Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in 1967, in London. The band has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. In 1998, selected members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
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 achieved a UK number one with "Albatross"; and from 1975 to 1987, as a more pop-oriented act, featuring Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
Rumours, Fleetwood Mac's second album after the incorporation of Buckingham and Nicks, produced four U.S. Top 10 singles and remained at No. 1 on the American albums chart for 31 weeks, as well as reaching the top spot in various countries around the world. To date, the album has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it the eighth-highest-selling album of all time.
The band achieved more modest success between 1971 and 1974, when the line-up included Bob Welch, during the 1990s in between the departure and return of Nicks and Buckingham, and during the 2000s when Christine McVie was absent.
Due to numerous lineup changes, the only original member present in the band is drummer Mick Fleetwood. Although band founder Green named the group by combining the surnames of two of his former bandmates (Fleetwood and McVie) from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, bassist John McVie played neither on their first single nor at their first concerts, as he initially decided to stay with Mayall. Keyboardist Christine McVie, who joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, has appeared on every album except the debut album, either as a member or as a session musician. She left the band in 1998 but returned in 2014.
Formation and early years (1967–71)
Fleetwood Mac were formed in July 1967 in London when Peter Green 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 Rod Stewart as vocalist). 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".
Soon after, Green contacted Fleetwood to form a new band. The pair wanted McVie on bass guitar and even named the band 'Fleetwood Mac' as a way to entice him. However, McVie opted to keep his steady income with Mayall rather than take a risk with a new band. In the meantime Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood teamed up with slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning, who was in the band on the understanding that he would leave if 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 as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac featuring Jeremy Spencer. Brunning merely played at a handful of gigs with Fleetwood Mac. Within weeks of this show, John McVie agreed to join the band as permanent bassist.
Fleetwood Mac's first album, Fleetwood Mac, 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 with Brunning on bass). 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) and "Need Your Love So Bad".
The band's second album, Mr. Wonderful, 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 and featured a friend of the band on keyboards, Christine Perfect of Chicken Shack prior to her marriage to John McVie.
Shortly after the release of their second album Fleetwood Mac added guitarist Danny Kirwan, then just eighteen years old, to their line-up, recruited from the South London blues trio Boilerhouse, consisting of Kirwan on guitar with Trevor Stevens on bass and Dave Terrey on drums. Green and Fleetwood had been to watch Boilerhouse rehearse in a basement boiler-room and Green was so impressed, he invited the band to play support slots for Fleetwood Mac. Green wanted Boilerhouse to become a professional band but Stevens and Terrey were not prepared to turn professional at the time, so Green sought to find another rhythm section by placing an ad in Melody Maker. There were over 300 applicants, but when Green and Fleetwood ran auditions at the Nag's Head in Battersea (home of the Mike Vernon Blue Horizon Club), the hard to please Green could not find anyone good enough to replace the pair, so he invited Kirwan to join Fleetwood Mac as their third guitarist.
Green had been frustrated that Jeremy Spencer had little desire to contribute to Green's songs. A 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". Around this time they released their second American album, English Rose, 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 "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite", typifying the more raucous rock 'n' roll side of the band. Immediate Records 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 decided to go with Warner Bros. Records (through Reprise Records, a Frank Sinatra-founded label), the label they have stayed with ever since.
Fleetwood Mac's first album for Reprise, released in September 1969, was the well-regarded Then Play On. Although the initial pressing of the American release of this album was the same as the British version, it was altered to contain 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 (he was backed by the rest of the band) which consisted of many 1950s-style rock and roll songs.
Fleetwood Mac were an extremely popular 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 may have contributed to the onset of his schizophrenia. German author and filmmaker Rainer Langhans mentions in his autobiography that he and Uschi Obermaier met Peter Green in Munich, where they invited him to their "High-Fish-Commune". They were not really interested in Green; they just wanted to get in contact with Mick Taylor: Langhans and Obermaier wished to organise a "Bavarian Woodstock". They wanted Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones to be the leading acts of their Bavarian open air festival. They needed Green just to get in contact with The Rolling Stones via Mick Taylor.
Green's last hit with Fleetwood Mac was "The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)" (first recorded at the Boston Tea Party in February 1970 and later recorded by Judas Priest). This recording was released as Green's mental stability deteriorated, and he wanted to give all of the band's money to charity. Other members of the band did not agree, and subsequently Green decided to leave the band. His last show with Fleetwood Mac was on 20 May 1970. During that show, the band went past their allotted time and the power was shut off, although Mick Fleetwood kept drumming. Some of the Boston Tea Party recordings (5/6/7 February 1970) were eventually released in the 1980s as the Live in Boston album, with a more complete remastered 3-volume compilation released by Snapper Music in the late 1990s.
Transitional era (1970–74)
Kirwan and Spencer were left with the task of having to fill up Peter's space in their live shows and on their recordings. In September 1970, Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House. Kirwan's songs moved the band in the direction of rock. Meanwhile, Spencer's contributions focused on re-creating the country-tinged "Sun Sound" of the late 1950s. Christine Perfect, who had retired from the music business after one unsuccessful solo album, contributed to Kiln House, singing backup vocals, and drawing the album cover. Since Fleetwood Mac were progressing and developing a new sound, Perfect was asked to join the band. They also released a single at that time; "Dragonfly" b/w "The Purple Dancer" in the U.K. and certain European countries. Despite good notices in the press, the single was not a success and the B-side has been reissued only once, on a Reprise German-only "Best of" album, making it one of their most obscure songs.
Christine Perfect, who was married to bassist John McVie, made her first appearance with the band as Christine McVie at Bristol University in May 1969 just as she was leaving Chicken Shack. She had success with the Etta James classic, "I'd Rather Go Blind", and was twice voted female artist of the year in England. Christine McVie played her first gig as an official member on 6 August 1970 in New Orleans. CBS Records, which now owned Blue Horizon (except in the US and Canada), released an album of previously unreleased material from the original Fleetwood Mac called The Original Fleetwood Mac. The album was relatively successful, and the band continued to gain popularity.
While on tour in February 1971, Jeremy Spencer said he was going out to "get a magazine", but never returned. After several days of frantic searching, the band discovered that Spencer had joined a religious group, the Children of God. Liable for the remaining shows on the tour, they convinced Peter Green to help finish the tour. He brought along his friend, Nigel Watson, who played the congas (twenty-five years later Green and Watson collaborated again to form the Peter Green Splinter Group). Green, however, would only be back with Fleetwood Mac temporarily, so the band decided to search for a new guitarist.
In the summer of 1971, the band held auditions for a guitarist in their large country home, "Benifold", which they bought prior to the Kiln House tour. A friend of the band named Judy Wong recommended her high school friend, Bob Welch, who was living in Paris at the time. The band had a few meetings with Welch and decided to hire him, without actually playing with him or listening to any of his recordings.
In September 1971, the band released Future Games. Due to Welch's arrival and Spencer's departure, the album was different from anything the band had done up to that point, and there were many new fans in America who were becoming more and more interested in the band. In Europe, CBS released Fleetwood Mac's first Greatest Hits package, which was predominantly composed of songs by Peter Green, though there was one song by Spencer and one by Kirwan.
In 1972, six months after the release of Future Games, the band released the well-received album Bare Trees. Though mostly composed by Kirwan, Bare Trees featured Welch's "Sentimental Lady", which would be a much bigger hit for him five years later when he re-recorded it for his solo album French Kiss, backed with Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie. It also featured "Spare Me a Little of Your Love", a bright Christine McVie tune that became a staple of the band's live act throughout the early to mid-1970s.
While the band was doing well in the studio, their tours were more problematic. Danny Kirwan developed an alcohol dependency and became alienated from Welch and the McVies. It was not until he smashed his Les Paul Custom guitar before a concert, refused to go on stage, and criticised the band afterwards that Fleetwood was finally convinced that he had no choice but to fire Kirwan.
The next two and a half years proved to be the most challenging for the band. In the three albums they released in this period, they constantly changed line-ups. 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 for playing slide guitar and had known the band from his touring period with Long John Baldry. Fleetwood Mac also hired Savoy Brown's road manager, John Courage. Mick, John, Christine, Welch, Weston, and Walker recorded Penguin, which was released in January 1973. After the tour, the band fired Walker because his vocal style and attitude did not fit in with the rest of the band.
The remaining five carried on and recorded Mystery to Me six months later. This album contained Welch's song "Hypnotized" which got a lot of airplay on the radio and became one of the band's most successful songs to date in the US. The band was proud of the new album and anticipated that it would be a hit. However, things were not well within the band. The McVies' marriage at this time was under a lot of stress, which was aggravated by their constant working with each other, and John McVie's considerable alcohol abuse. During the tour, Weston had an affair with Fleetwood's wife, Jenny Boyd Fleetwood, the sister of Pattie Boyd Harrison. Fleetwood soon fired Weston and the tour was cancelled. Due to lack of touring, the album sold less than its predecessor.
The fake Fleetwood Mac (1974)
In 1974, the band's manager, Clifford Davis, then claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac, and recruited members of a band called Legs (which had recently issued one single under Davis' management) to tour as Fleetwood Mac.
The fake Fleetwood Mac consisted of Elmer Gantry (vocals, guitar), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Paul Martinez (bass), John Wilkinson (keyboards) and Australian-born drummer Craig Collinge (formerly of The Librettos, Procession and Third World War). Fans were told that Bob Welch and John McVie had quit the group, and that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie would be joining the band at a later date, after getting some rest. The members of the fake Fleetwood Mac apparently had themselves been told that Mick Fleetwood would join them on later dates, and averred that Fleetwood had been involved in the early planning stages of the tour before dropping out.
As the tour got underway, Fleetwood Mac's road manager, John Courage, worked one show before he realised that the line-up being used was a lie. Courage ended up hiding the real Fleetwood Mac's equipment, which helped shorten the tour by the fake band, which soon dissolved. But the lawsuit that followed—regarding who actually owned the rights to the band name "Fleetwood Mac"—put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for almost a year. While the band was named after Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, they had signed contracts that showed the band forfeited the rights to the name.
In the aftermath of the dissolution of the fake Fleetwood Mac, nobody from that lineup was ever officially made a part of the real Fleetwood Mac, although some of them later acted as Danny Kirwan's studio band. Gantry and Gregory went on to become members of Stretch, whose 1975 UK hit single "Why Did You Do It" was written about the fake Fleetwood Mac touring debacle. Gantry later joined The Alan Parsons Project. Fake Fleetwood Mac bassist Martinez, meanwhile, eventually went on to play with Paice Ashton Lord and Robert Plant's backing band.
Return of the real Fleetwood Mac (1974)
During the fake Fleetwood Mac months, Welch stayed in Los Angeles and connected with entertainment attorneys. He swiftly realised that the band was being neglected by Warner Bros., and that if they wanted to change that, they would have to change their base of operation from England to Los Angeles, to which the rest of the band agreed immediately. Rock promoter Bill Graham wrote a letter to Warner Bros. to convince them that the real Fleetwood Mac were in fact Fleetwood, Welch and the McVies, but while this did not end the legal battle, the band was able to record as Fleetwood Mac again. Instead of getting another manager, Fleetwood Mac decided to manage themselves.
In September 1974, Fleetwood Mac signed a new recording contract with Warner Bros., but remained on the Reprise imprint. The quartet released their album Heroes Are Hard to Find in September 1974 and for the first time in its history, the band had only one guitarist. While on tour they added a second keyboardist, Doug Graves, who had been an engineer on Heroes Are Hard to Find. although Graves was preparing to be a full member of the band following the US tour in late 1974. At the time he said:
I'm looking forward to adding something to this already great band; I helped engineer their album 'Heroes Are Hard to Find' and got to know each member well. It came to me as a shock when Mick asked me to join but I am enjoying playing live with the band, and hopefully will start a new studio album with the band soon.
However, Graves did not ultimately join full-time. In 1980, Christine McVie explained the decision:
"He (Doug Graves) was there to back me up, but I think it was decided after the first two or three concerts that I was better off without him. The band wanted me to expand my role and have a little more freedom, so he played some organ behind me, but he didn't play the same way I did...
Hunt, who had been in the band Head West with Bob Welch back in 1970 replaced Graves. Neither musician, however, proved to be a long-term addition to the line-up, and Welch left soon after the tour ended (on 5 December 1974 at Cal State University), having tired of the touring and legal struggles. Nevertheless, the tour enabled the Heroes album to reach a higher position on the American charts than any of the band's previous records.
Mainstream success (1975–87)
After Welch announced that he was leaving the band, Fleetwood began searching for a possible replacement. While Fleetwood was checking out Sound City Studios in L.A., the house engineer, Keith Olsen, played him a track which he had recorded in the studio, "Frozen Love", from the album Buckingham Nicks (1973). Fleetwood liked it, and was introduced to the guitarist from the band, Lindsey Buckingham, who coincidentally was at Sound City that day recording some demos. Fleetwood soon asked him to join. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his musical partner and girlfriend, Stephanie "Stevie" Nicks, also become part of the band; Fleetwood agreed. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year's Eve 1974 (within 4 weeks of the previous incarnation splitting).
In 1975, the new line-up released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit, reaching No.1 in the US and selling over 5 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" and "Landslide" (actually a hit twenty years later on The Dance album).
"Landslide" (Fleetwood Mac)
17 second sample from Fleetwood Mac's song "Landslide".
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Behind the scenes the band was fraying apart 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' long term romantic relationship. Even Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his wife, Jenny. The pressure put on Fleetwood Mac to release a successful follow-up album, combined with their new-found wealth, led to creative and personal tensions, fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol.
The 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 the spring of 1977, in which the band members laid bare the emotional turmoil they were experiencing at the time. Critically acclaimed, it was the recipient of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. The album generated multiple Top Ten singles, including Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way", Nicks' U.S. No.1 "Dreams" ( sample ), and Christine McVie's "Don't Stop" and "You Make Loving Fun". Buckingham's "Second Hand News", Nicks' "Gold Dust Woman" and "The Chain" (the only song written by all five bandmates) also received significant radio airplay. By 2003, Rumours had sold over 19 million copies in the U.S. alone (certified as a diamond album by the RIAA), and a total of 40 million copies worldwide, making it the second biggest selling album of all time. Fleetwood Mac supported the album with a lucrative tour.
Buckingham was able to convince Fleetwood to allow his work on their next album to be more experimental and to work on tracks at home, then bring them to the band in the studio. The result of this was the 20-track double album, Tusk, released in 1979. It spawned three hit singles; Lindsey Buckingham's "Tusk" (U.S. No. 8), which featured the USC Trojan Marching Band; Christine McVie's "Think About Me" (U.S. No. 20); and Stevie Nicks' 6½ minute opus "Sara" (U.S. No. 7). The last of those three was cut to 4½ minutes for both the hit single and the first CD-release of the album, but the unedited version has since been restored on the 1988 greatest hits compilation, the 2004 reissue of Tusk and Fleetwood Mac's 2002 release of The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac. Original guitarist Green also took part in the sessions of Tusk, but his playing for the Christine McVie track "Brown Eyes" is not credited on the album.
Tusk sold four million copies worldwide. Fleetwood blames the album's relative failure on the RKO radio chain playing the album in its entirety prior to release, thus allowing mass home taping.
The band embarked on an 11-month tour to support and promote Tusk. They travelled across the world, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In Germany they shared the bill with reggae superstar Bob Marley. It was on this world tour that the band recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album, which was released at the end of 1980.
The next album, 1982's Mirage, following 1981 solo albums by Nicks (Bella Donna), Fleetwood ("The Visitor") and Buckingham (Law and Order), was a return to the more conventional. Buckingham had been chided by critics, fellow band members and music business managers for the lesser commercial success enjoyed by Tusk. Recorded at Château d'Hérouville in France and produced by Richard Dashut, Mirage was an attempt to recapture the huge success of Rumours. Its hits included Christine McVie's "Hold Me" and "Love in Store" (each song being co-written by Robbie Patton and Jim Recor, respectively), Stevie Nicks' "Gypsy", and Lindsey Buckingham's "Oh Diane", which made the Top 10 in the UK. A minor hit was also scored by Buckingham's "Eyes Of The World" and "Can't Go Back".
In contrast to the Tusk Tour, the band only embarked on a short tour of 18 American cities, the Los Angeles show being recorded and released on video. They also headlined the first US Festival, on 5 September 1982, for which the band was paid $500,000 ($1,228,103 today). 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 and 1985's Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham issued Go Insane in 1984, the same year that Christine McVie made an eponymous 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 and it was Nicks who became the most popular. 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" (the former being co-written with McVie's new husband Eddy Quintela), Sandy Stewart and Stevie Nicks' "Seven Wonders", and Lindsey Buckingham's "Big Love". "Family Man" Richard Dashut, and "Isn't It Midnight", were also released as singles, with lesser success.
Departure of Buckingham and Nicks (1987–95)
Although a ten-week tour was scheduled, Buckingham backed out at the last minute. He tried to explain to his bandmates that he felt his creativity was being stifled by his remaining in the band. A group meeting at Christine McVie's house on 7 August 1987 resulted in much rancour and recrimination, as well as an alleged (in Mick Fleetwood's autobiography) physical altercation between Buckingham and Nicks. Buckingham left the band the following day. 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 No.43 in the US and No.66 in the UK. It did, however, reach No.1 on the US Adult Contemporary charts. The Greatest Hits album, which peaked at No.3 in the UK and No.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. 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 No.18 on the Billboard album chart, though it entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 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" 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 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 line-up 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" his campaign theme song. His subsequent request to perform it at the Inauguration Ball was met with enthusiasm by the band, however this line-up 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 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.
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 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 1997.
Reunion and Christine McVie's departure (1997–2007)
The regrouped Mac performed a live concert recorded on a Warner Bros. Burbank, California soundstage on 22 May, and from this performance came the 1997 live album The Dance, bringing Fleetwood Mac back 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. With the added ensemble of Neale Heywood on guitar, Brett Tuggle on keyboards, Lenny Castro on percussion, and Sharon Celani (she had toured with Fleetwood Mac in the late 1980s) and Mindy Stein on backing vocals, this would, however, be the final foray of the classic line-up with Christine McVie for 16 years. As of 2015, Brett Tuggle, Neale Heywood, and Sharon Celani still perform with Fleetwood Mac as touring musicians.
In 1998, Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Members inducted included the original band – Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan – and Rumours-era members Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, but not Bob Welch, despite his key role in keeping the band alive during the early 1970s. The Rumours-era version of the band performed both at the induction ceremony and at the Grammy Awards program that year. Peter Green attended the induction ceremony but did not perform with his former bandmates, opting instead to perform his composition "Black Magic Woman" with Santana, who were inducted the same night. Neither Jeremy Spencer nor Danny Kirwan attended. Fleetwood Mac 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 permanently to retire from touring (though not from the music business entirely as she created a new album, In the Meantime, 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 No.3 on the Billboard 200 chart (No. 6 in the UK) and yielded chart hits with "Peacekeeper" and the title track, and a successful world arena tour which lasted through 2004. The tour grossed $27,711,129 and was ranked No. 21 in the 'top 25 grossing tours of 2004'.
Around 2004–05, there were rumours of a reunion of the early line-up of Fleetwood Mac, involving Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. Whilst these two guitarists and vocalists apparently remained unconvinced of the merits of such a project, In April 2006, during a question-and-answer session on the Penguin Fleetwood Mac fan website, bassist John McVie said of the reunion idea:
If we could get Peter and Jeremy to do it, I'd probably, maybe, do it. I know Mick would do it in a flash. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much chance of Danny doing it. Bless his heart.
In interviews given in November 2006 to support his solo album Under the Skin, Buckingham stated that plans for the band to reunite once more for a 2008 tour were still on 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 Extended Play (2008–14)
On 14 March 2008, the Associated Press reported Sheryl Crow as saying 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". However, in a June 2008 interview, Nicks denied that Crow would be joining Fleetwood Mac as a replacement for Christine McVie. According to Nicks, "the group will start working on material and recording probably in October, and finish an album." On 7 October 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 would not be featured in the line-up. The tour was branded as a 'greatest hits' show entitled "Unleashed", although they played album tracks such as "Storms" and "I Know I'm Not Wrong". The first show was on 1 March 2009, and in February they announced a slew of new dates.
During their show on 20 June 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Stevie Nicks premiered part of a new song that she had written about Hurricane Katrina. The song was later released as "New Orleans" on Stevie Nicks' 2011 album "In Your Dreams" with Mick Fleetwood on drums.
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 (this format having been released in the US in 2002), premiering at number six on the UK Albums Chart.
On 1 November 2009, a new one-hour documentary, Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop, was broadcast in the UK on BBC One, which featured recent interviews with all four current band members. During the documentary, Nicks gave a candid summary of the current state of her relationship with Buckingham, stating "Maybe when we're 75 and Fleetwood Mac is a distant memory, we might be friends ...".
On 6 November 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, so 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" to McVie.
On 19 December 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, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Tickets, after pre-sales, sold out within twelve minutes of public release, and another date (Sunday 20 December), which also sold out, was added. The tour grossed $84,900,000 and was ranked No. 13 in the highest grossing worldwide tours of 2009.
On 3 May 2011, the Fox Network broadcast an episode of Glee entitled "Rumours" that featured six songs from the band's 1977 album. The show sparked renewed interest in the band and its most commercially successful album, and Rumours reentered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 11, the same week that Stevie Nicks' new solo album In Your Dreams debuted at No. 6. (Nicks was quoted by Billboard saying that her new album was "my own little Rumours." ) The two recordings sold about 30,000 and 52,000 units, respectively. Music downloads accounted for ninety-one percent of the Rumours sales. The spike in sales for Rumours represented an uptick of 1,951%. It was the highest chart entry by a previously issued album since The Rolling Stones's reissue of Exile On Main St. reentered the chart at No. 2 on 5 June 2010.
Original Fleetwood Mac bassist Bob Brunning died on 18 October 2011, at the age of 68. Former guitarist and singer Bob Weston was found dead on 3 January 2012, at the age of 64. Former singer and guitarist Bob Welch was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 7 June 2012, at the age of 66. A spokesman at the scene Don Aaron states "He died from an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest," Aaron said. "A suicide note was found in the residence" (Tennessean Music Team). The musician had been struggling with health issues and was dealing with depression. His wife was the one to discover the body.
The band's 2013 tour, which covered 34 cities, started on 4 April in Columbus, OH. The band performed two new songs ("Sad Angel" and "Without You"), which Buckingham described as some of the most 'Fleetwood Mac-y' sounding songs since Mirage, with the latter song re-recorded from the Buckingham Nicks era.
On 27 October, the band announced that John McVie had been diagnosed with cancer, and that they were cancelling their New Zealand and Australian performances in order for him to undergo treatment. They stated that "We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates. We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best."
According to an article in The Guardian on 22 November 2013, Christine McVie stated that she would like to return to Fleetwood Mac if they wanted her, and also affirmed that John McVie's prognosis was "really good."
Return of Christine McVie (2014–present)
On 11 January 2014, Mick Fleetwood announced that Christine McVie would be rejoining Fleetwood Mac, and the news was confirmed on 13 January by the band's primary publicist, Liz Rosenberg. Rosenberg also stated that an official announcement regarding a new album and tour would be forthcoming. In October 2014, Stevie Nicks appeared on an FX TV show called "American Horror Story: Coven" right after their 2014 tour ended. Stevie Nicks appeared in the show while Fleetwood Mac's song "Seven Wonders" was playing in the background.
On with the Show, a 33-city North American Tour opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 30 September 2014. A series of May–June 2015 arena dates in the United Kingdom went on sale on 14 November, selling out in minutes. Additional dates for the tour have continued to be added, extending into November.
In January 2015, Buckingham suggested that the new album and the new tour might be Fleetwood Mac's last act and that the band will cease to operate in 2015 or soon afterwards. He concluded: "We're going to continue working on the new album, and the solo stuff will take a back seat for a year or two. A beautiful way to wrap up this last act". On the other hand, Mick Fleetwood stated that the new album may take a few years to complete and that they are waiting for contributions from Stevie Nicks, who has been ambivalent about committing to a new record.
Despite this, in August 2016, Fleetwood revealed that while the band has a "a huge amount of recorded music", virtually none of it features Stevie Nicks. Buckingham and Christine McVie however, have contributed multiple songs to the new project. Fleetwood told Ultimate Classic Rock, "She (McVie)...wrote up a storm. She and Lindsey could probably have a mighty strong duet album if they want. In truth, I hope it will come to more than that. … There really are dozens of songs. And they’re really good... So we’ll see.”
Stevie Nicks explained her reluctance to record another album with Fleetwood Mac. "Is it possible that Fleetwood Mac might do another record? I can never tell you yes or no, because I don't know. I honestly don't know. … It's like, do you want to take a chance of going in and setting up in a room for like a year [to record an album] and having a bunch of arguing people? And then not wanting to go on tour because you just spent a year arguing?" She also emphasizes the point that people don't buy as many records as they used to.
Christine confirmed that seven tracks, almost all co-written by her and Buckingham, are nearly completed. The band will return to the studio in October 2016, and are hoping to release it in summer 2017, to coincide with their world tour and the band's 50th anniversary. McVie also mentioned the possibility of playing smaller shows without Nicks if the latter doesn't contribute to the new album.
The 1967–69 era Blue Horizon albums (Fleetwood Mac, Mr. Wonderful, The Pious Bird of Good Omen and Fleetwood Mac in Chicago) and 1971 outtakes album The Original Fleetwood Mac have been remastered and reissued on CD, as have the 1975–82 era Warner Brothers studio albums Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Tusk and Mirage.
In 2013, a deluxe edition of Rumours was released with more bonus tracks and Then Play On was remastered, which included four bonus tracks, and peaked at No. 112 in the UK. At the same time, remasters of "Then Play On," "Kiln House," "Future Games" and "Bare Trees" were released on vinyl, initially bundled with a 7" single of "Oh Well, Parts I & II", then released separately in 2014. In 2015, a 5CD/1DVD/2 LP deluxe edition, a 3CD expanded edition, plus a 1CD remaster of Tusk was released. In 2016, multiple editions of Mirage remastered were released.
- Kiln House tour – 1970
- Future Games tour – 1971
- Bare Trees tour – 1972
- Penguin tour – early 1973
- Mystery To Me tour – mid-1973
- Heroes Are Hard to Find tour – 1974
- Fleetwood Mac tour – 1975
- Rumours tour – 1977
- Tusk tour – 1979–80
- Mirage tour – 1982
- Shake the Cage tour – 1987–88
- Behind the Mask tour – 1990
- Another Link in the Chain tour – 1994–95
- The Dance – 1997
- Say You Will tour – 2003–04
- Unleashed tour – 2009
- 2013 World tour – 2013
- On With the Show tour – 2014–15
- Studio albums
- Fleetwood Mac (1968)
- Mr. Wonderful (1968)
- Then Play On (1969)
- Kiln House (1970)
- Future Games (1971)
- Bare Trees (1972)
- Penguin (1973)
- Mystery to Me (1973)
- Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974)
- Fleetwood Mac (1975)
- Rumours (1977)
- Tusk (1979)
- Mirage (1982)
- Tango in the Night (1987)
- Behind the Mask (1990)
- Time (1995)
- Say You Will (2003)
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