This week’s JACK FM Artist Spotlight is Fleetwood Mac. Listen to JACK FM all this week for your chance to win tickets to see Stevie Nicks at Mystic Lake Amphitheater August 24th!
Fleetwood Mac is a British/American rock band formed in 1967, which has experienced a high turnover of personnel and varied levels of success. From the band’s inception through the end of 1974, no incarnation of Fleetwood Mac lasted as long as two years, but all featured core members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
The only member present in the band from the very beginning is its namesake drummer Mick Fleetwood. Bassist John McVie, despite his giving part of his name to the band, 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.
The band was started in London in 1967 by guitarist Peter Green, who recruited the rhythm section of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers: drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass guitarist John McVie. Green himself had replaced a departing member, Eric Clapton, as the lead guitarist of the “Bluesbreakers”; Green and McVie had appeared on John Mayall’s 1967 A Hard Road album. The band employed another bassist, Bob Brunning, until John McVie was persuaded to join the band. Slide-guitarist and Elmore James devotee, Jeremy Spencer, rounded out the lineup.
The early 1970s of Fleetwood Mac were turbulent for the band, which gained and lost members at a troubling rate. American guitarist Bob Welch joined up lending a jazz-rock flavor to Kirwan’s more melodic songs. Kirwan’s and Welch’s tenures overlapped by two albums but Kirwan’s own erratic behavior on tour led to his dismissal in late 1972. Welch’s contributions included “Future Games” (from 1971’s Future Games), “Sentimental Lady” (from 1972’s Bare Trees), and “Hypnotized” (from 1973’s Mystery to Me).
In late 1974, Welch indicated that he intended to leave the band, and Fleetwood and John McVie needed to fill the possible vacancy. While Fleetwood was scouting Van Nuys, California’s Sound City Studios, house engineer Keith Olsen played a track titled “Frozen Love” which he had mixed there for an obscure American duo, Buckingham Nicks. Fleetwood liked what he heard, and he was introduced to the guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, who just happened to be in the building. When Welch resigned from the band, Fleetwood asked Buckingham to join. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his musical partner and girlfriend, Stevie Nicks, also become part of the band.
The album the band members created was Rumours in 1977, in which the band lays bare the emotional turmoil experienced at that time. It became the best- selling album of the year, and it sold over 19 million copies, worldwide, by 1998. The RIAA certified Rumours as a diamond album. In 1997, the “classic” Rumours line-up reunited for an MTV reunion special called The Dance. The live album sold over 5 million copies in the United States and spawned a 40-city tour. Following The Dance, Christine McVie retired from the band permanently, and the remaining four (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood) produced a new album released in 2003 called Say You Will.