The History of Fleetwood Mac looks at the history of one of the most successful rock bands in history. The British and American band was formed in 1967. Fleetwood Mac is one of the best-selling bands in music history. They cemented their success by getting a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There aren’t too many bands that can say they have accomplished that. Fleetwood Mac was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have been nominated for numerous awards throughout their illustrious career. Two of their albums were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Their second eponymous album and Rumours were inducted into the Hall of Fame. If you are even a little familiar with the band, then you know that their history would make a great dramatic movie. The band has dealt with ups and downs, breakups, feuds, and lineup changes you name it. You will find out quite a bit about the band like you have never known before. If you are a big fan of the band, you can take a stroll down memory lane with us as we talk about the History of Fleetwood Mac. If you don’t know much about them, you can learn some interesting things about the legendary band.
Fleetwood Mac Was Formed, Debut Album & Mr. Wonderful LP
Fleetwood Mac was formed in London in 1967. Peter Green got his start when he was in the band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. He left the band to form his own band. He had worked with Mick Fleetwood in two previous bands so it made sense for them to work together again. They wanted to work with musician John McVie, but he didn’t want to leave a steady job to take the chance of working in a new band. Musicians Jeremy Spencer and Bob Brunning joined the band. Bob Brunning was a temporary member until John McVie joined the band. The band got its name by combining Mick Fleetwood’s name with John McVie. The band was hoping to convince John McVie to join the band. One thing led to another, and he joined the band. They signed with the label Blue Horizon just before the release of their debut album.
The band released their first eponymous album in February 1968. The album was successful in the UK. It made the band a household name in the UK. The album peaked at number four on the UK charts. The album was on the charts for 37 weeks. It was amazing that the album managed to be successful because they didn’t have any hit singles from it. The album didn’t make much of an impact in the United States. The album peaked at number 198 on the Billboard 200 charts. It sold over 150,000 copies in the United States. The album sold over one million copies in the UK.
Fleetwood Mac added to their lineup. Christine Perfect joined the band just before the release of their follow-up album Mr. Wonderful. She was a session musician and background vocalist. While she was a session musician, she and John McVie fell in love and got married. The album was a blues album. The album wasn’t a commercial success. The critics weren’t too kind to the band when this album was released. After the release of Mr. Wonderful, musician Danny Kirwan joined the band.
Trouble was starting to brew in the band early. Peter Green felt Jeremy Spencer wasn’t pulling his weight on his songs. He felt Danny Kriwan did a better job. He brought something to the band that Jeremy Spencer didn’t. Peter Green credited the band’s first number one hit in Europe to Danny Kirwan. He said that Danny Kirwan was the reason why they had a number one record. “Albatross” was released in November 1968. The song peaked at number one on the UK singles’ charts. The song sold over 400,000 copies in the UK. The song appears on the compilation albums English Rose (December 1968) and The Pious Bird of Good Omen (August 1969).
Fleetwood Mac in Chicago, Then Play On, Peter Green’s Departure & Christine McVie Joins
Fleetwood Mac completed a tour and began working on their next album. They released Fleetwood Mac in Chicago in December 1969. This is the last album the group recorded for Blue Horizon. The band didn’t want to be pigeonholed into recording blues music. They wanted to broaden their horizons. They signed with Immediate Records. They released the single “Man of the World” which was a hit single in the UK. They didn’t stay with Immediate Records long. They signed with Warner Bros Records where they have remained throughout their career.
In September 1969, Then Play On was released. Fleetwood Mac changed their style for this album. This is a rock album. The album peaked at number six on the UK album charts and number 109 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Rattle Snake Shake” and “Oh Well.” “Oh Well” was a hit in the UK and the US. “Oh Well” was their first hit in the US. While they were promoting They Play On, Jeremy Spencer released his solo eponymous album. The album was released in January 1970. Everyone from the band appeared on the album except Peter Green.
The band dealt with some more drama. Peter Green had become addicted to LSD. During one of their tours, he had a bad reaction from his drug use. Clifford Davis, the band’s manager, thought this was the moment when Peter Green’s mental issues began. Clifford Davis talked about Peter Green’s decision to go to a party that had a lot of drugs. He advised him not to go to the party, but he went anyway. Peter Green took bad drugs and was never the same again. Despite his issues, the band carried on with their music. They recorded the single “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)” in April 1970. Fleetwood Mac recorded this single a month before Peter Green left the band.
Peter Green’s mentality was beginning to deteriorate even more. He wanted the money they made from “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)” to be donated to charity. The rest of the band wasn’t on the same page as him. Peter Green left the band after they completed their European tour. His last performance with the band was in May 1970. They had to look for a new member to replace Peter Green while they were working on their next album. The group asked Christine McVie to become a member of the band in 1970.
Kiln House, Jeremy Spencer’s Departure, Bob Welch Joins, Future Games & Bare Trees
In September 1970, they released Kiln House. The album gravitated towards rock music. Christine McVie was responsible for the album cover. The album peaked at number 69 on the Billboard 200 charts. While the band was on tour, Jeremy Spencer went missing and didn’t return. The band searched for him for days. They found out that Jeremy Spencer joined a religious group called The Children of God. The band were legally obligated to finish their tour so they asked Peter Green to come back to the band. Peter Green helped them finish out their obligations and left the band again.
A friend of the band recommended musician Bob Welch to join. They released their next album Future Games in September 1971. This is the first album they recorded that didn’t make the UK charts, but it helped them gain more success in the US. It peaked at number 91 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album sold over 500,000 copies. In March 1972, Bare Trees was released. The album peaked at number 70 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the single “Sentimental Lady.” The album went platinum.
Danny Kirwan departs, Penguin, Mystery to Me Drama Brewing in the Band & Heroes Are Hard to Find
While the band was doing well in the studio, their tours were causing drama. In 1972, Danny Kirwan became addicted to alcohol. He also isolated himself from Bob Welch and John and Christine McVie. He destroyed his guitar during their US tour, he refused to go onstage and insulted the band. Mick Fleetwood had enough and fired him from the band. Mick Fleetwood said things were too much for Danny Kirwan. Mick Fleetwood announced that Danny Kirwan had suffered a breakdown. Fleetwood Mac went through another lineup change. In September 1972, they added musician Bob Weston and singer Dave Walker to the band.
In January 1973, the band released Penguin. The album peaked at number 49 on the Billboard 200 charts. At this point, this was their highest charting album in the United States. The band went on tour to promote the album. The band didn’t care for Dave Walker’s vocal style as well as his attitude. The band ended up firing Dave Walker. Six months after his departure, the band recorded Mystery to Me. The album was released in October 1973. It peaked at number 67 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the single “Hypnotize.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.
They had to deal with more drama. John and Christine McVie’s marriage suffered because of being in the band. It was getting harder to work together and they dealt with his alcohol abuse. During their tour in 1973 to promote their latest album, Bob Weston reportedly had an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife. Mick Fleetwood was horrified by the betrayal and didn’t want to continue with the tour. Bob Weston was fired from the band. Fleetwood Mac had to cancel the rest of their tour dates. After the tour was over, the band parted ways.
The band’s manager was upset that they wanted to part ways. He felt like he put too much work into the band for his career to end because they were being irresponsible. He said he owned the name of the band and had the right to choose the members in it. He got members from the Legs to join the new Fleetwood Mac. Elmer Gantry, Kirby Gregory, Paul Martinez, John Wilkinson and Craig Collinge were the new members of the band. They finished the obligatory tour dates that were cancelled. The new band were under the impression that Mick Fleetwood would join them after the tour. They said Mick Fleetwood agreed to let the new band use the name. Their manager and others said that Mick Fleetwood greenlit everything. Their manager said Mick Fleetwood agreed to appear on the rest of the tour, but he denied that claim.
The new Fleetwood Mac tour began. The tour was initially successful until people realized they weren’t the Fleetwood Mac they were used to seeing. Things went from bad to worse for the new band. They had to cancel concerts because of the hostility they faced and the lack of interest from the fans. They also dealt with a lawsuit over the rights of the name Fleetwood Mac. The band was named after Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, but they allegedly signed contracts forfeiting the rights to the name. The case was eventually settled out of court. After the lawsuit, the band decided to move to the United States. None of the members from the new band were in Fleetwood Mac.
The band now consisting of Mick Fleetwood, Bob Welch and John and Christine McVie recorded their next album. Heroes Are Hard to Find was released in September 1974. The album peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album didn’t have any successful singles, but it still cracked the Top 40 on the charts. This was the last album to feature Bob Welch. He stated that the band was frustrated that the album didn’t perform better. He felt like things needed to change. In his opinion, their hard work on the album didn’t pay off. He was getting tired of keeping the band together.
Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks Join, Eponymous album, More Drama, & Rumours LP
Bob Welch left the band so they were on the hunt for new members. Mick Fleetwood heard Lindsey Buckingham play and he wanted him to join the band. Lindsey Buckingham agreed to do it, but on one condition. He wanted them to let his girlfriend Stevie Nicks join the band. Mick Fleetwood agreed, and the new band was formed. In July 1975, the band released their second eponymous album. This album was a big hit for the band. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. It was their first number one album in the United States. The album features the songs “Over My Head,” “Warm Ways,” “Rhiannon” “Landslide” and “Say You Love Me.” The album sold over seven million copies.
The band was riding high from the success of their eponymous album. Unfortunately, all that glitters isn’t gold for Fleetwood Mac. In 1976, The band was dealing with personal drama. John and Christine McVie’s marriage ended. They stopped talking to each other unless it was related to their music. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks broke up too. They ended up fighting more and more. They only got along when they were working on music together so they called it quits. Mick Fleetwood was going through divorce proceedings with his wife. He was also dealing with the fact that his wife had an affair with his best friend. Mick Fleetwood was having an affair of his own. He reportedly had an affair with Stevie Nicks. The band was pressured to release another successful album. The pressure led to the band members consuming drugs and alcohol.
In February 1977, Fleetwood Mac released Rumours. The album would go on to be one of their most successful recordings. It was the eighth best-selling album of all time. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 charts as well as the UK charts. It features the singles “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun.” The album sold over 40 million copies. The band was on top of the world professionally, but that wasn’t the case for them personally. The album won a Grammy for Album of the Year. In 1979, the band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Tusk, Mirage, Solo Projects, More Drama, Tango in the Night, Tension in the Band & Departure
In October 1979, the band released Tusk. Lindsey Buckingham wanted the band to do different material for this album. The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Tusk,” “Sara,” “Not That Funny,” “Think About Me,” “Sisters of the Moon” and “Angel.” The album sold over four million copies. Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham released solo projects before releasing their next album. Stevie Nicks released Bella Donna, Mick Fleetwood released The Visitor and Lindsey Buckingham released Law and Order. Critics and band members blamed the lackluster sales of this album on Lindsey Buckingham.
The band got back together for their next project. In June 1982, they released Mirage. The band wanted to recapture the fame they achieved with the Rumours album. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Hold Me,” “Gypsy,” “Love in Store,” “Oh Diane” and “Can’t Go Back.” The album sold over two million copies. The group decided to go on hiatus. The members were free to do separate projects. Stevie Nicks recorded two more solo albums. She recorded The Wild Hearts in 1983 and Rock a Little in 1985. Lindsey Buckingham recorded Go Insane in 1984. Christine McVie did an eponymous album in 1984. They all had successful albums. Stevie Nicks had the biggest success on her own.
Fleetwood Mac had to deal with more issues while they were on hiatus. Mick Fleetwood had to file for bankruptcy. Stevie Nicks checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic because of her addiction problems. John McVie had a seizure due to his addiction problems. Their success led them to battle personal demons. There were rumors that Fleetwood Mac broke up. Lindsey Buckingham stated that he didn’t want Mirage to be their last album together. They would go on to release Tango in the Night in April 1987. The album was supposed to be Lindsey Buckingham’s solo project, but they used the material for the band’s album. The album peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Big Love,” “Seven Wonders,” “Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” “Family Man” and “Isn’t It Midnight.” The album sold over three million copies.
The band were about to embark on a 10-week tour, but Lindsey Buckingham hesitated to go on it. He felt he was being held back creatively. There was a meeting at Christine McVie’s house that ended badly. Mick Fleetwood admitted in his book that members came to blows. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks came to blows during the meeting. Lindsey Buckingham left the band the next day after the altercation with Stevie Nicks. The band added two new guitarists after Lindsey Buckingham left. Billy Burnette and Rick Vito joined the band.
Greatest Hits, Behind the Mask, More Departures, Band Reunites and Loses a Member & Time LP
In 1988, they released their greatest hits album. Fleetwood Mac added two new songs to the album. The album peaked at number three in the UK and number 14 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album sold over eight million copies. The band dedicated the album to Lindsey Buckingham. In 1990, they released Behind the Mask. The album peaked at number 18 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Save Me,” “Sky’s the Limit,” “In the Back of My Mind” and “Hard Feelings.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.
In 1991, Stevie Nicks and Rick Vito decided to leave the band. Stevie Nicks possibly left the band because of creative differences with Mick Fleetwood. She wanted to add the song “Go Your Own Way” on her solo project, but Mick Fleetwood wouldn’t let her do it. He wanted to use the song on the band’s greatest hits album. The disagreement became publicized and was the led to be the cause of her leaving the band. Rick Vito quit the band to become a solo artist.
In 1993, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood reunited at Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Ball. Bill Clinton used their song “Don’t Stop” as his campaign theme song. Bill Clinton wanted the band to perform the song. They didn’t plan on reuniting until Bill Clinton wanted to see them perform at his inaugural ball. Since there was new interest in the band, people wanted them to get back together. Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie and Billy Burnette wanted to record another Fleetwood Mac album. In March 1993, Billy Burnette left the group. He wanted to pursue a solo career as well as a career in acting. The band replaced Billy Burnette with Bekka Bramlett and Dave Mason.
In 1994, Billy Burnette returned to the band. In October 1996, Fleetwood Mac released Time. The album didn’t chart in the United States. It charted overseas. The album features the single “I Do.” Dave Mason, Billy Burnette and Bekka Bramlett ended up leaving the band about a year after the release of the album. Christine McVie decided this was the last album she would do with the band. The band didn’t tour for this album. Weeks after the band broke up, Mick Fleetwood worked with Lindsey Buckingham, John and Christine McVie. Stevie Nicks wanted Lindsey Buckingham to produce a song for a soundtrack. In May of 1996, Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks performed at a private party. This eventually led to the band reuniting.
The Dance, Induction into the Hall of Fame, Say You Will & Lindsey Buckingham Dismissed
In August 1997, Fleetwood Mac released The Dance. The Dance was a live album. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 charts. It was the first time in years that the band peaked at the top of the charts. This is the last album in which Christine McVie would be a full-time member. The album sold over six million copies. The Dance became one of the best-selling live albums of all time.
In 1998, Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The original members of the band as well as the Rumours lineup were inducted into the Hall of Fame. During the same year, Christine McVie left the group. When she left Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had to do all the singing. Christine McVie left the band, but she remained to sing background vocals. In April 2003, Fleetwood Mac released Say You Will. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Peacekeeper” and “Say You Will.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. This is the last album that features Christine McVie as a full member of the group. This is the last full album with Lindsey Buckingham before he was dismissed from the band. The band would go on to do tours for several years without recording a studio album.
In 2018, Lindsey Buckingham would leave the band for a second time. He was let go from the band because they didn’t agree on what to do about their tour. Lindsey Buckingham had different ideas from the rest of the band. Lindsey Buckingham wouldn’t sign off on a tour that the band wanted to do. They were at an impasse about it. The band refused to admit that Lindsey Buckingham was fired. Mike Campbell and Neil Finn replaced Lindsey Buckingham.
Lindsey Buckingham sued the band for various reasons. He said they arrived at a settlement that made him happy. Lindsey Buckingham talked about why he left the band. He talked about what happened at the MusiCares event. He said their manager told him that Stevie Nicks had issues with what happened during the event. He didn’t like how the venue played the song Stevie Nicks wrote when they accepted an award for the band. He also made a face while she was talking. Stevie Nicks threatened to quit if Lindsey Buckingham wasn’t let go.
The fans were dealt with devastating blows when it was revealed that many members of the band passed away. There are quite a few of them so we are listing them here. Bob Brunning died on October 18, 2011. He died from a heart attack. Bob Weston was found dead as a result of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage on January 3, 2012. Bob Welch died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He died on June 7, 2012. He left a suicide note behind. Bob Welch was dealing with depression and health concerns. Danny Kirwan died on June 8, 2018. Danny Kirwan died from pneumonia. Peter Green died on July 25, 2020. He died in his sleep. Peter Green’s death inspired the band to start talking to each other again. Christine McVie died on November 30, 2022. She was suffering from health issues.
“Dreams” is the only track by the band to peak at number one on the Hot 100 charts.
Christine McVie designed the artwork for the band’s albums. She was a gifted artist.
At one time, the band had 14 members in it.
The band had a musical code to let each other know whenever they needed drugs. The song they would use is “Chariots of Fire.” Stevie Nicks spent $1 million on drugs.
Stevie Nicks believed that her solo career kept the band together. She said that she would get bored easily. She wouldn’t have participated in the tour if she didn’t have her own career going on at the time.
Stevie Nicks didn’t like recording Tango in the Night. The album was recorded in Lindsey Buckingham’s bedroom. She was uncomfortable being in there since she used to date him.
The entire band lived together at one point.
There was a lot of animosity between members of the band.
Stevie Nicks said that recording the Say You Will was a nightmare for her. She didn’t like recording the album because Lindsey Buckingham was in control. She believed the album was the one he wanted to record. He didn’t think about the band and what they wanted.
The band almost thanked their drug dealer on the Rumours album. They wanted to give a shout-out to their cocaine dealer in the thank you section. The band claimed they were doing so many drugs that the album wouldn’t have been able to get done without him. The band didn’t go through with crediting him because he was murdered before the album was finished.
FLEETWOOD MAC ARTICLES DIRECTORY
FLEETWOOD MAC SONGS ARTICLES
Just click on any title to be taken to the full article.
So many to choose from, but others are ten of there most popular and best-loved songs the band has ever recorded.
So many of the band’s recordings were loves songs, these are the ones that really hit you hard
A look at the best Fleetwood Mac songs written and sung by Fleetwood Mac’s keyboard player and vocalist, the late Christine McVie
A great listen and review of some of the best songs that Lindsey Buckingham comped and performed while being a member of Fleetwood Mac
For many, the Stevie Nicks songs on the Fleetwood Mac albums were always some of the best material the group ever recorded. Here are ten of the most popular and best loved Fleetwood Mac songs written and sung by Stevie Nicks.
A look back at the songs of one of the most important members of the band during the group’s early years.
Everyone loved Bob Welch. He wrote some of the band’s biggest hits before the Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham era.
FLEETWOOD MAC MEMBER SOLO ARTICLES
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Fleetwood Mac: All You Need To Know, History And Directory article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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