The 'List: Fleetwood Mac

The most enduring band in rock history - inside their 50+ year anniversary and legacy!

The band circa the 1970s.

Hello, one and all.

Here's the second artist profile for the new year. A mixed rock/pop act from both the US and the UK that formed in London. They went through many lineup changes and were considered more of a blues/rock band before changing their sound often and still have success elude them, until after another band member dropped out and there were five official members and their self-titled LP was released in 1975 and as they say...the rest is rock 'n' roll history.

The Brits are founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie along with Peter Green (guitarist) and Jeremy Spencer (also a guitarist). Actual inception year was 1967, with a lengthy lineup that included guitarist and bass player Bob Welch who broke free from the group in the early 70s to start a solo career. It was 1975 when their lineup remained at Fleetwood, McVie, pianist Christine Perfect (n.e. McVie; John's then-wife) and two US additions, guitarist and often lead vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and the enchantress, the multi-gifted Stephanie Lynn (always forever known to us as Stevie) Nicks.

Their 1975 self-title debut brought the band into the spotlight with two now-classic hits, "Over My Head" with Christine on vocals and the now iconic, "Rhiannon," written and sung by Nicks. It would be 1976 when an album of theirs would bring them into the full weight of our music consciousness. The album 'Rumours,' which was the UK delineation of the word's spelling, would bring them fortune, worldwide fame, and a legion of fans and icon status. It would set the precedent for the album formula of "all radio-friendly hits" and be the catalyst for Michael Jackson's all-time album record-setter, 'Thriller' from 1982. Four big, smash hits and their first (and only) number one hit, "Dreams," with Nicks as lead singer and writer. It swept the Grammys in 1978 with Album of the Year as one of the main wins.

While 1979's "Tusk" continued the hit-parade, while less iconic as their last monster smash, the 1980s were still kind to the Macs. 'Mirage' was their 1982 album and yielded hits for them, but both Buckingham and Nicks would forge early successful solo careers and rack up hits on their own. Christine McVie would also enjoy a successful solo career in 1984 and yield a top-ten hit with "Got a Hold On Me." In 1987, another iconic album was released, 'Tango in the Night,' which would yield big hits for the group. But, tensions and issues within the group would force them to change lineups again. Albums 'Behind The Mask' and 'Tim' had different band members, but in 1997 (twenty years time span on all their iconic albums), the main lineup reunited for 'The Dance,' a live album with many of their smash hits.

My buddy Oates and I, compiled our Mac faves and there are few bonuses afterwards. Enjoy!

Cherry Picks:

"I'm So Afraid" (1975)

A bluesy album cut with raw, sexy vocals by Buckingham. Moving on...

"Go Your Own Way" (1977)

One of their iconic hits off 'Rumours.' Peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and is now the overused song in countless commercials and...even political rallies???

"Tusk" (1979)

The title song to their 'Rumours' followup had a tribal rock/folk feel that has Fleetwood's drumbeat/percussion as its main hook. The USC Trojan Marching Band adds the drum/horn zest and spice to the song. A live version of this song made my 'list - read on, folks!

"Bleed to Love Her" (2003)

Off their 'Say You Will' album. A rock/torchy song with Buckingham on vocals with Nicks. An album cut that has that vintage Mac sound. Christine McVie had left the group at this point.

"Big Love" (1987)

Their comeback smash from 'Tango in the Night,' went top-five on the pop charts and was also a hit on the dance charts. It was widely rumored that Buckingham's "grunting" was he and Nicks. Both voices belong to Buckingham; the female's was a microphone trick.

"The Chain" (1977)

One of many iconic hits off 'Rumours;' a rock/country/folk album cut with Buckingham and Nicks doing their best vocal work. 

"Never Going Back Again" (1977)

A B-Side to their top-ten smash, "Don't Stop." A folksy guitar-heavy tune that clearly could've been a double-sided hit for them. It's pretty clear to me that my buddy Oates reveres 'Rumours' and for me, that's all great! I always thought this was a Kenny Loggins song! Ewwh! (expression not to be confused with Ewww; Loggins' 'list is on its way) Moooooving on...

"Second Hand News" (1977)

Another 'Rumours' cut. Iconic and memorable! Ok, Oates - Got It!

"Monday Morning" (1976)

Great rock track of the self-titled album that finally put Mac on our minds. The Oates 'list was killer! Now...it's my turn!

My Picks:

"Over My Head" (1976)

A major first hit off their 1975 album. A bluesy soft rock ballad with Christine on vocals and it's her composition.

"Say You Love Me" (1976)

Many great hits off their now seminal album that put them on the map. Christine M. is the clear star of my 'list. Another soft rock gem with her on lead and a great use of the banjo.

"Everywhere" (1988)

Off their 'Tango in the Night' album. This backbeat/dance-y bohemian ballad is all Christine McVie and is one of my all-time favorite tracks. It seems McVie (Christine) may be favorite Mac member even though she has since left the group. Hmmmm....

"Tusk" (Live) (1997)

My choice version for this song, off the 'The Dance' album and concert. The marching band sequence is utterly fucking amazing!

"You Make Lovin' Fun" (1977)

It's official. There's a definite pattern here. McVie's sweet vocals are my honey and my sugar. Love Buckingham and Nicks is also great, but this is why this 'lists are fun to compile. We get to see which Mac is the "Big" one (pun intended).

"Little Lies" (1987)

Off 'Tango in the Night' and yet another McVie track. Great harmonies along with co-vocals by Buckingham, Nicks and the rest of the group. Next track is McVie-less; I promise.

"Landslide" (Live) (1997)

This Nicks' composition is the most sad and heartbreaking for me to post. A good friend of mine named Michael passed away from stomach cancer last year and this song was my eulogy to him. He was a diehard Stevie Nicks fan. Rest in peace my brother, wherever you are.

"Hold Me" (1982)

My favorite track off of 'Mirage' with Buckingham and (dang-it!) McVie on lead vocals. An intriguing Raiders of the Lost Ark-themed video adds a nice little kick to the song. Mind you, even 1970s artists had to go the MTV route.

"Rhiannon" (1976)

The most iconic Nicks' song with the group apart from their number one smash "Dreams," which sadly didn't make the cut. It may have added the "witch" mystique to Nicks' alluring enchantress persona.

"Don't Stop" (1977)

One the classics off 'Rumours' and of course, one of the most overheard songs in film, television, advertising and yes, even the political arena. Empowerment is it's message—and though again the numerical system is forgone; one of my top-three choices for the best Mac tune. The others...? Guess them for yourself!

But, the Mac show isn't over!

"Sentimental Lady" - Bob Welch (1977)

When Welch left the group, his solo soft rock hit was a simultaneous hit with his former band mates. Actually, three Mac band members contributed arrangement and backing vocals to the song. An "unsanctioned" Mac hit. Sadly, he passed away in 2012. But, did you know...

Bonus: "Black Magic Woman" (1968)

They originated the Santana 1971 cover smash?

Thank you and 'Mac' on!

Next 'List Pending.