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Fleetwood Mac: The Fleetwood Mac story is an episodic saga that spans more than 30 years. It is the saga of a British blues band formed in 1967 that became a California-based pop group in the mid-Seventies. In between came a period where Fleetwood Mac shuffled personnel and experimented with styles, all the while releasing solid albums that found a loyal core audience. Despite all the changes, two members have remained constant over the years: drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, whose surnames provided the group name Fleetwood Mac. Though most rock fans are familiar with the lineup that includes Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks-by far the longest-running edition of the band, responsible for the classic albums Fleetwood Mac and Rumours-the group possesses a rich and storied history that predates those epics. Earlier Fleetwood Mac lineups included guitarists Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch. Fleetwood Mac when Green, Fleetwood and McVie, who were all expatriates from British bandleader John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, decided to form a band. McVie and Fleetwood had been playing with Mayall, a British blues legend, since 1963 and 1965, respectively, while Green replaced Eric Clapton (who exited to form Cream) in 1966. Initially a quartet, the original Fleetwood Mac also included guitarist Jeremy Spencer and then expanded with the addition of Danny Kirwan prior to their second album. Not surprisingly, the group’s first two U.K. albums-Fleetwood Mac (1967) and Mr. Wonderful (1967)-were heavily blues-oriented. “Black Magic Woman,” a Peter Green song from the latter album, later became a major hit for Santana. In 1969, Fleetwood Mac recorded at Chess studios with American blues musicians, including Willie Dixon and Otis Span; it was released as the two-volume Blues Jam in the U.K. and as Fleetwood Mac in Chicago in the U.S. By decade’s end, however, Fleetwood Mac had begun moving from traditional blues to a more progressive approach. Around this time, the group adopted its distinctive “penguin” logo, based on zoo-lover and amateur photographer McVie’s interest in the birds. There are arguably three “definitive” Fleetwood Mac lineups. One of them is the blues-oriented band of the late Sixties, which arrayed three guitarists (Green, Spencer and Kirwan) around the rhythm section of Fleetwood and McVie. They are best represented by 1969’s Then Play On, a milestone in progressive blues-rock. After Green’s exodus in mid-1970, the remaining members cut the more easygoing, rock and roll-oriented Kiln House. Early in 1971, a born-again Spencer abruptly left the band during a U.S. tour to join the Children of God. The second key configuration found Fleetwood, McVie and Kirwan joined by keyboardist Christine McVie (born Christine Perfect, she’d married bassist McVie) and guitarist Bob Welch, a Southern Californian who became the group’s first American member and a harbinger of new directions. This configuration produced a pair of ethereal pop masterpieces, Future Games (1971) and Bare Trees (1972). Kirwan, who was having personal problems, was asked to leave in August 1972. The remaining foursome, joined by new recruits Dave Walker (vocals) and Bob Weston, recorded Penguin (1973); sans Walker, they cut Mystery to Me (1974). Again reduced to a quartet with Weston’s departure, they released Heroes Are Hard to Find later that same year. Finally, the platinum edition of Fleetwood Mac came together in 1975 with the recruitment of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Read More Here...
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