For decades, Fleetwood Mac has remained a staple of rock fans. But the band has undergone a number of stark changes over the years, starting as a British blues band and slowly evolving into the more pop-friendly rock band that younger fans have grown up listening to on the classic rock station.
Fleetwood Mac is named for its two constants in the band’s lineup: Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. They were the band’s drummer and bass guitarist, respectively, but didn’t really have much say in the band’s musical direction. They actually evolved out of a band called the Bluesbreakers, with Mcvie joining the group in 1963. Though they were more of a traditional blues band at first, they took on more of a rock influence as the ’60s wore on. They released a debut, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, in 1968. It’s still remembered as one of the finest blues rock releases to come out of England at that time. Their follow-up, 1968’s Mr. Wonderful, was a huge hit in England, though the band had yet to cross over. They would the following year with the 1969 record English Rose, which includes an excellent version of “Black Magic Woman” a song that Santana would popularize several years afterward.
The band would become increasingly prolific throughout the early ’70s. Unfortunately, their high productivity coincided with a number of long-standing members leaving the band for a variety of reasons, and there were several business problems to contend with as well. At one point, their manager tried to form his own rip-off group, called Fleetwood Mac just like them, and lost a lawsuit filed by his former clients.
But in 1975, the Fleetwood Mac of the classic rock stations was formed. Fleetwood and McVie came across the pop act of Buckingham and Nicks better known as Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. They were invited to join the group, and did so, proving to be major assets by penning some of the band’s biggest hits. By this point, they had dropped any pretense of being a blues band, steadily moving farther and farther into the rock and pop genres.
They reintroduced themselves in ’75 with a self-titled record that sounded vastly different than what they had recorded before. Buckingham was showing his influence as a pop writer on this record, and many of the band’s best-loved hits can be found here. “Rhiannon” has always been a favorite, but “Monday Morning” and “Say You Love Me” are also strong songs in their own right.
In 1977, the band released their best known record, Rumours. Tracks like “Dreams,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain” are all classics from this release. It drew a lot of attention because of the very public breakups that were going on between the couples in the band at the time. The follow-up, 1979’s Tusk, wouldn’t fare well commercially but would go on to be considered another pop rock gem from Fleetwood Mac. With the band now touring again, this is the chance to get Fleetwood Mac tickets and see them live.