Welcome Back, Fleetwood Mac!
Hard to Believe
In the history of the music industry, a lot of bands have come and gone. Some have made an overnight splash and faded away, leaving only the faintest echo for posterity. Many have had a good long run. Very few can claim a forty-year span, often interrupted but never quite gone from the scene. Score one for Fleetwood Mac, back for yet another (possibly) tumultuous tour of the U.S. With the four original members together again, this enduringly popular and charismatic band is back to remind fans of just why they have never been forgotten.
Going Back a While
The story behind the amazing Fleetwood Mac goes back to 1967 in the U.K., when three members of another band called Bluesbreakers broke off to form their own band. The three were Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, and the band was simply called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, to cover all the bases, so to speak. They released a single album by the same name, and their sound was still very much “Blues” – this was the era of the “British blues boom”. The album did well in England but got little attention in the U.S. The first song to spark the American interest was “Black Magic Woman”, on their third album.
The changes in Fleetwood Mac’s “personnel” will make your head spin, but in the beginning . . . Peter Green left, and Christine Perfect McVie (then John’s wife), came on board as keyboardist by 1969. From then until 1975, two new members were added: Stevie Nicks as vocalist and Lindsey Buckingham on guitar. Five albums were released, and the five members became familiar to fans as the Fleetwood Mac band, and Stevie Nicks’ remarkable voice and style became a “signature sound” for the group.
Changes in Attitudes
Success and fortune did what they often do – caused internal strife among band members and some excessive use of alcohol and various other drugs, notably cocaine. However, the ‘backbone’ of the group somehow stuck with it and kept on recording. Though Stevie Nicks went off to do a solo gig on her own, and other contributing members “flamed out” either temporarily or finally, the music kept on and the fans kept asking for more. While still with the band, Stevie Nicks had a hit single with “Rhiannon” from the album “Fleetwood Mac”.
The album “Rumours” was Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hit to that time, and won the 1977 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Then they came out with “Tango in the Night”, containing four hit singles, and bringing more public and critical acclaim. The storms and dissention among various band members did not prevent them from putting the sound down, though with different artists joining and then leaving, that sound ultimately went through changes. According to most of their fans, it was all good.
The band put together and headlined its own road tour during this time, and performed with other headliners such as REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar. They were still playing to sell-out crowds on their tour, and their fans were not disappointed. The request from Bill Clinton to perform “Don’t Stop” (his campaign theme song) at his Inaugural Ball in 1993 got the old group together, but they fell apart again for several more years.
After that appearance, things became chaotic again, but the band continued to perform. They had their own successful road tour, and they opened for other artists such as Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon, and their public never quite lost sight of them. Fleetwood Mac as a band kept splitting up and reforming, and it was not until 2004 that they came together again with the release of “Say You Will”, their 15th album.
They’re Ready. They’re Set. Let’s Go!
After all these years, and five years after their last major appearance on the musical scene, Fleetwood Mac is with us again, on tour in the U.S. With the timed release of a new CD/DVD titled “Unleashed”, the band begins an “Unleashed” series of performances starting on March 1st at Pittsburg’s Mellon Arena. From there fans can follow their procession from city to city, and tickets are selling out. The energy, the enthusiasm and the sound of the “core four” – Fleetwood, McVie, Nicks and Buckingham, is sure to sweep the audience along and make tickets to Fleetwood Mac on stage a thrilling and unforgettable experience for all.