10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lindsey Buckingham
From his classic hits with Fleetwood Mac to his acclaimed solo albums, Lindsey Buckingham is one of rock's most enduring icons. In addition to his brilliant songwriting, Buckingham's furious bluegrass-style finger-picking on songs like 'Big Love' and 'I'm So Afraid' have earned him a place in the pantheon of guitar gods. About to release his sixth solo album, 'Seeds We Sow,' Buckingham is finally starting to get recognition for his work outside of the Mac. In honor of his new album, we're taking a look at 10 Things You Didn't Know About Lindsey Buckingham:
Like his musical idols the Kingston Trio, Lindsey opts for traditional finger picking over regular guitar pick-ery. (Lindsey covered the Kingston Trio's 'All My Sorrows' on his 1992 album 'Out of the Cradle.') In 1979, guitar maker Rick Turner designed a special Model 1 guitar for Lindsey, which he still plays today. A far cry from the Mickey Mouse guitar Lindsey played 'Heartbreak Hotel' on as a child. (Check out the video on the left of Lindsey absolutely killing it on the amazing solo on 'I'm So Afraid' from 1982's 'Mirage' tour.)
The personal and creative partnership between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham began at Menlo-Atherton High School where the duo met and formed the folk band Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band with friends. Fritz, as they came to be known, played school functions and gigs around the San Francisco Bay Area. Lindsey and Stevie would eventually branch off and record an album as Buckingham Nicks before joining Fleetwood Mac in 1974.
As a young man growing up in the town of Atherton, Calif., Lindsey participated in competitive swimming events with his older brothers Greg and Jeff. While Lindsey ultimately came up for air to focus on his music career, Greg stuck with swimming and scored a silver medal at the 1968 Olympic Games. (Lindsey addressed the passing of Greg and his father Morris on his melancholy 1992 solo album 'Out of the Cradle.') Lindsey can thank swimming for giving him the lung capacity to hit the high notes on 'Go Your Own Way.'
Featuring a mix of folk and rockabilly that would hint to their future work with the Mac, 1973's 'Buckingham Nicks,' Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's sole album as a duo, is one of the most sought-after bootlegs in classic rock. (Fans can't get enough of the nude cover photo of the young couple.) While a handful of tracks have surfaced on compilations ('Crystal' appears on the 'Practical Magic' soundtrack), the album has never been officially released on CD. (Rare Buckingham Nicks concerts from the time are also frequently traded on torrent sites.) In recent years Lindsey has discussed the possibility of a reissue (and a possible tour with Stevie performing Buckingham Nicks material), so fans may finally get their hands on this little-heard gem.
In 1974, Mick Fleetwood asked Lindsey to join Fleetwood Mac after hearing the Buckingham Nicks song 'Frozen Love.' But Lindsey wouldn't go without his bewitching blonde partner, insisting that they were a package deal. Fleetwood agreed, and Buckingham and Nicks released their first album with the band, the eponymous 'Fleetwood Mac,' in 1975.
Fleetwood Mac followed up their classic album 'Rumors' with the double album 'Tusk,' a divisive work that alienated mainstream radio and ran way over budget. (At over a million dollars in production costs, it was one of the costliest albums in music history.) While also showcasing the songwriting of Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, 'Tusk' is Lindsey's nod to the influence of punk rock artists like the Sex Pistols and the Clash on his work and a response to the colossal mainstream success of 'Rumors.' Hinting to his future solo work, Lindsey assembled tracks on his own in a home studio and recorded vocals in the bathroom. And what's more punk rock than that?
Lindsey boosted the profile of one of his inspirations, the Kingston Trio member John Stewart, when he co-produced and performed on Stewart's 1979 album 'Bombs Away Dream Babies.' Lindsey contributed vocals and his usual distinctive guitar work, while Stevie Nicks dueted with Stewart on the AM radio staples 'Gold' and 'Midnight Wind.' Much like the late '70s Bob Welch records that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie appeared on, 'Bombs Away Dream Babies' is something of a lost Fleetwood Mac album. The shimmery California folk rock sound that bubbles throughout Stewart's comeback album is pure Lindsey.
One of Lindsey's most beloved solo hits is 'Holiday Road,' the theme song to 'National Lampoon's Vacation.' (It's also his only song to feature a barking dog as back-up.) But 'Holiday Road' isn't Lindsey's only contribution to an iconic '80s movie-- he also performed the song 'Time Bomb Town' on the 'Back to the Future' soundtrack. (Check out the bizarre, '1984'-esque video for 'Holiday Road,' which features Lindsey trapped in a slick corporate nightmare with nary a Griswold in sight.)
After scoring a solo hit in 1981 with 'Trouble' off the album 'Law and Order,' Lindsey released 'Go Insane' in 1984. (The title song hit No. 23 on the Billboard Charts.) The album's lyrics dealt with his break-up from longtime girlfriend Carol Ann Harris, who Lindsey met during the mixing of 'Rumors.' (Harris penned a controversial tell-all about their relationship and Fleetwood Mac's sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll days in 2009.) Was dedicating 'Go Insane' to Harris Lindsey's way of commenting on the relationship?
Recently Lindsey turned up in an unexpected place -- as a character on 'Saturday Night Live.' As portrayed by Bill Hader, Lindsey is a regular guest on the fake BET talk show 'What Up With That?.' Unfortunately, host Deandre Cole's penchant for constantly breaking into the show's theme song means that there's never any time for Lindsey to talk. The wacky sketch got even more surreal when Lindsey himself appeared on 'SNL' last season, meeting his doppelganger face-to-face and rocking a tight 'Big Love' guitar solo. Sadly, Deandre cut the real Lindsey off before he could explain the reason for the double Lindseys. Temporal anomaly, perhaps? Cloning? And will the two Lindsey Buckinghams tour? We'd kill to see Double Lindsay perform 'What Makes You Think You're The One.'