Fleetwood Mac are a British rock band formed in 1967 which have experienced a high turnover of personnel and varied levels of success. From the band's inception through to the end of 1974, no incarnation of Fleetwood Mac lasted as long as two years.
The only member present in the band from the very beginning is its namesake drummer Mick Fleetwood. Despite band founder Peter Green naming the group combining his two former bandmates' surnames (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-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, 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 was formed in 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 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, 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 hugely 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.
Shortly after the release of their second album Fleetwood Mac added guitarist Danny Kirwan to their line-up at the tender age of 18. Green had been frustrated that Jeremy Spencer had little desire to contribute to Green's songs. Kirwan brought a harmony-rich sound that was indicative of his range of influence. 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 its first number one single in Europe, "Albatross". Around this time the band released its second American album, English Rose, which contained half of Mr. Wonderful, new songs from Kirwan, and its 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 decided to go with Warner Bros. Records, the label they have stayed with ever since. Their first album for Warner, 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 (he was backed by the rest of the band) which consisted of many 1950s-style rock and roll songs.
In July 1969 Fleetwood Mac was the headliner of the Schaefer Music Festival in New York City's Central Park, along with The Byrds, Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, B. B. King, The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and Patti LaBelle. They re-appeared at the festival in 1970.
Fleetwood Mac was arguably the most popular band in Europe at the time. However, Peter Green, the frontman of the band, was not in good health. He had unwittingly taken LSD in Munich, which 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 Peter 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 the 'Green God' 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). Green's mental stability deteriorated, and he wanted to give all of the band's money to charity. Some 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. Mick Fleetwood kept drumming.
Transitional era (1970?1975)
Danny and Jeremy were left with the task of having to fill up Peter's space in their shows and on their recordings. In September 1970, Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House. Danny's songs moved the band in the direction of 70s rock. Meanwhile, Jeremy'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 the band was progressing and developing a new sound, Christine 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 only been reissued once, on a Reprise German-only "Best of" album, making it one of their most obscure songs.
1973 lineup with Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Bob Weston, John McVie, and Bob Welch.
Christine Perfect was married to bassist John McVie, and 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 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 August 6, 1970 in New Orleans. Columbia 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 seemed to be gaining popularity again.
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 would collaborate again to form the Peter Green Splinter Group). The band replaced Jeremy?s portion of the set with 90 minute instrumental improvisations of "Black Magic Woman". 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. This album was radically different from anything the band had done up to that point. 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. Bare Trees featured Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady", which would be a much bigger hit for him five years later when he re-recorded it for his album French Kiss, backed with Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham, for a solo album. It also featured "Spare Me a Little of Your Love", a bright Christine McVie tune that would become 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 wasn't until he smashed his Les Paul Custom guitar, refused to go on stage one night, and criticised the band afterwards that Fleetwood finally decided 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 would release in this period, they would constantly change line-ups. In September 1972, the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker, formerly of Savoy Brown. 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 the song "Hypnotized" which got a lot of airplay on the radio and became one of the band's most recognisable songs to date. The band were justifiably proud of the new album and were poised to make it 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.
In what would be one of the more bizarre events in rock history, the band's manager, Clifford Davis, claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac and put out a "fake Mac". Nobody in the "fake Mac" was ever officially in the real band, although some of them later acted as Danny Kirwan's studio band. 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. Fleetwood Mac's road manager, John Courage, worked one show before he realised that the line being used was a lie. Courage ended up hiding the real Fleetwood Mac's equipment, which helped shorten the tour by the fake band. But the lawsuit that followed put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for almost a year. The issue was who actually owned the name "Fleetwood Mac". While it would seem obvious that the band was named after Fleetwood and McVie, they had signed contracts that showed the band forfeited the rights to the name.
During this period, Welch stayed in Los Angeles and connected with entertainment attorneys. Welch quickly realised that the band was unknown to Warner Bros., and that if they wanted to change that, they would have to change their base of operation to Los Angeles. 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. 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.
The fake Mac consisted of Elmer Gantry (vocals, guitar), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Paul Martinez (bass), John Wilkinson (keyboards) and Craig Collinge (drums). Gantry and Gregory went on to become members of Stretch, Gantry would later join the Alan Parsons Project and Martinez would eventually become a bassist for Robert Plant's solo efforts.
After Warner Bros. made a record deal with the real Fleetwood Mac, the quartet released Heroes Are Hard to Find in September 1974. For the first time in its history, the band only had one guitarist. On the road, they added a second keyboardist. The first was Bobby Hunt, who had been in the band Head West with Bob Welch back in 1970. The second was Doug Graves, who was an engineer on Heroes Are Hard to Find. Neither lasted too long.
This tour proved to be the last one for Bob Welch. The constant touring had taken its toll on him. He felt that he had hit the end of his creative road with the band. While his tenure wasn't a commercial success, Bob Welch provided musical and professional direction to the group, helped the band through three major crises, and left it in a situation where it had a record contract, a direct line to the record company, connections to industry insiders, no pressure from the record company, and a management situation that would help foster creativity. Thus, many feel that Bob Welch had laid the foundations for Fleetwood Mac's future. Moreover, this last 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?1987)
After Welch announced that he was leaving the band, Fleetwood began searching for a possible replacement. While Fleetwood was scouting Van Nuys, California, the house engineer for California's Sound City Studios, Keith Olsen, played him a track titled "Frozen Love" (from Buckingham Nicks, Polydor PD 5058, September 1973), which he had mixed there for an American band, Buckingham Nicks. 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 to this.
In 1975, the new line-up released the self-titled Fleetwood Mac,. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit (reaching #1 in the US). 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) (·)).
But 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. Pressure was put on Fleetwood Mac to release a successful follow-up album, which, when combined with its new-found wealth, led to creative and personal tensions, fuelled by large amounts of drug and alcohol consumption.
The album the band members released in 1977 was Rumours, in which the band members laid bare the emotional turmoil experienced at that time. Critically acclaimed, it was the recipient of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. Hit singles included Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way", Nicks' U.S. #1 "Dreams" ( ), 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, maintaining its status as one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.
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. His expanded creative role for the next album was influenced by an appreciation for New Wave music, specifically Gary Numan.
The result of this was the quirky double album, Tusk, released in 1979. It spawned three hit singles; Lindsey Buckingham's "Tusk" (U.S. #8), which featured the USC Trojan Marching Band; Christine McVie's "Think About Me" (U.S. #20); and Stevie Nicks' seven minute opus "Sara" (U.S. #7). The last of those three was cut to 4? 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 and the 2004 reissue of Tusk as well as 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 remains one of Fleetwood Mac's most ambitious albums to date, although selling four million copies worldwide. This, in comparison to the huge sales of Rumours, inclined the label to deem the project a failure, laying the blame squarely with Buckingham himself. Fleetwood, however, blames the album's relative failure on account of a major U.S. radio station playing all 20 tracks in their entirety prior to release thus allowing for home taping. Additionally, Tusk was a double album, which increased its retail price tag in stores compared to that of a single album.
The band embarked on a huge 18-month tour to support and promote Tusk. They traveled extensively 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 turns by Nicks (Bella Donna) and Buckingham (Law and Order), was a return to the more conventional. Buckingham had been chided by critics, fellow bandmembers and music business managers for the lesser commercial success enjoyed by Tusk. Recorded at a ch?teau in France, 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".
Unlike 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. It also headlined the first US Festival, for which the band was paid $500,000. 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 a self-titled 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 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, like 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" 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)
1987-91 lineup of Fleetwood Mac.
Following Buckingham's departure, Fleetwood Mac added two new guitarists to the band, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Billy was mainly added for his singing and songwriting skills and Rick 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. 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" 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 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" 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 October 10, 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.
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 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 May 22, which resulted in the 1997 live album The Dance, 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.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on the Say You Will Tour, 2003
In 1998, Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) was 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 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 lasted through 2004.
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 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 is unwilling to carry on with the band unless Christine McVie returns. However in a 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."
New tour and future projects (2008?2009)
On 14 March 2008, the Associated Press reported that Sheryl Crow said that she will 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 9 June 2008, The New York Times reported that Irving Azoff is 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" and "I Know I'm Not Wrong". The first show was on 1 March 2009, and in February they opened a slew of new dates. The tour coincides with a new CD/DVD box set of "Rumours" which contains previously unreleased tracks and footage. The box set will be released sometime in 2009.
According to Billboard, 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 from having to go in and make something cold".
During their June 20, 2009 show 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/November, the band will tour Europe. In early August Australian and New Zealand ticket agencies advised of upcoming 2009 concerts for the region.
The 1967-69 Blue Horizon albums Fleetwood Mac, Mr. Wonderful, The Pious Bird of Good Omen, Fleetwood Mac in Chicago 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, Rumours, and Tusk. Mirage and Tango in the Night are still awaiting the remaster treatment as are Kiln House, the Bob Welch era albums and every release from 1980's Fleetwood Mac Live onwards.
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 - 2005
Unleashed Tour - 2009