The British Blues Band that became and Anglo American pop sensation!
Fleetwood Mac! Mention that name to anyone today, and they will instantly know who we are talking about. The comment will be something like “Yeah, love ‘em. Lindsay and Stevie, what a band” And when one says,” What about the early stuff, with the many other line ups?” one is greeted with a blank stare and the comment “Isn’t that the original line up?”
To write the history of Fleetwood Mac would involve an encyclopedia size book. Mick Fleetwood has done a great job with his “Play On” book, a highly recommended classic.
The band was founded by Peter Green, who played in John Mayall's legendary Bluesbreakers.
Peter gave the band the name Fleetwood Mac, after drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie. Green even then, knew he would not be around for the long term, so used those two names, not his. Jeremy Spencer filled out the group, and their first L.P. “Fleetwood Mac” came out in in 1968, and was followed by Mr. Wonderful the same year. Two top 40 singles “Black Magic Woman” and “Need Your Love so Bad” came out the same year
Fleetwood Mac their second line up. Danny Kirwin, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, a hidden Peter Green, and Jeremy Spencer.
Danny Kirwan was added as an additional guitarist, giving the band a wider scope, Kirwan in the style of B.B.King, Spencer a great Elmore James slide player gave the band a varied range of styles.
“Albatross” a haunting instrumental was a surprise hit in late 1968, the very nice “Then Play On”, (Fleetwood’s Fave album) came out in ‘69. L to R, Kirwan, Spencer, Fleetwood, Green, McVie.
Fleetwood Mac in happier times. (L to R) Danny Kirwin, Jeremy Spencer, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and John McVie.
Peter Green, finding religion and other substances, departed in 1970, and was replaced by Christine Perfect, (later McVie) who came from the band Chicken Shack. The Melody Maker headline announcing this event stated “Christine perfect replacement for Peter”
From there, it was a continuous coming and going of personnel. How Mick, John and Christine hung in there is lesson in persistence. Jeremy Spencer quit suddenly after joining as religious sect, and Californian Bob Welsh moved in.
Danny Kirwan had a breakdown, smashed his Les Paul Gibson, and quit just before a concert. He refused to go on, then criticized the band after the show , and was fired.
In September 1972 the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker, formerly of Savoy Brown and Idle Race. Bob Weston was well known as a slide guitarist. Fleetwood, The McVie's, Welch, Weston and Walker recorded the band's seventh studio album, Penguin which was released in January 1973. After the tour the band fired Walker because they felt his vocal style and attitude did not fit well with the rest of the band. He only wanted to do Savoy Brown type music. Bob Weston also got the flick for getting to friendly with Mick Fleetwood's wife.
Legal hassles, management hassles and line-up changes resulted in two years of little action for the band. Relocating to the U.S., the band fired their manager and decided to manage themselves.
Suddenly, n 1974 the after band moved to the U.S. and Bob Welch departed the band. After Welch decided to leave the band, Fleetwood began searching for a replacement. Whilst he was checking out the Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, the house engineer played him a track he had recorded, "Frozen Love" from the album "Buckingham Nicks"(1973). Fleetwood liked it and was introduced to the guitarist from the band, Lindsey Buckingham, who was at Sound City that day recording demos. Fleetwood asked him to join Fleetwood Mac and after a successful meeting, Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his music partner and girlfriend, Stevie be included. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year's Eve 1974, within four weeks of the previous incarnation splitting.
In 1975, the new line-up released "Fleetwood Mac" , their tenth studio album. The album was a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit, reaching No.1 in the US and selling over 7 million copies. Among the hit singles from this album were Christine McVie's "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me" and Stevie Nicks's "Rhiannon". The album reached No. 6 on the U.K. charts and No.109 in the U.S.
For more on Fleetwood Mac check out this Rolling Stone article.
Fleetwood Mac's "Then Play On", the third album by the band, and the first to feature Danny Kirwan. It was also the last with Peter Green. Released on the Reprise label, their first on that label, it was greeted with mixed reactions, from " Mac have fallen on their faces" to "odd, but very good". The album reached No. 6 on the U.K. charts and No.109 in the U.S.
The first album by the original four piece line up, "Fleetwood Mac", and one of their best. The bass on "Long Grey Mare" is played by Bob Brunning, who stood in for John McVie who was weighing up whether to risk leaving John Mayall for the Fleetwood's. This album has the great "Shake You're Money Maker","I Loved Another Woman", and "World keeps Turning" which popped up later, reworked, on the "Fleetwood Mac" album featuring Buckingham and Nicks.
"Mr. Wonderful"...the second Fleetwood Mac album, and was greeted with a rather mute response. "All Music " rated it 2/5. Tracks include "Dust My Broom", "Need You're Love So Bad" and "Evenin" Boogie" their first instrumental.
"Penguin" is an excellent compilation album of Mac's single releases and B sides. Released in 1969 it received good reviews, being called "excellent" by Rolling Stone Magazine. Includes "jigsaw Puzzle Blues" "Need You're Love", and of course "Albatross", hence the bird on the cover.
..The "Then Play On" album features stalwarts Christine, John and Mick, plus both Bob Welsh and Bob Weston. released in October 1973, it was their 8th studio album. Songs written mainly by Christine and Welch, steering the band to a more pop orientation. "Emerald Eyes", "Hypnotized" and an interesting "For Your Love" are features. A good album, early signs of things to come.
After Bob Welch quit the band, Mick Fleetwood began searching for a replacement. Whilst he was checking out Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, the house engineer, Keith Olsen, (Who Mick reckons should be in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame) played him a track he had recorded, "Frozen Love", from the album Buckingham Nicks (1973). Fleetwood liked it and was introduced to the guitarist from the band, Lindsey Buckingham, who was at Sound City that day recording demos.
The three remaining Fleetwood’s met with Lyndsey, and his partner Stevie Nicks at a Mexican restraint. Lyndsay had made it clear that anything he was to do, Stevie would have to be a part of it. John and Mick had decided to let Christine make the final decision on whether it was a good idea to have them in the band.
At the lunch, it was obvious that the two girls were getting on extremely well. Mick Fleetwood could not stop smiling. As he says in his book, “Once we sat down together, I knew something was there, something was right.”
So, Mick invited them into the band at the luncheon, and they agreed. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year's Eve 1974, within four weeks of the previous incarnation splitting. In 1975, the new line-up released the self-titled album, their tenth studio album. The album was a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit, reaching No.1 in the US and selling over 7 million copies. Among the hit singles from this album were Christine McVie's "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me" and Stevie Nicks "Rhiannon", as well as the much-played album track "Landslide", a live rendition of which became a hit twenty years later The Dance album.
When “"Fleetwood Mac" first arrived at my shop, I thought, “Oh no! Not another Fleetwood Mac album! That will go back in the cut-outs. I only ordered 1 copy, did not even play it, and looking at rhe picture on the back could not decide it Stevie was a girl or boy. Then, driving to work one morning I heard “Rhiannon” and thought “Mmmm, maybe I was wrong here” and ordered another 25. All sold in very quick time!
"Fleetwood Mac" debuted at number 183 on the American "Billboard" chart dated 2 August 1975. It eventually reached its peak at number 1 on the chart dated 4 September 1976, which was 58 weeks after it had entered the chart. On 11 September 2018, the album was certified seven times by the Recording Association Of America (RIAA) for sales of over seven million copies in the United States.
In the UK, the album debuted at number 49 on the UK Album Chart of 6 November 1976. It peaked at number 23 its second week on the chart. On 5 July 1978, the album was certified gold the for sales of over 100,000 copies in the UK.
Yep, guess I got that one wrong!
How about with one of the greatest albums of all time?
By 1976, the band was suffering from severe stress. With success came the end of John and Christine McVie's marriage, as well as Buckingham and Nicks's long-term romantic relationship. Fleetwood, meanwhile, was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his wife, Jenny. The pressure on Fleetwood Mac to release a successful follow-up album, combined with their new-found wealth, led to creative and personal tensions which were allegedly fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol
The band's eleventh studio album, "Rumours " (the band's first release on the main Warner label after Reprise was retired and all of its acts were reassigned to the parent label), was released in February 1977. In this album, the band members laid bare the emotional turmoil they were experiencing at the time. Rumours was critically acclaimed and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1977. The album generated four Top Ten singles: Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way", Nicks's US No. 1 "Dreams" and Christine McVie's "Don't Stop" and "You Make Loving Fun". Buckingham's "Second Hand News", Nicks's "Gold Dust Woman" and "The Chain" (the only song written by all five band members) also received significant radio airplay. By 2003 Rumours had sold over 19 million copies in the US alone (certified as a diamond album by the RIAA) and a total of 40 million copies worldwide, bringing it to eighth on the list of best-selling albums. Fleetwood Mac supported the album with a lucrative tour.
On 10 October 1979, Fleetwood Mac were honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their contributions to the music industry at 6608 Hollywood Boulevard.
The album that sent the band on their way. And, this is the one that arrived in my record shop, and I thought, "Oh no! Not another Fleetwood Mac Album. Guess it wont sell either, like all the others".
Next to the Bee Gee's prediction, this was my worst prediction ever! With sales of over 7 million, this is one of the greatest albums of all time. Tracks are:
Monday Morning , Warm Ways, Blue Letter, Rhiannon, Over My Head, Crystal, Say You Love Me, Landslide, World Turning, Sugar Daddy and I'm So Afraid.
Christine McVie really reaches her peak on this album.
Proving that Fleetwood Mac were not a one hit wonder, they came out with "Rumours". Rumours was a huge commercial success and became Fleetwood Mac's second US number-one record, following the 1975 release of the "Fleetwood Mac" album. It was in and out of the top of the Billboard 200 for 31 non- weeks and reached number one in the United Kingdom,, Canada, New Zealand and down here in Australia. Not to be caught again, I ordered 50 copies, which sold in a week!
Tracks are: "Second Hand News" "Dreams" "Never Going Back Again" "Don't Stop", "Go You’re your Own Way" "Songbird": "The Chain" "You Make Loving Fun""I Don't Want to Know" "Oh Daddy" "Gold Dust Woman"
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Christine McVie Dies
It was announced on November 30th that long serving keyboard player/vocalist/songwriter with Fleetwood Mack had died that morning after a short illness. Christine, originally Christine Perfect before marriage to John McVie, was originally the keyboard player and vocalist with the blues group Chicken Shack. She sang the lead on their hit record “I’d Rather Go Blind”
Christine was honoured with a Melody Maker award for female vocalist in both 1969 and 1970. She left Chicken Shack in 1969 after marrying Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie the previous year, as she would otherwise not see her husband as they were busy playing in different bands
Christine joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970, having already contributed backing vocals and painted the cover for Kiln House that year. Fleewood had just lost founding member Peter Green, and its members were nervous about touring without him. As Christine had been fan of the Peter Green led Fleetwood Mac, and since she knew all the lyrics to their songs, she joined the band.
Christine’s song writing ability, and great keyboard work was a major contribution to the success of the band over the coming years.
Here is a very enjoyable and interesting book by the longest serving member of Fleetwood Mack. Mick Fleetwood is the remaining original member of the band, and this book gives a great insight into the dedication and perseverance of the band members through tough times.