Sometimes messy but always magic, Fleetwood Mac are one of the best-selling bands of all time. We’re diving into the highs and the lows on the Artists in Focus blog today!
If you managed to get a grip on the line up of Fleetwood Mac at any given moment, you’re frankly one step ahead of us… This band practically had a revolving door through which members came and went, but it all started out with guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie. It was the combination of Mick Fleetwood and Mac, short for McVie, which created the band name back in 1967.
As the years went by, band members came and went, including Danny Kirwan, Christine Perfect (who soon became Christine McVie), Bob Welch, Bob Weston and Dave Walker. Fleetwood Mac scored a few hits like “Oh Well”, “Man of the World” and a UK number 1 song, “Albatross”. They were doing well!
However, their world was about to be tipped upside down one day, when the band was left with no male vocalist or guitarist after some members vacated, Fleetwood stumbled across a folk-rock duo – Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. They both joined the band, adding a little sprinkle of pop to the sound.
Fun Fact: In 1973, the band disbanded for a while, going their own separate ways. Manager Clifford Davis thought his reputation would be on the line, stating that he “hadn’t slaved for years to be brought down by the whims of irresponsible musicians”. He claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac, and so went off and found a new set of musicians entirely, calling them The New Fleetwood Mac. The knock-off band were relatively successful (and actually very talented musicians), but it wasn’t long before fans got wind that they were being conned. Their tour collapsed and the Fake Fleetwood Mac were no more!
In 1975, Fleetwood Mac released their tenth album as a band, which was their first to reach the number 1 spot in the US. But the success wouldn’t stop there. Rumours was released in 1977 to a wave of critical acclaim and popularity. There’s no doubt that all of us will at some point have enjoyed listening to one of the albums many top 10 singles, including “Go Your Own Way”, “Dreams”, “You Make Loving Fun” and “Don’t Stop”. Rumours sold over 40 million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. It also won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1978!
Perhaps a reason that Rumours resonated with so many was due to the circumstances in which it was written. All members of the band were going through some personal crises during the recording – relationships and marriages between the band members were ending and breaking down - but they continued to write and record these songs. This is clearly reflected in the lyrics of the tunes. We wanted to honour this golden era of Fleetwood Mac by including a Rumours tune in the brand new Rockschool Vocals syllabus. You can find “Don’t Stop” in the Grade 5 syllabus, out now!
The band line up would continue to change over the coming years, with the successful line up reuniting occasionally for special events. To this day, Fleetwood Mac have sold more than 120 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. They’ve been awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, of course!
We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about this chaotic but absolutely astounding band. They join an incredible line up of musicians on the new Rockschool Vocals syllabus, including 2021 legend Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and Marvin Gaye.