Mick Fleetwood anchored his namesake band Fleetwood Mac through thick and thin, seeing the group evolve from one of the pioneering British blues combos to the biggest pop/rock band in the world. Fleetwood may have never left his seat behind the drums in Fleetwood Mac but he did occasionally step away from the group. Notably, he released a pair of solo albums in the early 1980s: The Visitor, which was recorded in Ghana, and the slick, nervy pop LP I’m Not Me, which was credited to Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo. He resumed his solo career in the 2000s with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, who released Blue Again! in 2008, and he once again returned to his solo career and his blues roots in 2020, when he organized a star-studded tribute to his late bandmate Peter Green.
The Aristipposian Poet
The Life You Give: Mick Fleetwood
in celebration of his life in music
June 24 at 10:30pm EST
After the supporting tour for 1979’s Tusk, Fleetwood recorded his debut solo album, The Visitor, which was released in 1981 and displayed the drummer’s interest in worldbeat. After the 1982 Mac album Mirage, Fleetwood cut a second solo record, 1983’s I’m Not Me, which featured cameos from several Mac members. Fleetwood Mac subsequently went on hiatus until 1987, when Fleetwood’s declaration of bankruptcy prompted the reunion LP Tango in the Night; even Lindsey Buckingham was persuaded to join in, albeit only in the studio. Even as the band’s classic ’70s lineup splintered, Fleetwood kept versions of the band going throughout the ’90s, without enjoying much commercial success until the full-fledged reunion on 1997’s The Dance. Meanwhile, he also continued working on outside projects such as the Zoo, which issued Shakin’ the Cage during the early ’90s. Something Big (attributed to the Mick Fleetwood Band), a joint project with songwriter Todd Smallwood, was released in 2004 on Fleetwood’s own label, TallMan Records. As Fleetwood Mac prepared to tour again in early 2009, the drummer issued yet another album, this one culled from a live performance by the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band. Entitled Blue Again!, the two-disc set featured the blues-based songs of Fleetwood Mac’s early career while also devoting time to original material, with former Fleetwood Mac vocalist Rick Vito assuming frontman duties.
By Steve Huey / Source: all music
Fleetwood Mac, British blues band that evolved into the hugely popular Anglo-American pop-rock group whose 1977 album Rumours was one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. The original members were Mick Fleetwood (b. June 24, 1947, Redruth, Cornwall, England), John McVie (b. November 26, 1945, London, England), Peter Green (original name Peter Greenbaum; b. October 29, 1946, London—d. July 25, 2020, Canvey Island, Sussex), and Jeremy Spencer (b. July 4, 1948, West Hartlepool, Durham, England). Later members included Danny Kirwan (b. May 13, 1950, London—d. June 8, 2018, London), Christine McVie (original name Christine Perfect; b. July 12, 1943, Birmingham, West Midlands, England), Bob Welch (b. August 31, 1945, Los Angeles, California, U.S.—d. June 7, 2012, Nashville, Tennessee), Stevie Nicks (b. May 26, 1948, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.), and Lindsey Buckingham (b. October 3, 1947, Palo Alto, California).
Begun in 1967 by former members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers—guitarist Green, drummer Fleetwood, bassist John McVie—and slide guitarist Spencer, Fleetwood Mac found instant success during the British blues boom with its debut album and the hit single “Albatross” (1968). Thereafter the band experienced more moderate success while undergoing multiple personnel changes (including Green’s departure and the addition of McVie’s wife, keyboardist-vocalist-songwriter Christine). A move to the United States in 1974 and the addition of singer-songwriters Nicks and Buckingham (the latter an accomplished guitarist) infused the group with a pop sensibility that resulted in the multimillion-selling Fleetwood Mac (1975) and Rumours. Evocatively reflecting the simultaneous breakups of the McVies’ marriage and Buckingham and Nicks’s relationship, Rumours—which won the Grammy Award for album of the year—epitomized the band’s accomplished songwriting, arresting vocal chemistry, and rock-solid rhythm section.
Following the idiosyncratic Tusk (1979), group members began pursuing solo careers. Nicks hit number one with Bella Donna (1981), an album that featured singles such as “Edge of Seventeen” and the Tom Petty duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” and Buckingham broke the Billboard Top Ten with his single “Trouble.” The band produced the noteworthy Mirage (1982) and Tango in the Night (1987) before the departure of Buckingham. Further lineup changes followed, but Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Buckingham, and Nicks reunited to perform at the inauguration of U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993 (Clinton had used “Don’t Stop” from Rumours as his campaign theme song). Four years passed before the core members gathered again for The Dance, a live album that debuted a smattering of new material and fueled a U.S. tour.
The 2003 release Say You Will brought together Fleetwood, John McVie, Buckingham, and Nicks for their first studio album in 16 years, but the absence of Christine McVie highlighted her importance as a mediating influence within the band. She rejoined the group in 2014, and Fleetwood Mac’s first major tour since 2009 followed. A new album, much discussed, failed to materialize, though Buckingham and Christine McVie released Lindsay Buckingham/Christine McVie in 2017. The following year Buckingham’s departure from Fleetwood Mac was announced. Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.