Known as much for their tumultuous personal lives as their insanely creative professional ones, Fleetwood Mac have been music legends for 45 years. Formed in London by drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Peter Green, and slide player Jeremy Spencer, the 'Mac' of the title – John McVie - didn't actually join the band until a few weeks after the group had begun gigging. Originally a pure blues band, it wasn't until they recruited young rocker Danny Kirwan in 1969, and spent a bit of time in the States, that Fleetwood Mac began developing their own sound, and the group enjoyed their first No.1 hit, the instrumental “Albatross”. Their third album, Then Play On (1969) was released in the US to much acclaim, and was much rockier than the band had previously been known for. But, just as they were reaching the dizzy heights of European and American success, Peter Green's mental health declined thanks to LSD abuse, in much the same way as had happened to Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, and Green left the band in 1970.
Their next album, Kiln House (1970), embraced the new decade of rock, and keyboardist Christine Perfect, who'd guested on previous work and designed the album's cover, was asked to join the band permanently, marrying John McVie shortly after. A year later, just before a gig, Jeremy Spencer nipped out “to buy a paper” and wasn't seen again for several days, when he was discovered living with a religious cult. Now in need of yet another new member, the band hired Bob Welch, and released Future Games (1971), a huge hit in America, followed by Bare Trees (1972). Also in 1972, Danny Kirwan's alcoholism reached crisis point and he was forced to leave the band. Between 1972 and 1974, there were so many personnel changes, as well as private troubles, that it wasn't until 1975, when Welch also left, that stability and mainstream success finally happened for Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, already a duo (and lovers), were recruited, and another eponymous album was released, which was a huge success.
Divorces and fights then plagued the band through to the end of the decade, but the creative result was musical dynamite. Rumours (1977) and Tusk (1979) produced the classics “Go Your Own Way”, “Don't Stop” and “Gold Dust Woman”, with the band touring as much as possible to avoid having to spend too much time together in a studio. After 1982's Mirage, tensions within the band got too much - the McVies had divorced, Nicks and Buckingham had split acrimoniously, and Fleetwood was splitting from his wife – so they went on hiatus, most members pursuing solo projects. They reunited in 1987 for Tango In The Night, and the singles “Little Lies” and “Everywhere”, after which Buckingham left the band, unable to continue working with Nicks. Behind The Mask (1990) was considered a low point in the group's career, critics accusing the band of missing Buckingham's dynamic, and Nicks, too, also decided to leave. After a few more disappointing album releases, Mick Fleetwood officially disbanded the group in 1996, only to reform it in 1997, the 20th anniversary of Rumours.
Ever since, Fleetwood Mac has remained in existence, in one form or another, but always with Mick Fleetwood, and continue to tour, the current line-up including John McVie, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, but not Christine McVie. In 2009, they embarked on their Unleashed tour, with Stevie Nicks announcing in 2011 that a new tour would definitely be happening in 2012.
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