Fleetwood Mac Profile:
Formed: 1967 in London, England
Although Fleetwood Mac is primarily known worldwide as the groundbreaking, chart-topping pop-rock band featuring Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the band's history is actually quite different. Led by guitarist Peter Green, the band made a name for itself as a psychedelic-drenched, hard blues band inspired by Cream and Jimi Hendrix that, in turn, would influence a spate of bands during the 1970s.
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Guitarist Peter Green and drummer Mick Fleetwood left John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to form Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with temporary bassist Bob Brunning; Bluesbreakers bassist John McVie joined later. The band added slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer and subsequently released its debut album in 1968. A mix of original songs and blues covers, the album became a commercial success in the U.K., spending a year on the charts.
Adding a third guitarist in Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac followed with the Mr. Wonderful album in 1969. Fulfilling a dream, the band traveled to Chicago in 1969 and recorded Fleetwood Mac In Chicago with blues legends Otis Spann, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Buddy Guy, and Willie Dixon. With the band's third album, Then Play On, they began drifting away from blues and blues-rock towards rock, folk, and pop sounds.
A Gradual Evolution
Peter Green had begun a downward spiral into mental illness, and he would leave the band in 1970. Fleetwood Mac released the pop-oriented Kiln House in 1970, recruiting singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Christine Perfect to join the band. While on tour in February 1971, Spencer went out to "get a magazine," and never came back, joining a religious cult. Green helped his old bandmates finish the tour, but Bob Welch was later brought in as the band's second guitarist.
After several roster changes and legal challenges, Fleetwood Mac added guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks in 1975. The pair completed what would be the most commercially successful of the band's many line-ups, issuing their smash self-titled album later that year, and the blockbuster Rumours in 1977. By this time, the band in no way resembled the blues-rock juggernaut it had been a decade earlier.
Recommended Albums: The first album, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, is one of the few places to hear the band's original blues-rock sound.