band into disarray. Christine McVie and DannyKirwan began to move the band towardsmainstream rock on 1971's Future Games, but new guitarist Bob Welch exerted a heavy influence on1972's Bare Trees. Kirwanwas fired after Bare Trees and was replaced by guitarists Bob Weston and Dave Walker, who appeared on 1973'sPenguin.Walker left after that album, and Weston departed after making its follow-up, Mystery to Me (1973). In 1974, the group'smanager,Clifford Davis, formed a bogus Fleetwood Mac and had the band tour the U.S. The real Fleetwood Mac filed and wona lawsuit against theimposters -- after losing, they began performing under the name Stretch -- but the lawsuit kept theband off the road for most of the year. In theinterim, they released Heroes Are Hard to Find. Late in 1974, Fleetwood Macmoved to California, with hopes of restarting their career. Welch leftthe band shortly after the move to form Paris.

Early in 1975, Fleetwood and McVie were auditioning engineers for the band's new album when they heard Buckingham. Nicks,an album recordedby the soft rock duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The pair were asked to join the group and theiraddition revived the band's musical andcommercial fortunes. Not only did Buckingham and Nicks write songs, but they broughtdistinctive talents the band had been lacking. Buckinghamwas a skilled pop craftsman, capable of arranging a commercialsong while keeping it musically adventurous. Nicks had a husky voice and a sexy,hippie gypsy stage persona that gave theband a charismatic frontwoman. The new lineup of Fleetwood Mac released their eponymous debut in1975 and it slowlybecame a huge hit, reaching number one in 1976 on the strength of the singles "Over My Head," "Rhiannon," and "Say YouLoveMe." The album would eventually sell over five million copies in the U.S. alone.

While Fleetwood Mac had finally attained their long-desired commercial success, the band was fraying apart behind thescenes. The McViesdivorced in 1976, and Buckingham and Nicks' romance ended shortly afterward. The internal tensionsformed the basis for the songs on their nextalbum, Rumours. Released in the spring of 1977, Rumours became a blockbustersuccess, topping the American and British charts and generatingthe Top Ten singles "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," "Don'tStop," and "You Make Loving Fun." It would eventually sell over 17 million copies in theU.S. alone, making it the secondbiggest-selling album of all time. Fleetwood Mac supported the album with an exhaustive, lucrative tour and thenretired tothe studio to record their follow-up to Rumours. A wildly experimental double album conceived largely by Buckingham, 1979'sTusk didn'tduplicate the enormous success of Rumours, yet it did go multi-platinum and featured the Top Ten singles "Sara"and "Tusk." In 1980, theyreleased the double-album Live.

Following the Tusk tour, Fleetwood, Buckingham, and Nicks all recorded solo albums. Of the solo projects, Stevie Nicks' BellaDonna (1981) was themost successful, peaking at number one and featuring the hit singles "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,""Leather and Lace," and "Edge ofSeventeen." Buckingham's Law and Order (1981) was a moderate success, spawning the TopTen "Trouble." Fleetwood, for his part, made a worldmusic album called The Visitor. Fleetwood Mac reconvened in 1982 forMirage. More conventional and accessible than Tusk, Mirage reachednumber one and featured the hit singles "Hold Me" and"Gypsy..

After Mirage, Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie all worked on solo albums. The hiatus was due to a variety of reasons.Each member had hisor her own manager, Nicks was becoming the group's breakaway star, Buckingham was obsessive in thestudio, and each member was sufferingfrom various substance addictions. Nicks was able to maintain her popularity, with TheWild Heart (1983) and Rock a Little (1985) both reachingthe Top 15. Christine McVie also had a Top Ten hit with "Got a Holdon Me" in 1984. Buckingham received the strongest reviews of all, but his1984 album Go Insane failed to generate a hit.Fleetwood Mac reunited to record a new album in 1985. Buckingham, who had grown increasinglyfrustrated with the musicallimitations of the band, decided to make it his last Fleetwood Mac project. When the resulting album, Tango in theNight, wasfinally released in 1987, it was greeted with mixed reviews but strong sales, reaching the Top Ten and generating the Top 20hits"Little Lies," "Seven Wonders," and "Everywhere..

Buckingham decided to leave Fleetwood Mac after completing Tango in the Night, and the group replaced him with guitaristsBilly Burnette and RickVito. The new lineup of the band recorded their first album, Behind the Mask, in 1990. It became theband's first album since 1975 to not go gold.Following its supporting tour, Nicks and Christine McVie announced they wouldcontinue to record with the group, but not tour. Vito left the bandin 1991, and the group released the box set 25 Years --The Chain the following year. The classic Fleetwood Mac lineup of Fleetwood, the McVies,Buckingham, and Nicks reunited toplay President Bill Clinton's inauguration in early 1993, but the concert did not lead to a full-fledged reunion.Later that year,Nicks left the band and was replaced by Bekka Bramlett and Dave Mason; Christine McVie left the group shortly afterward.Thenew lineup of Fleetwood Mac began touring in 1994, releasing Time the following year to little attention. While the newversion of Fleetwood Macwasn't commercially successful, neither were the solo careers of Buckingham, Nicks, and McVie,prompting speculation of a full-fledged reunion in1997. Say You Will, the first Fleetwood Mac studio album in 15 years,appeared in April 2003. It also marked the group's first set without ChristineMcVie since 1997's live effort, The Dance. « hide

Similar Bands: Eagles, Santana, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Buckingham Nicks

LPs
Say You Will
2003

3.3
31 Votes
Time
1995

1.9
20 Votes
Behind The Mask
1990

2.1
22 Votes
Tango In The Night
1987

3.7
80 Votes
Mirage
1982

3
47 Votes
Tusk
1979

3.9
119 Votes
Rumours
1977

4.4
674 Votes
Fleetwood Mac
1975

4
202 Votes
Heroes Are Hard To Find
1974

2.7
17 Votes
Mystery To Me
1973

3.2
30 Votes
Penguin
1973

2.8
18 Votes
Bare Trees
1972

3.6
27 Votes
Future Games
1971

3.1
23 Votes
Kiln House
1970

3.2
21 Votes
Then Play On
1969

4
65 Votes
Mr. Wonderful
1968

2.8
33 Votes
Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1968

3.8
56 Votes
EPs
Extended play
04/30/2013

3.5
1 Votes
Live Albums
Live in Boston (2004)
2004

4
4 Votes
Boston Blues
2000

4.5
1 Votes
Shrine '69
1999

3.9
4 Votes
Live in Boston (1970)
1998

The Dance
1997

3.9
35 Votes
Live at the BBC
1995

4
2 Votes
Live
1980

3.5
5 Votes
Compilations
The Essential Fleetwood Mac
2007

4.2
3 Votes
The Best of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
2002

4.3
11 Votes
The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac
2002

3.9
21 Votes
The Vaudeville Years 1968-1970
1998

4
1 Votes
Greatest Hits (Warner Bros)
1988

3.6
25 Votes
Greatest Hits (CBS)
1971

4.4
8 Votes
Black Magic Woman
1971

4.5
1 Votes
The Original Fleetwood Mac
1971

4
2 Votes
Fleetwood Mac in Chicago
1969

4
1 Votes
The Pious Bird of Good Omen
1969

4
7 Votes
English Rose
1969

3.8
3 Votes

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