Fleetwood Mac Overview
Fleetwood Mac are a British United Kingdom -American United States of America rock rock music band formed in 1967 in London.
The only member present in the band from the very beginning is its namesake drummer, Mick Fleetwood. Despite band founder Peter Green Peter Green (musician) naming the group by combining his two former bandmates' surnames (Fleetwood, McVie) (from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers—it was actually the title Green had given to a demo recording they had recorded while in Mayall's band), bassist John McVie did not play on their first single nor at their first concerts. Keyboardist Christine McVie has, to date, appeared on all but two albums, either as a member or as a session musician. She also supplied the artwork for the album Kiln House.
The two most successful periods for the band were during the late 1960s British blues boom, when they were led by guitarist Peter Green, and from 1975 to 1987, with more pop pop music -orientation, featuring Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The band enjoyed more modest success in the intervening period between 1971 and 1974, with the line-up including Bob Welch Bob Welch (musician) , and also during the 1990s which saw more personnel changes before the return of Nicks and Buckingham in 1997, and more recently, the departure of Christine McVie.
Formation and early years (1967 / 1970)
Fleetwood Mac were formed in 1967 in London when Peter Green Peter Green (musician) left the British blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Green had replaced guitarist Eric Clapton in the Bluesbreakers, and received critical acclaim for his work on their album A Hard Road. After he had been in the Bluesbreakers for some time, Green asked if drummer Mick Fleetwood could replace Aynsley Dunbar. Green had been in two bands with Fleetwood—"Peter B's Looners" and the subsequent "Shotgun Express" (which featured a young vocalist named Rod Stewart). John Mayall agreed and Fleetwood became a member of the band.
The Bluesbreakers now consisted of Green, Fleetwood, John McVie and Mayall. Mayall gave Green free recording time as a gift, in which Fleetwood, McVie and Green recorded five songs. The fifth song was an instrumental which Green named after the rhythm section, "Fleetwood Mac".
Green contacted Fleetwood to form a new band. The pair desperately wanted McVie on bass and even named the band 'Fleetwood Mac' as a way to entice McVie. However McVie opted for the steady paycheque of the Mayall gig rather than the unknown of a new band. In the meantime Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood teamed up with talented slide player Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning, who was in the band on the understanding that he would leave if and when McVie agreed to join. The Green, Fleetwood, Spencer, Brunning version of the band made its debut on 13 August 1967 at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival. Within weeks of this show, John McVie agreed to become the bassist for the band.
Fleetwood Mac's first album, Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac (1968 album) , was a no-frills blues album and was released on the Blue Horizon label in February 1968. In fact there were no other players on the album (except for the song "Long Grey Mare", which was recorded when Bob Brunning was in the band). The album was successful in the UK, hitting no.4, though it did not have any singles on it. The band soon released two singles "Black Magic Woman" (later a big hit for Santana Carlos Santana ) and "Need Your Love So Bad".
The band's second album, Mr. Wonderful Mr. Wonderful (album) , was released in August 1968. Like the first it was an all-blues album, but this time they made a few changes. The album was recorded live in the studio with miked amplifiers and PA system, rather than plugged into the board. This method provided the ideal environment for producing this style of music, and gave it an authentically vintage sound. They also added horns horn section and featured a friend of the band on keyboards, Christine Perfect Christine McVie of Chicken S***.
Shortly after the release of their second album Fleetwood Mac added guitarist Danny Kirwan, then just eighteen years old, to their line-up. Green had been frustrated that Jeremy Spencer had little desire to contribute to Green's songs. A mature and accomplished self-taught guitarist, Kirwan's signature vibrato and unique style added a new dimension to an already complete band. With Kirwan the band released their first number one single in Europe, "Albatross Albatross (composition) ". Around this time they released their second American album, English Rose English Rose (album) , which contained half of Mr. Wonderful, new songs from Kirwan, and their third European album called The Pious Bird of Good Omen, which was a collection of singles, B-sides, and a selection of some work the band did with Eddie Boyd.
When the band went to the United States in January 1969 they recorded many songs at the soon-to-close Chess Records Studio, with some blues legends of Chicago including Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and Otis Spann. These would prove, however, to be Fleetwood Mac's last all-blues recordings. Along with their change of style the band was also going through some label changes. Up until this point they had been on Blue Horizon. With Kirwan in the band, however, the musical possibilities were too great for them to stay on a blues-only label. The band signed with the Immediate Records label and released "Man of the World", another British and European hit single. For the B-side Spencer fronted Fleetwood Mac as "Earl Vince and the Valiants" and recorded "Someone's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite", typifying the more raucous rock 'n' roll side of the band. Immediate was in bad shape and the band shopped around for a new deal. Even though The Beatles wanted the band on Apple Records (Mick Fleetwood and George Harrison were brothers-in-law), the band's manager Clifford Davis Clifford Davis (musician) decided to go with Warner Bros. Records (Reprise), the label they have stayed with ever since. Their first album for Reprise, released in September 1969, was the well-regarded Then Play On. The American release of this album contains the song "Oh Well", featured consistently in live performances from the time of its release through 1997 and then again starting in 2009. Then Play On, which was the band's first rock album, featured only the songs of Kirwan and Green. Jeremy Spencer, meanwhile, recorded a solo album Jeremy Spencer (album) (he was backed by the rest of the band) which consisted of many 1950s-style rock and roll songs.
In July 1969 Fleetwood Mac opened for Ten Years After at the Schaefer Music Festival at New York City's Wollman Rink. They re-appeared at the festival in 1970.
Fleetwood Mac were an extremely po***r band in Europe at the time. However, Peter Green, the frontman of the band, was not in good health. He had taken LSD in Munich, which contributed to the onset of his schizophrenia. in current dollar terms). Mirage was certified double platinum in the U.S.
Following Mirage, the band went on hiatus, which allowed members to pursue solo careers. Stevie Nicks released two more solo albums (1983's The Wild Heart The Wild Heart (album) and 1985's Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham issued Go Insane Go Insane (album) in 1984, the same year that Christine McVie made an eponymous album Christine McVie (album) (yielding the Top 10 hit "Got A Hold On Me" and the Top 40 hit "Love Will Show Us How"). All three met with success but it was Nicks who became the most po***r. However, also during this period, Mick Fleetwood had filed for bankruptcy, Nicks was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems, and John McVie had suffered an addiction-related seizure - all attributed to the lifestyle of excess afforded to them by their worldwide success. It was rumoured that Fleetwood Mac had finally broken up; however, Buckingham commented that he was unhappy to allow Mirage to remain as the band's last effort.
The Rumours line-up of Fleetwood Mac recorded one more album for the time being, Tango in the Night, in 1987. Initially, as with various other Fleetwood Mac albums, the material started off as a Buckingham solo album before becoming a group project. The album went on to become their best-selling release since Rumours, especially in the UK where it hit no. 1 three times over the following year. The album sold three million copies in the USA and contained four hits: Christine McVie's "Little Lies" and "Everywhere Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac song) " (the former being co-written with McVie's new husband Eddy Quintela), Sandy Stewart Sandy Stewart (musician) and Stevie Nicks's "Seven Wonders", and Lindsey Buckingham's "Big Love". "Family Man" and "Isn't It Midnight" were also released as singles, with lesser success. The band intended to tour as usual to support the album but Buckingham refused. According to Fleetwood, Buckingham withdrew from Fleetwood Mac following a heated, angry exchange in August 1987. Nicks and Christine McVie have also confirmed the infamous incident taking place during various interviews, including when the band were interviewed for the British music programme Rock Steady screened in March 1990. McVie herself described the incident, which took place in her house, as "ugly", Buckingham allegedly saying to those present, of Stevie Nicks, "get that schizophrenic bitch out of this house". However, years later on a 2001 VH-1 Behind The Music documentary on Lindsey Buckingham, both Fleetwood and Buckingham played down the incident.
Broken chain (1987 / 1997)
Following Buckingham's departure, Fleetwood Mac added two new guitarists to the band, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Burnette was mainly added for his singing and songwriting skills and Vito for his lead guitar abilities.
Burnette is the son of Dorsey Burnette and nephew of Johnny Burnette, both of The Rock and Roll Trio. He had already worked with Mick Fleetwood in Zoo, with Christine McVie as part of her solo band, did some session work with Stevie Nicks and even backed Lindsey Buckingham on Saturday Night Live. Furthermore, Fleetwood and Christine McVie played on his Try Me album in 1985. Vito, a Peter Green admirer, played with many artists from Bonnie Raitt to John Mayall, and even worked with John McVie on two Mayall albums.
The 1987-88 "Shake the Cage" tour was the first outing for this line-up, and was successful enough to warrant the release of a concert video (simply titled "Tango In The Night"), filmed at San Francisco's Cow Palace arena in December 1987.
Capitalising on the success of Tango in the Night, the band continued with a "Greatest Hits" album in 1988. It featured singles from the 1975-88 era, and included two new compositions: "No Questions Asked" written by Nicks, and "As Long as You Follow" written by McVie and Quintela, which was released as a single in 1988 but only made #43 in the US and #66 in the UK. It did, however, reach #1 on the US Adult Contemporary charts. The Greatest Hits album, which peaked at #3 in the UK and #14 in the US (though has since sold over 8 million copies there), was dedicated to Buckingham by the band, with whom they had now reconciled.
Following the Greatest Hits collection, Fleetwood Mac recorded Behind the Mask Behind the Mask (album) . With this album, the band veered away from the stylised sound that Buckingham had evolved during his tenure in the band (also evident in his solo works), and ended up with a more adult contemporary style from producer Greg Ladanyi. However, the album yielded only one Top 40 hit, McVie's "Save Me". Behind The Mask only achieved gold album status in the US, peaking at #18 on the Billboard album chart, though it entered the UK album chart at #1. It received mixed reviews, and was seen by some music critics as a low point for the band in the absence of Lindsey Buckingham (who had actually made a guest appearance by playing on the title track). However, Rolling Stone magazine said that Vito and Burnette were "the best thing to ever happen to Fleetwood Mac" and the British "Q" Magazine also praised the album in their review. The subsequent "Behind The Mask" tour saw the band play sold out shows at London's Wembley Stadium, and on the final show in Los Angeles, the band were joined onstage by Buckingham. The two women of the band, McVie and Nicks, had decided that the tour would be their last (McVie's father died during the tour) though both stated that they would still record with the band. However, in 1991, both Nicks and Rick Vito announced they were leaving Fleetwood Mac altogether.
In 1992, Fleetwood himself arranged a 4-disc box set spanning highlights from the band's 25 year history, titled 25 Years – The Chain (an edited 2-disc set was also available). A notable inclusion in the box set was "Silver Springs", a Stevie Nicks composition that was recorded during the "Rumours" sessions but was omitted from the album and used as the B-side of "Go Your Own Way Go Your Own Way (song) " instead. Nicks had requested use of the track for her 1991 "Best Of" compilation "TimeSpace", but Fleetwood had refused her request as he had planned to include it in this collection as something of a rarity. The disagreement between Nicks and Fleetwood garnered press coverage, and is believed to be the main catalyst for Nicks leaving the band in 1991. The box set, however, also included a brand new Stevie Nicks/Rick Vito composition, "Paper Doll", which was released in the US as a single. As both members had left the band by this point, the track was presumably a leftover from the Behind The Mask Behind the Mask (album) sessions. There were also two new Christine McVie compositions, "Heart of Stone" and "Love Shines", the latter of which was released as a single in the UK and certain other territories. Lindsey Buckingham also contributed a new song, "Make Me a Mask," which bore all the markings of an insular Buckingham studio creation, devoid of input from other band members. Mick Fleetwood also released a deluxe hardcover companion book to coincide with the release of the box set, titled "My 25 Years In Fleetwood Mac". The volume featured many rare photographs and notes (written by Fleetwood himself) detailing the band's 25 year history.
Some months after this, the Buckingham/Nicks/McVie/McVie/Fleetwood lineup reunited at the request of U.S. President Bill Clinton for his first Inaugural Ball in 1993. Clinton had made Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Don't Stop (Fleetwood Mac song) " his campaign theme song. His subsequent request to perform it at the Inauguration Ball was met with enthusiasm by the band, however this lineup had no intention to reunite again.
Inspired by the new interest in the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, with Billy Burnette taking on lead guitar duties. However, just as they made the decision to continue, Billy Burnette announced in March 1993, that he was leaving the band to pursue a country album and an acting career. Bekka Bramlett, who had worked a year earlier with Mick Fleetwood's Zoo, was recruited. Solo singer/songwriter/guitarist and Traffic's Dave Mason, who had worked with Bekka's parents Delaney & Bonnie twenty five years earlier, was subsequently added. By March 1994, Billy Burnette, himself a good friend and co-songwriter with Delaney Bramlett, returned with Fleetwood's blessing.
The band, minus Christine McVie, toured in 1994, opening for Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and in 1995 as part of a package with REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar. The tour saw the band perform classic Fleetwood Mac songs from the initial 1967–1974 era. In 1995, at a concert in Tokyo, the band was greeted by former member Jeremy Spencer, who performed a few songs with them.
On 10 October 1995, Fleetwood Mac released the unsuccessful Time Time (Fleetwood Mac album) album. Although hitting the UK Top 60 for one week the album had zero impact in the US. It failed even to graze the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, a stunning reversal for a band that had been a mainstay on that chart for most of the previous two decades. Shortly after the album's release, Christine McVie informed the band that the album was her last. Bramlett and Burnette subsequently formed a country music duo, Bekka & Billy.
Re-connected chain (1997 / 2007)
Just weeks after disbanding Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood announced that he was working with Lindsey Buckingham again. John McVie was soon added to the sessions, and later Christine McVie. Stevie Nicks also enlisted Lindsey Buckingham to produce a song for a soundtrack.
In May 1996, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks made an appearance at a private party in Louisville, Kentucky prior to the Kentucky Derby (with Steve Winwood filling in for Lindsey Buckingham). A week later, the Twister Twister (1996 film) film soundtrack was released, which featured the Stevie Nicks-Lindsey Buckingham duet, "Twisted", with Mick Fleetwood on drums. This eventually led to a full Rumours line-up reunion when the band officially reformed in March of 1997. The result came in the form of a live concert recorded on a Warner Bros. Burbank, California soundstage on 22 May, which resulted in the 1997 live album The Dance The Dance (album) , returning Fleetwood Mac to the top of the US album charts for the first time in 15 years. The album returned Fleetwood Mac to their superstar commercial status that they had not enjoyed since their Tango in the Night album. The album was certified a 5 million seller by the RIAA. A successful arena tour followed the MTV premiere of The Dance, which kept the reunited Mac on the road throughout much of 1997, the 20th anniversary of their Rumours album. However, this would be the final foray of the classic 1970s lineup with Christine McVie.
In 1998, Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed at the Grammy Awards program that year. They were also the recipients of the "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award at the BRIT Awards (British Phonographic Industry Awards) the same year.
In 1998, Christine McVie left the band and returned to the UK to retire from touring (though not from the music business entirely as she created a new album, In The Meantime In the Meantime (album) , in 2004). Her departure left Buckingham and Nicks to sing all the lead vocals for the band's 2003 album, Say You Will, although Christine did contribute some backing vocals and keyboards. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart (#6 in the UK) and yielded chart hits with "Peacekeeper" and the title track, and a successful world arena tour Say You Will Tour lasted through 2004.
In interviews given in November 2006 to support his solo album Under the Skin Under the Skin (album) , Buckingham stated that plans for the band to reunite once more for a 2008 tour were still in the cards. Recording plans have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. In a September 2007 interview Stevie Nicks gave to the UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, she noted that she was unwilling to carry on with the band unless Christine McVie returned.
However in a more recent interview, Mick Fleetwood said "...be very happy and hopeful that we will be working again. I can tell you everyone's going to be extremely excited about what's happening with Fleetwood Mac."
Unleashed tour and future projects (2008 / 2010)
On March 14, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Sheryl Crow said that she would be working with Fleetwood Mac in 2009. Crow and Stevie Nicks collaborated a great deal in the past and she has stated that Nicks has been a great teacher and inspiration for her. In a subsequent interview with Buckingham, he said after discussions between the band and Crow, the potential collaboration with Crow "lost its momentum".
On June 9, 2008, The New York Times reported that Irving Azoff was in the process of negotiating a deal with Wal-Mart for Fleetwood Mac's new album. The article states "...And Mr. Azoff said that he was already talking to Wal-Mart about an exclusive deal for Fleetwood Mac’s next release."
In a June 2008 interview, Stevie Nicks denied that Sheryl Crow would be joining Fleetwood Mac as a replacement for Christine McVie. According to Stevie Nicks, "the group will start working on material and recording probably in October, and finish an album." On October 7, 2008, Mick Fleetwood confirmed on the BBC's The One Show that the band were working in the studio and also announced plans for a world tour in 2009.
In late 2008, Fleetwood Mac announced that the band would tour in 2009, beginning in March. As per the 2003-2004 tour, Christine McVie will not be featured in the lineup. The tour is branded as a 'greatest hits' show entitled "Unleashed", although they will also play album tracks such as "Storms Tusk (album) " and "I Know I'm Not Wrong Tusk (album) ". The first show was on 1 March 2009, and in February they opened a slew of new dates.
According to Billboard Billboard magazine , Mick Fleetwood said during a teleconference with reporters on 12 February 2009, "This is the first time we've gone on the road without an album. This is truly a new experience for Fleetwood Mac to go out and play songs that we believe and hope people are going to be familiar with and love."
Stevie Nicks stated that, with regard to a new Fleetwood Mac album, "There isn't any plan at this point... for any album. We're going to get through this tour before deciding what to do with an album."
During the concerts mentioned, Buckingham stated, "the time is right to go back to the studio—but only after a tour. I think maybe there was even a sense that we would make a better album if we went out and hung out together first on the road ... Maybe even sowing some seeds musically that would get us more prepared to go in the studio rather than just going in cold. It takes the pressure [off] from having to go in and make something cold".
During their show on June 20, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Stevie Nicks premiered part of a new song that she had written about Hurricane Katrina. This was a surprise to the audience, as Fleetwood Mac has not been known for playing unreleased songs during their more recent concerts.
In October 2009, the band began a tour of Europe which carried on into early November, followed by a tour of Australia and New Zealand in December.
Also in October The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac was re-released in an extended two disc format, premiering at number six in the UK album charts.
During a show on October 30 in London's Wembley Arena, Buckingham re-confirmed possibilities of a new album and tour to promote it.
On November 1, 2009, a new one hour documentary, Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop, was broadcast in the UK on BBC One. Featuring recent interviews with all four current band members, the programme achieved an 18% share of the viewing audience and was well received by critics and fans alike. The show is notable for Stevie Nicks' candid summary of her current relationship with Buckingham: "Maybe when we're 75 and Fleetwood Mac is a distant memory, we might be friends...", and for including outtakes from the Tusk Tusk (album) sessions, not seen for many years since their availability on VHS cassette in 1981.
On November 6, 2009 Fleetwood Mac played the last show of the European leg of their Unleashed tour at London's Wembley Arena. Christine McVie was present in the audience, to whom Stevie Nicks paid a tribute from the stage to a standing ovation from the audience, stating that she thought about her former bandmate "every day", and went on to dedicate that night's performance of "Landslide Landslide (song) " to McVie.
In December 2009, concert industry website Pollstar reported that Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles were looking to co headline a tour in the summer of 2010. The tour would play both stadiums and arenas in North America and Europe.
On December 19, 2009, Fleetwood Mac played the second to last act of their Unleashed tour to a sell out crowd at what was originally intended to be a one off event at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands Brooklands, Taranaki , New Plymouth, New Zealand. Tickets, after pre sales, sold out within twelve minutes of public release, and another date (Sun the 20th), which also sold out, was added.* The 1967-69 Blue Horizon albums (Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac (1968 album) , Mr. Wonderful Mr. Wonderful (album) , The Pious Bird of Good Omen and Fleetwood Mac in Chicago Fleetwood Mac in Chicago/Blues Jam in Chicago, Vols. 1-2 ) and 1971 outtakes album The Original Fleetwood Mac have been fully remastered & reissued on CD, as have the 1975-79 Warner Brothers albums Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac (1975 album) , Rumours Rumours (album) , and Tusk Tusk (album) . Then Play On, Kiln House, the Bob Welch era albums (Future Games, Bare Trees, Penguin Penguin (album) , Mystery to Me and Heroes Are Hard to Find) and every release since 1980 (Fleetwood Mac Live Live (Fleetwood Mac album) , Mirage Mirage (Fleetwood Mac album) , Tango in the Night, Behind the Mask Behind the Mask (album) , Time Time (Fleetwood Mac album) and Say You Will) have all currently not been remastered.* Fleetwood Mac - 1975
* Rumours Tour - 1977 - 1978
* Tusk Tour - 1979 - 1980
* Mirage Tour - 1982
* Shake The Cage Tour - 1987 - 1988
* Tango Tour - 1988
* Behind The Mask Tour - 1990
* Time Tour - 1995
* The Dance - 1997
* Say You Will Tour - 2003 - 2004
* Unleashed Tour - 2009
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