Fleetwood Mac press photo
(Danny Clinch)
Home » Fleetwood Mac’s 10 Most Pivotal Moments

Fleetwood Mac’s 10 Most Pivotal Moments

Fleetwood Mac’s recent reunion with formerly retired vocalist/keyboardist Christine McVie marks just another notable transformation with the hybrid U.K./U.S. pop rock band. The value of having all of the members of Fleetwood Mac’s heyday on stage in Miami this weekend will not be lost on the hardcore fans of the band. In a recent interview with Miami New Times, drummer and founding member Mick Fleetwood said, “Not in a million years would I have ever thought, including Christine herself, that she would have ever been standing up there to my right on stage, playing in this band again, so it’s a real sort of … mythological situation that we have right now.”

The myth began in London, in the summer of 1967, before Fleetwood even new who McVie was and certainly prior to the membership of singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, both Americans who joined the band in 1974.

Here are Fleetwood Mac’s ten most pivotal moments, from the band’s formation and lineup changes to Rumours and reunions.


John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

Fleetwood Mac were a product of the early 1960s English blues scene forged by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Guitarist/vocalist Green left the Bluesbreakers to form Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac in 1967. He took Bluesbreakers drummer Fleetwood and bassist John McVie with him, hence the Fleetwood and Mac in the band’s name. Fleetwood says the earliest beginnings of Fleetwood Mac came from the DNA of the Bluesbreakers, and reflects fondly on the guitar playing of his band’s former leader. “If you listen to ‘Supernatural,’” he says, “which was early Peter Green, one of the first things he ever wrote, to my knowledge, and John Mayall allowed him to put it on a John Mayall album, it’s beautiful. It’s stunningly simple.”


Fleetwood Mac’s first U.K. number one was the 1968 instrumental “Albatross,” which marked the band’s first departure in its sound. Fleetwood says Green was channeling Hawaiian lapsteel players Santo and Johnny. “‘Albatross’ was like an alien slipping into our milieu,” says the drummer, “into all this hard-driving blues material that we were prone to be doing then, and when it happened, it confused a lot of the people that listened to Fleetwood Mac. It was almost too much medicine of a strange type.”

Peter Green Leaves

After a hit UK album in 1969 with Then Play On, Green reportedly left the group for religious reasons. But there were also rumors. One story had it that Green took a job as a gravedigger. It was later revealed Green became a casualty of the era’s LSD culture. Music author Anthony Bozza, who co-wrote Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac: The Autobiography with Fleetwood explains, “He had a mental breakdown … sort of the onset of mental problems and drugs and stuff and had mental issues brought on by LSD abuse, like Syd Barrett in Pink Floyd.” The closest Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac got to another success like “Albatross” was the 1970 single “The Green Manalishi,” whose title spurred rumors of that spiritual rediscovery by Green.

Christine Perfect

Former Chicken Shack keyboardist/singer Christine McVie, née Perfect, joined the band in 1970 after having married Fleetwood Mac bassist, John McVie. Around that time she recorded keyboard parts and even painted the cover for the band’s fourth album, Kiln House. She began writing and co-writing songs for the band on their fifth album, 1971’s Future Games, which revealed a shift away from blues and more towards folk-pop. “Show Me a Smile,” which was written by Ms. McVie, is a nice hybrird of blues and folk.


American Blood

Bob Welch was first American in the band and joined soon after McVie became a full-time member. He hailed from California. Bozza calls this an interim period for Fleetwood Mac but still very important to that band. “That era is very fascinating because it lays the groundwork for the sound that Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks just kind of walked into and made a lot richer,” says the writer. “It opened up the possibility of what else this band could do besides being just this incredible blues band, which they were before.” Welch actually wrote most of the songs on the band’s eighth album Mystery to Me. “Hypnotized” became a staple on FM radio in 1973.

A Lost Identity

Depending on which of the early 1970s Fleetwood Mac albums you pick up, they could sound like blues, folk pop or mainstream rock. But the most nefarious change came when a former manager created a fake Fleetwood Mac after the band started falling apart due to affairs and alcohol abuse. Their most famous member was guitarist/vocalist Elmer Gantry who later joined The Alan Parsons Project. After playing a few shows under the premise that Fleetwood and Christine McVie would join them, they were stopped by lawyers. Gantry and guitarist Kirby Gregory went on to form the band Stretch, whose 1975 single “Why Did You Do It” was inspired by their time as the decoy Mac.

Buckingham and Nicks

Stretch can have that cheesy 1975 UK semi-hit. In late 1974, Welch left but Fleetwood discovered guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham who agreed to join the group if he could bring his then girlfriend Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks with him. The result was a self-titled album in 1975 often referred to as “the White Album.” It featured the dreamy, driving hit single, penned by Nicks, “Rhiannon.”


After a long world tour that added more difficult experiences of interpersonal relationships, the band wrote and recorded their 1977 hit album Rumours. The songs were inspired by the complexities of love and the difficulties heartache. The most literal track is the Buckingham song “Go Your Own Way,” inspired by his difficult relationship with Nicks. As hard as life was in the band, it produced several hit singles. Everyone knows most of the hits, but one notable outtake from the Rumours sessions was “Silver Springs,” by Nicks, featuring stalkery lyrics on an existential level: “Time casts a spell on you, but you won’t forget me … You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.”

Buckingham Leaves
There were more terrific albums since. Though Tusk (1979) and Mirage (1982) have many merits, the bar had been set with Rumours. After the band’s hit 1987 album Tango In the Night and as another grueling tour loomed, Buckingham announced his departure. He had argued that his creativity was being stifled, but Bozza notes a bigger, more personal issue: “He didn’t want to be around Nicks and McVie who were still very much on the substances, and Lindsey wasn’t, and he told them later he didn’t want to see them destroy themselves.” In 1990, Fleetwood Mac went on to record an album without Buckingham, Behind the Mask, that produced the low-ranking top 40 single “Save Me.”

You Name It

There were clearly more transformations in the line-up, though by this point, the band’s sound was secured as adult contemporary pop rock. Fleetwood says, “Really, everyone, other than John and myself, has left this band. Lindsey was first to go, and he was gone, unbelievably – I thought it was only like three years, but he was gone for like 12 years or something, and then eventually Stevie and Chris stayed for a while and then they left, Stevie first, and then Chris left after we had reformed to do The Dance [ in 1997]. So it’s an unbelievably crazy story.”

Fleetwood Mac’s On With The Show Tour . 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; aaarena.com. Tickets cost $46.50 to $176.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. All ages.

 Hans Morgenstern / Miami New Times / Thursday, March 19, 2015


LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton