1967. Elvis marries Pricilla, Milton Keynes is founded, Pink Floyd release their debut album, and in London – Fleetwood Mac is born. Over 40 years later the band is still going strong; having experienced varied levels of success and a veritable conveyor belt of personnel.
The line-up of today’s Fleetwood Mac is vastly different from the one seen at its inception (founding member Mick Fleetwood being the only constant); 14 musicians have been part of the band at one time or another. Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green and John McVie, having met in the blues band ‘John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’, resolved to form their own band. John McVie was at first reluctant to join (despite Fleetwood and Green’s attempt to entice him by including his surname in the band’s name), and the band’s first handful of gigs were without him. McVie soon relented, and the band’s self-titled debut was released in 1968 to great acclaim – reaching number 4 in the UK album chart. A rawer-sounding second album – Mr Wonderful – followed just seven months later.
1969 saw several sea changes in the band; a move from the Blue Horizon label to Warner Bros. Records, and an evolution in their sound; from blues, to the rockier sound heard in their third studio album Then Play On. The next four years featured several changes in personnel and the release of six albums – Kiln House (1970), Future Games (1971), Bare Trees (1972), Penguin (1973), Mystery To Me (1973), and Heroes Are Hard To Find (1974) – that became progressively more pop-orientated, eventually leading to their 1975 self-titled breakthrough (affectionately known as the ‘White Album’ due to its cover art) reaching Number 1 on the US Billboard chart – selling over 4.5 million copies and launching three top 20 singles.
Two years later, the release of their eleventh studio album, Rumours, propelled the band to even greater success – the album won the 1978 Grammy award for Album of the Year and went on to sell in excess of 40 million copies. Tusk followed in 1979, and while not scaling the heights reached by Rumours, it still went double platinum and provided two top 10 singles.
Fleetwood Mac continued this remarkable run of success when 1982’s Mirage spent five weeks at the summit of the US Billboard chart. While the flow of band members began to slow as the 1980s became the 1990s, the hit albums certainly didn’t; Tango In The Night (1987) went 8 times Platinum, while Behind The Mask was certified as Platinum three years later. A tumultuous period in the band’s lineup resulted in 1995’s disappointing Time. Fleetwood Mac continue to rock to this very day – their last release being the well-received Gold certified 2003 album Say You Will – and are widely regarded as one of popular music’s most important bands. Rumours remains one of the top 10 biggest selling albums in history – having shifted in excess of 40 million copies, and many of their songs are rightfully referred to as true timeless classics.
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