History and Influence of Fleetwood Mac

Delainey Root, MVC writer

Fleetwood Mac was a British blues band formed in 1967, which became a greatly popular band in the ‘70s. The band had an array of drama and bacnd breakups. Despite all the drama, they are also one of the more influential bands in musical history. 

Fleetwood Mac was formed when Peter Green left the band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Green brought Mick Fleetwood into his new band to replace drummer Aynsley Dunbar. Fleetwood Mac was formed with Green playing guitar, Fleetwood on drums, John McVie as bassist and slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer. The new band found little success with the release of their debut album “Albatross,” in 1968. 

They continued to experience moderate success. During this time the band experienced many changes. In 1970, Green felt that he was trapped within the “constraints” of the band, leading to his departure from the band after a show. McVie’s wife, Christine McVie, joined the band as the co-lead vocalist and keyboardist the same year. In 1974, the band decided to move to the United States. 

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham released the album “Buckingham Nicks” to little success. The couple joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975. After the addition of the new members, the band released “Fleetwood Mac” in 1975 and “Rumors” in 1977, both of which experienced extreme success. 

During the writing of “Rumors,” the band had an array of drama brewing just below the surface. Christine and John McVie walked into the studio on the brink of ending their eight-year marriage. The other band members reported that the pair stayed silent around each other and avoided contact completely when not recording. Their tumultuous relationship deteriorated even further when Christine began to openly date the band’s lighting director. 

Simultaneously, Nicks and Buckingham had also decided to end their long-time relationship. The pair were reported to have screaming matches and only stopped fighting to record. Just before the recording of “Rumors,” Fleetwood was informed that his wife was having an affair and they would divorce soon after the affair came to light. To add to the tension, Fleetwood and Nicks began a relationship soon after. 

All the strong emotions lead to popular songs with emotional, strong lyrics. “Go Your Own Way” was Buckingham’s response to the ending of his friendship with Nicks. “You Make Loving Fun” was Christine’s song about her new romance. Finally, “The Chain” was all of the members’ song about betrayal as a whole. 

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nicks said that most of the songs on “Rumors” “are definitely about people in the band… Chris’s relationships, John’s relationship, Mick’s relationship, Lindsey’s and mine. They’re all there and very honest.”

“Rumors” ended up winning a Grammy for album of the year. Following 1979, the group members began solo careers. Many of them became incredibly successful as soloists. 

In 1993, Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Buckingham and Nicks performed at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Four years later the group reunited again for a live album titled “The Dance.” The band was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. 

In 2003, Fleetwood, John McVie, Buckingham, and Nicks released “Say You Will.” Christine McVie rejoined the group in 2014 and the group went on tour soon after. Buckingham and Christine McVie released “Lindsay Buckingham/Christine McVie” in 2017. In 2018, Buckingham announced their departure from the band.

Many bands have covered songs from Fleetwood Mac’s most popular album “Rumors.” Mumford and Sons and Florence and The Machine have covered “The Chain.” Florence Welch, the lead singer of Florence and The Machine, cited “The Chain” as her favorite song of all time. Hole, Sharon Van Etten, Lorde and Tame Impala have also done many covers of the band. 

The band was very willing to share their emotions and that most likely contributed to their influence. Many bands were inspired by Fleetwood Mac and made songs with similar emotional delivery. 

The 90’s band, Hole, was greatly influenced by Fleetwood Mac. Courtney Love listed Fleetwood Mac as an important band she looked up to when searching for people to join her band. Hole covered “Gold Dust Woman” in 1996. They also used a similar 70’s sound to Fleetwood Mac on the 1998 album “Celebrity Skin.” 

 Fleetwood Mac has been making waves in the music industry since the 60’s and still influences people today. Even in 2021, their most popular album “Rumors” had nearly 3 million streams on Spotify. Many bands are influenced by Fleetwood Mac and millions of people love the band and the members even 55 years later.