Blues, marriages, the most expensive album of all time, and 120 million albums sold!
Originally a British Blues band also known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, the band released their debut and follow-up in 1968.
These two albums consisted of original and blues covers such as Dust My Broom and Shake Your Moneymaker by Elmore James.
What’s so interesting about these early years is how none of the albums had any of the hits on them, instead, these were released as singles starting out with Black Magic Woman (later made famous by Santana), Need Your Love So Bad, and Albatross, all in 1968.
Albatross was an instrumental and the band’s only #1 in the U.K. which is quite remarkable considering what the band did in the 70s!
By the second album, Christine Perfect had joined as a session player on keyboards. She would marry the bass player and become A McVie, but it would take a few more albums before she became a fully-fledged band member.
Before the next album, another single, Man of the World was released. This would be the only release on the label Immediate Records.
The third album, Then Play On, at first didn’t have Oh, Well on it but after it had independently become a hit, it was added to the American pressing and subsequent rereleases.
Oh, Well was a big hit, reaching the top 10 in 10 territories. The single had two different versions of the song released on its A and B side.
In late 1969, the band travelled to Chicago and met up with a bunch of Blues legends (Buddy Guy, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, etc) to record an album called Blues Jam At Chess.
Here we again find originals and covers of blues tunes. The band’s love for Elmore James is clear as several of his compositions feature on this double album.
On Fleetwood Mac’s fourth studio album, Kiln House (1970) Peter Green departed and soon after the album’s completion, Christine was a full-time member.
The style was now less blues and more folk rock. The tunes were also now almost completely original material written by the different band members.
The fifth album Future Games arrived in 1971 and featured a new member, guitarist Bob Welch who contributed several tunes. No hit singles appear on this album, or as we’ve seen previously, released as independent singles.
The next four albums, Bare Trees, Penguin, Mystery To Me, and Heroes Are Hard to Find saw the band go through a transitional phase where band members would leave and no hits arrive.
Three members were left, Mick Fleetwood (drums) John (bass), and Christine McVie (keys).
Lindsey and Stevie join
As Mick is looking for studios in L.A., he hears Lindsey Buckingham and asks him to join the band as a singer and guitarist. Lindsey agrees on the condition that his partner, Stevie Nicks can join him, they’d been together since high school, performing as a folk duo, had already released an album, and were in a relationship.
The debut for this new lineup was Fleetwood Mac’s 10th studio album. Released in 1975 as a self-titled album (the second time the band did this, the debut was also called Fleetwood Mac) it did have chart success.
Reaching the #1 spot over a year after its release as an album, three singles charted in the top 20, Rhiannon (Stevie Nicks), Over My Head and Say You Love Me (Christine McVie), relaunched the band to the world as a folk rock outfit with new singers. The album sold seven million copies.
After such a huge success in comparison to their previous years, they set out to work on their masterpiece, the 1977 classic Rumours.
It’s been well documented how the marriages between all band members fell apart during this time, especially as it’s reflected in the lyrics.
Classics such as Go Your Own Way, Second Hand News, Dreams, The Chain, Don’t Stop, and Gold Dust Woman all featured in Rumours and enabled this album to sell 40 million copies worldwide.
The success kept the band together even though all band members’ marriages were now over and drug use was rife.
Their next album Tusk (1979) is a self-indulgent, costly flop with the title track, Tusk, demonstrating this best with its lavish production. At $1.4 million, it is still the most expensive rock album ever made. Most of these costs were racked up through recording in various studios the world over.
Tusk was followed by a live album and another studio album that didn’t do well, Mirage (1982).
It must have been a relief then when Tango In The Night (1987) finally came with some success from the singles Little Lies and Everywhere, both written by Christine McVie.
Next, the band released a Greatest Hits album, departed from Lindsey, and released Behind The Mask (1990), and Time (1995).
These last two albums had no hits so in 1997 they got the old gang together for another live album called The Dance.
This led Christine McVie to leave the band before they released their final studio album, Say You Will (2003).
Since then we’ve had another live album (2004) and an EP in 2013.
In 2018, Lindsey Buckingham was fired from the lineup, and the band recruited Mike Campbell from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers for a world tour. He is joined by Crowded House’s Neil Finn.
According to Wikipedia, Mike and Neil are in the current lineup of Fleetwood Mac, a band that started in 1968 and is still going, with 13 members departing over half a century and 120 million albums sold.
Fleetwood Mac tunes | Related pages
You can learn how to play Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| E B | E B |
Can you hear me calling, out your name…
Go Your Own Way
You can learn how to play Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac, chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| F (Fsus2) | F (Fsus2) | F (Fsus2) | C (C6) |
Loving you, isn’t the right thing to do…
Need Your Love So Bad
You can learn how to play Need Your Love So Bad by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac using chords, lyrics, and a Spytunes video guitar lesson.
| A | A | A7 | A7 |
Need someone’s hand, to lead me through the night…