Fleetwood Mac Inducted Into Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame
Fleetwood Mac started like so many other British bands did in the ’60s: as a blues group paying tribute to the legendary American bluesmen who, for the most part, were neglected in their homeland. Fronted by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie — the band’s only constant members through its 45-year existence — Fleetwood Mac went through a ton of members without really selling too many records.
Then in 1975, two California singer-songwriters — Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks — joined the group, and rock history, as well as the band’s fortunes, changed. Fleetwood and McVie even saw the arrival of the Americans as a new start. Their first album with Buckingham and Nicks, but 10th overall, was titled ‘Fleetwood Mac,’ reflecting the band’s rebirth.
The pair gave Fleetwood Mac new life. The L.A. pop the duo brought to the group was eye-opening and glorious. The record’s track listing reads like the band’s greatest hits up to the point: ‘Monday Morning,’ ‘Rhiannon,’ ‘Over My Head,’ ‘Say You Love Me,’ ‘Landslide,’ ‘I’m So Afraid.’ Previously, the highest any of their albums reached was No. 34. ‘Fleetwood Mac’ shot into the Top 10 and raced all the way to No. 1, where it stayed for one week, eventually selling more than five million copies.
But that was peanuts compared to their next album, 1977’s blockbuster ‘Rumours,’ still one of the best, and bestselling, records ever made. Fueled by a pair of broken relationships in the band — Buckingham and Nicks split up, and McVie and his wife, singer Christine McVie, were divorced — ‘Rumours’ plays out like a 40-minute case of he-said-she-said, with some of the era’s greatest songs (‘Dreams,’ ‘Go Your Own Way,’ ‘The Chain’) backing it up.
Over the next decade or so, Fleetwood Mac dominated rock radio. The million-dollar ‘Tusk,’ which peaked at No. 4, was considered a bust, but it may be the most adventurous mainstream rock album of the era. ‘Mirage,’ from 1982, also hit No. 1. But by then, Buckingham and Nicks were launching solo careers. ‘Tango in the Night,’ from 1987, would be Buckingham’s last album with the classic lineup.
Since then, Fleetwood Mac have made some records with new members, reunited with the old hit-makers and even recently released an EP featuring Buckingham and Nicks. At their best, they pushed the dynamics of band relationship to exciting new levels through their art. That they managed to become global superstars in the process, while completely turning around a cult British blues group, is a major achievement.