I'm looking forward to adding something to this already great band; I helped engineer their album 'Heroes Are Hard to Find' and got to know each member well. It came to me as a shock when Mick asked me to join but I am enjoying playing live with the band, and hopefully will start a new studio album with the band soon.
The 1967–1969 era Blue Horizon albums (Fleetwood Mac, Mr. Wonderful, The Pious Bird of Good Omen and Fleetwood Mac in Chicago) and 1971 outtakes album The Original Fleetwood Mac have been remastered and reissued on CD, as have the 1975–1987 era Warner Bros. studio albums Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Tusk, Mirage, and Tango in the Night
The band's second album, Mr. Wonderful, was released in August 1968. Like the first, it was an all-blues album. The album was recorded live in the studio with Mike D amplifiers and PA system, rather than plugged into the board. They also added horns and featured a friend of the band on keyboards, Christine Perfect of Chicken Shack.
In July 1969, Fleetwood Mac opened for Ten Years After at the Schaefer Music Festival at New York City's Wollman Rink. They re-appeared at the festival in 1970.
Christine Perfect, who by this point had married Bassist John McVie, made her first appearance with the band as Christine McVie at Bristol University in May 1969 just as she was leaving Chicken Shack. She had success with the Etta James classic, "I'd Rather Go Blind", and was twice voted female Artist of the year in England. Christine McVie played her first gig as an official member on 6 August 1970 in New Orleans. CBS Records, which now owned Blue Horizon (except in the US and Canada), released an album of previously unreleased material from the original Fleetwood Mac called The Original Fleetwood Mac. The album was relatively successful, and the band continued to gain popularity.
In September 1971, the band released Future Games. Due to Welch's arrival and Spencer's departure, the album was different from anything the band had done up to that point, and there were many new fans in America who were becoming more and more interested in the band. In Europe, CBS released Fleetwood Mac's first Greatest Hits package, which was predominantly composed of songs by Peter Green, though there was one song by Spencer and one by Kirwan.
The next two and a half years proved to be the most challenging for the band. In the three albums they released in this period, they constantly changed line-ups. In September 1972, the band added Guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker, formerly of Savoy Brown and Idle Race. Bob Weston was well known for playing slide guitar and had known the band from his touring period with Long John Baldry. Fleetwood Mac also hired Savoy Brown's road manager, John Courage. Fleetwood, The McVies, Welch, Weston, and Walker recorded Penguin, which was released in January 1973. After the tour, the band fired Walker because his vocal style and attitude did not fit in with the rest of the band.
After Welch announced that he was leaving the band, Fleetwood began searching for a possible replacement. While Fleetwood was checking out Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, the house Engineer, Keith Olsen, played him a track which he had recorded in the studio, "Frozen Love", from the album Buckingham Nicks (1973). Fleetwood liked it, and was introduced to the Guitarist from the band, Lindsey Buckingham, who coincidentally was at Sound City that day recording some demos. Fleetwood soon asked him to join. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his music partner and girlfriend, Stevie Nicks, also become part of the band; Fleetwood agreed. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year's Eve 1974 (within 4 weeks of the previous incarnation splitting).
Robert ("Bobby") Hunt, who had been in the band Head West with Bob Welch back in 1970 replaced Graves. Neither musician, however, proved to be a long-term addition to the line-up, and Welch left soon after the tour ended (on 5 December 1974 at Cal State University), having tired of the touring and legal struggles. Nevertheless, the tour enabled the Heroes album to reach a higher position on the American charts than any of the band's previous records.
In 1975, the new line-up released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit, reaching No.1 in the US and selling over 5 million copies. Among the hit singles from this album were Christine McVie's "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me", and Stevie Nicks' "Rhiannon", as well as the much-played album track "Landslide" (a live rendition of which became a hit twenty years later on The Dance album).
Behind the scenes the band was fraying apart in 1976; with the success of the band also came the end of John and Christine McVie's marriage, as well as Buckingham and Nicks' long term romantic relationship. Even Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his wife, Jenny. The pressure put on Fleetwood Mac to release a successful follow-up album, combined with their new-found wealth, led to creative and personal tensions, fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol.
The album Rumours (the band's first release on the main Warner label after Reprise was retired and all of its acts were reassigned to the parent label) was released in the spring of 1977, in which the band members laid bare the emotional turmoil they were experiencing at the time. Critically acclaimed, it was the recipient of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. The album generated multiple Top Ten singles, including Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way", Nicks' US No.1 "Dreams" ( sample (help·info)), and Christine McVie's "Don't Stop" and "You Make Loving Fun". Buckingham's "Second Hand News", Nicks' "Gold Dust Woman" and "The Chain" (the only song written by all five bandmates) also received significant radio airplay. By 2003, Rumours had sold over 19 million copies in the US alone (certified as a Diamond album by the RIAA), and a total of 40 million copies worldwide, making it the second biggest selling album of all time. Fleetwood Mac supported the album with a lucrative tour.
Buckingham was able to convince Fleetwood to allow his work on their next album to be more experimental and to work on tracks at home, then bring them to the band in the studio. The result of this was the 20-track double album, Tusk, released in 1979. It spawned three hit singles; Lindsey Buckingham's "Tusk" (US No. 8), which featured the USC Trojan Marching Band; Christine McVie's "Think About Me" (US No. 20); and Stevie Nicks' 6½ minute opus "Sara" (US No. 7). "Sara" was cut to 4½ minutes for both the hit single and the first CD-release of the album, but the unedited version has since been restored on the 1988 greatest hits compilation, the 2004 reissue of Tusk and Fleetwood Mac's 2002 release of The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac. Original Guitarist Green also took part in the sessions of Tusk, but his playing for the Christine McVie track "Brown Eyes" is not credited on the album.
The band embarked on an 11-month tour to support and promote Tusk. They travelled across the world, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In Germany they shared the bill with reggae superstar Bob Marley. It was on this world tour that the band recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album, which was released at the end of 1980.
In contrast to the Tusk Tour, the band only embarked on a short tour of 18 American cities, the Los Angeles show being recorded and released on video. They also headlined the first US Festival, on 5 September 1982, for which the band was paid $500,000 ($1,267,931 today). Mirage was certified double platinum in the US.
Following Mirage, the band went on hiatus, which allowed members to pursue solo careers. Stevie Nicks released two more solo albums (1983's The Wild Heart and 1985's Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham issued Go Insane in 1984, the same year that Christine McVie made an eponymous album (yielding the Top 10 hit "Got a Hold on Me" and the Top 40 hit "Love Will Show Us How"). All three met with success and it was Nicks who became the most popular. However, also during this period, Mick Fleetwood had filed for bankruptcy, Nicks was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems, and John McVie had suffered an addiction-related seizure—all attributed to the lifestyle of excess afforded to them by their worldwide success. It was rumoured that Fleetwood Mac had finally broken up; however, Buckingham commented that he was unhappy to allow Mirage to remain as the band's last effort.
Burnette is the son of Dorsey Burnette and nephew of Johnny Burnette, both of The Rock and Roll Trio. He had already worked with Mick Fleetwood in Zoo, with Christine McVie as part of her solo band, done some session work with Stevie Nicks, and backed Lindsey Buckingham on Saturday Night Live. Furthermore, Fleetwood and Christine McVie had played on his Try Me album in 1985. Vito, a Peter Green admirer, had played with many artists from Bonnie Raitt to John Mayall, and worked with John McVie on two Mayall albums.
The 1987–88 "Shake the Cage" tour was the first outing for this line-up, and was successful enough to warrant the release of a concert video (simply titled "Tango in the Night"), filmed at San Francisco's Cow Palace arena in December 1987.
Capitalising on the success of Tango in the Night, the band continued with a Greatest Hits album in 1988. It featured singles from the 1975–1988 era, and included two new compositions: "No Questions Asked" written by Nicks, and "As Long as You Follow" written by McVie and Quintela, which was released as a single in 1988 but only made No. 43 in the US and No.66 in the UK. It did, however, reach No.1 on the US Adult Contemporary charts. The Greatest Hits album, which peaked at No. 3 in the UK and No. 14 in the US (though has since sold over 8 million copies there), was dedicated to Buckingham by the band, with whom they had now reconciled.
Following the Greatest Hits collection, Fleetwood Mac recorded Behind the Mask. With this album, the band veered away from the stylised sound that Buckingham had evolved during his tenure in the band (also evident in his solo works), and ended up with a more adult contemporary style from Producer Greg Ladanyi. However, the album yielded only one Top 40 hit, McVie's "Save Me". Behind the Mask only achieved Gold album status in the US, peaking at No.18 on the Billboard album chart, though it entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1. It received mixed reviews, and was seen by some music critics as a low point for the band in the absence of Lindsey Buckingham (who had actually made a guest appearance by playing on the title track). However, Rolling Stone magazine said that Vito and Burnette were "the best thing to ever happen to Fleetwood Mac" and the British Q magazine also praised the album in their review. The subsequent "Behind the Mask" tour saw the band play sold out shows at London's Wembley Stadium, and on the final show in Los Angeles, the band were joined onstage by Buckingham. The two women of the band, McVie and Nicks, had decided that the tour would be their last (McVie's Father died during the tour) though both stated that they would still record with the band. However, in 1991, both Nicks and Rick Vito announced they were leaving Fleetwood Mac altogether.
In 1992, Fleetwood himself arranged a 4-disc box set spanning highlights from the band's 25-year history, titled 25 Years – The Chain (an edited 2-disc set was also available). A notable inclusion in the box set was "Silver Springs", a Stevie Nicks composition that was recorded during the Rumours sessions but was omitted from the album and used as the B-side of "Go Your Own Way" instead. Nicks had requested use of the track for her 1991 best-of compilation TimeSpace, but Fleetwood had refused her request as he had planned to include it in this collection as something of a rarity. The disagreement between Nicks and Fleetwood garnered press coverage, and is believed to be the main catalyst for Nicks leaving the band in 1991. The box set, however, also included a brand new Stevie Nicks/Rick Vito composition, "Paper Doll", which was released in the US as a single. As both members had left the band by this point, the track was presumably a leftover from the Behind the Mask sessions. There were also two new Christine McVie compositions, "Heart of Stone" and "Love Shines", the latter of which was released as a single in the UK and certain other territories. Lindsey Buckingham also contributed a new song, "Make Me a Mask", which bore all the markings of an insular Buckingham studio creation, devoid of input from other band members. Mick Fleetwood also released a deluxe hardcover companion book to coincide with the release of the box set, titled My 25 Years in Fleetwood Mac. The volume featured many rare photographs and notes (written by Fleetwood himself) detailing the band's 25-year history.
Inspired by the new interest in the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, with Billy Burnette taking on lead guitar duties. However, just as they made the decision to continue, Billy Burnette announced in March 1993 that he was leaving the band to pursue a country album and an acting career. Bekka Bramlett, who had worked a year earlier with Mick Fleetwood's Zoo, was recruited. Solo singer-songwriter/guitarist and Traffic member Dave Mason, who had worked with Bekka's parents Delaney & Bonnie twenty five years earlier, was subsequently added. By March 1994, Billy Burnette, himself a good friend and co-songwriter with Delaney Bramlett, returned with Fleetwood's blessing.
The band, minus Christine McVie, toured in 1994, opening for Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and in 1995 as part of a package with REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar. The tour saw the band perform classic Fleetwood Mac songs from the initial 1967–1974 era. In 1995, at a concert in Tokyo, the band was greeted by former member Jeremy Spencer, who performed a few songs with them.
On 10 October 1995, Fleetwood Mac released the unsuccessful Time album. Although hitting the UK Top 60 for one week the album had zero impact in the US. It failed even to graze the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, a stunning Reversal for a band that had been a mainstay on that chart for most of the previous two decades. Shortly after the album's release, Christine McVie informed the band that the album was her last. Bramlett and Burnette subsequently formed a country music duo, Bekka & Billy.
In May 1996, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks made an appearance at a private party in Louisville, Kentucky prior to the Kentucky Derby (with Steve Winwood filling in for Lindsey Buckingham). A week later, the Twister film Soundtrack was released, which featured the Stevie Nicks-Lindsey Buckingham duet, "Twisted", with Mick Fleetwood on drums. This eventually led to a full Rumours line-up reunion when the band officially reformed in March 1997.
The regrouped Fleetwood Mac performed a live concert recorded on a Warner Bros. Burbank, California soundstage on 22 May, and from this performance came the 1997 live album The Dance, bringing Fleetwood Mac back to the top of the US album charts for the first time in 10 years. The album returned Fleetwood Mac to their superstar commercial status that they had not enjoyed since their Tango in the Night album. The album was certified a 5 million seller by the RIAA. A successful arena tour followed the MTV premiere of The Dance, which kept the reunited Fleetwood Mac on the road throughout much of 1997, the 20th anniversary of their Rumours album. With the added ensemble of Neale Heywood on guitar, Brett Tuggle on keyboards, Lenny Castro on percussion, and Sharon Celani (she had toured with Fleetwood Mac in the late 1980s) and Mindy Stein on backing vocals, this would, however, be the final foray of the classic line-up with Christine McVie for 16 years. As of 2015, Brett Tuggle, Neale Heywood, and Sharon Celani still perform with Fleetwood Mac as touring Musicians.
In 1998, Christine McVie left the band. Her departure left Buckingham and Nicks to sing all the lead vocals for the band's 2003 album Say You Will, although Christine did contribute some backing vocals and keyboards. The album debuted at No.3 on the Billboard 200 chart (No. 6 in the UK) and yielded chart hits with "Peacekeeper" and the title track, and a successful world arena tour, which lasted through 2004. The tour grossed $27,711,129 and was ranked No. 21 in the top 25 grossing tours of 2004.
Around 2004–05, there were rumours of a reunion of the early line-up of Fleetwood Mac, involving Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. While these two guitarists and vocalists apparently remained unconvinced of the merits of such a project, in April 2006, during a question-and-answer session on the Penguin Fleetwood Mac fan website, Bassist John McVie said of the reunion idea:
In interviews given in November 2006 to support his solo album Under the Skin, Buckingham stated that plans for the band to reunite once more for a 2008 tour were still on the cards. Recording plans have been put on hold for the foreseeable Future. In a September 2007 interview Stevie Nicks gave to the UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, she noted that she was unwilling to carry on with the band unless Christine McVie returned. However, in a more recent interview, Mick Fleetwood said "... be very happy and hopeful that we will be working again. I can tell you everyone's going to be extremely excited about what's happening with Fleetwood Mac."
On 14 March 2008, the Associated Press reported Sheryl Crow as saying that she would be working with Fleetwood Mac in 2009. Crow and Stevie Nicks collaborated a great deal in the past and she has stated that Nicks has been a great Teacher and inspiration for her. In a subsequent interview with Buckingham, he said after discussions between the band and Crow, the potential collaboration with Crow "lost its momentum". However, in a June 2008 interview, Nicks denied that Crow would be joining Fleetwood Mac as a replacement for Christine McVie. According to Nicks, "the group will start working on material and recording probably in October, and finish an album." On 7 October 2008, Mick Fleetwood confirmed on the BBC's The One Show that the band were working in the studio and also announced plans for a world tour in 2009.
On 6 November 2009, Fleetwood Mac played the last show of the European leg of their Unleashed tour at London's Wembley Arena. Christine McVie was present in the audience, so Stevie Nicks paid a tribute from the stage to a standing ovation from the audience, stating that she thought about her former bandmate "every day", and went on to dedicate that night's performance of "Landslide" to McVie. On 19 December 2009, Fleetwood Mac played the second to last act of their Unleashed tour to a sell-out crowd at what was originally intended to be a one-off event at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Tickets, after pre-sales, sold out within twelve minutes of public release, and another date (Sunday 20 December) was added and also sold out. The tour grossed $84,900,000 and was ranked No. 13 in the highest grossing worldwide tours of 2009. On 19 October 2010, Fleetwood Mac played a private show at the Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona for TPG (Texas Pacific Group).
Original Fleetwood Mac Bassist Bob Brunning died on 18 October 2011, at the age of 68. Former Guitarist and singer Bob Weston was found dead on 3 January 2012, at the age of 64. Former singer and Guitarist Bob Welch was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 7 June 2012, at the age of 66. Don Aaron, a spokesman at the scene, stated, "He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest." A suicide note was found in the residence (Tennessean Music Team). The musician had been struggling with health issues and was dealing with depression. His wife was the one to discover the body.
On 27 October, the band announced that John McVie had been diagnosed with cancer, and that they were cancelling their New Zealand and Australian performances in order for him to undergo treatment. They stated that "We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates. We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best." According to The Guardian on 22 November 2013, Christine McVie stated that she would like to return to Fleetwood Mac if they wanted her, and also affirmed that John McVie's prognosis was "really good."
In January 2015, Buckingham suggested that the new album and the new tour might be Fleetwood Mac's last act and that the band would cease to operate in 2015 or soon afterwards. He concluded: "We're going to continue working on the new album, and the solo stuff will take a back seat for a year or two. A beautiful way to wrap up this last act". On the other hand, Mick Fleetwood stated that the new album may take a few years to complete and that they are waiting for contributions from Stevie Nicks, who has been ambivalent about committing to a new record.
In August 2016, Fleetwood revealed that while the band has a "a huge amount of recorded music", virtually none of it features Stevie Nicks. Buckingham and Christine McVie however, have contributed multiple songs to the new project. Fleetwood told Ultimate Classic Rock, "She [McVie] ... wrote up a storm ... She and Lindsey could probably have a mighty strong duet album if they want. In truth, I hope it will come to more than that. There really are dozens of songs. And they’re really good. So we’ll see."
In 2013, a deluxe edition of Rumours was released. The same year, Then Play On was remastered and reissued on CD. Reissues of "Then Play On", "Kiln House", "Future Games" and "Bare Trees" were released on vinyl, initially bundled with a 7" single of "Oh Well, Parts I & II", then released separately in 2014. In 2015, a 5CD/1DVD/2 LP deluxe edition, a 3CD expanded edition, plus a 1CD remaster of Tusk was released. In 2016, multiple editions of Mirage remastered were released. A 30th anniversary edition of Tango in the Night was released 31 March 2017.
In April 2018, the song "Dreams" re-entered the Hot Rock Songs chart at No. 16 due to a viral meme featuring the hit song. This chart re-entry comes 40 years after the song topped the Hot 100. The songs streaming totals also translated into 7,000 "equivalent album units"—a jump of 12 percent—which helped Rumours go from No. 21 to No. 13 on the Top Rock Albums chart.
Also that month, Buckingham departed the group a second time, reportedly by way of dismissal. The cause was said to be disagreement about the nature of the tour, in particular centering on whether newer or less well known material might be included per Buckingham’s Desire.