The End of the Road? My Journey with Fleetwood Mac

Warning: Other than the title, this blog post is not about travel. It is about my long term devotion to the group Fleetwood Mac. If you’re a fan, or you want to learn about the band, you may enjoy this. If not, you’ll probably be happier back in the Travel Blogs section!  😊

Fleetwood Mac Rumours Back

John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie   Fleetwood Mac circa 1976

Back in the early to mid 1970s, my musical tastes were what some might call “white bread”: Cher’s Half-Breed, John Denver’s Greatest Hits, and Olivia Newton-John’s Have You Never Been Mellow were among my favorite albums back then. OK, so I was not exactly one of the “cool kids” during my adolescence, but that changed one day in the spring of 1975 when a song, called Over My Head, hit the airwaves. It was by a group I’d never heard of before called Fleetwood Mac, from an album simply titled, Fleetwood Mac. Now, mind you, the lush vocals of singer Christine McVie and the soft-rock tempo of the song did not make for exactly “edgy” music, but there was something new and fresh about this group, which featured three singer-songwriters who took turns on lead vocals.  Stevie Nicks swirled across stages draped in black chiffon singing the haunting story of a Welsh witch, RhiannonLindsey Buckingham provided the solid, rock-oriented Monday Morning, and McVie sang the bouncy Say You Love Me, with Lindsey and Stevie providing infectious background vocals and harmonies. It was impossible to get tired of the album because the voices and songwriting styles of each of the three songwriters were so different; it was like three albums rolled into one. By that summer, I was totally hooked and this album was the musical centerpiece of the summer of 1975 for me. Given the album’s huge popularity,  for the first time in my musical life I was met with looks of camaraderie instead of pity when asked what my favorite album was!

I learned that Fleetwood Mac had been around for several years, but with a variety of different guitarists and vocalists on almost every album. When Buckingham and Nicks joined founding members Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass), and John’s wife, keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie in 1975, it was the first time that the band achieved such widespread success. Who‘d have guessed that the long awaited second release by these five people, 1977’s Rumours, would spawn four Top 10 hits, catapult the band to an unthinkable level of popularity and would reside among the top selling albums of all time? Rumours was at the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for over 30 weeks. As the album was being recorded, band members Christine and John McVie were in the midst of a divorce, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were ending their long term relationship, and Mick Fleetwood was divorcing his wife. The music was powered by this emotionally charged atmosphere. In Dreams, Stevie Nicks sang to Lindsey, “Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom… In Go Your Own Way he responded with, “If I could, maybe I’d give you my world. How can I when you won’t take it from me?”  Meanwhile, Christine McVie beamed about a new love interest in You Make Loving Fun and said goodbye to her broken relationship and wished all of the band members love in the poignant Songbird. Another famous track, The Chain, became one of the band’s signature songs because it was jointly created by all the members and represented their determination to stay together despite all the turmoil. They defiantly sing the refrain,  “I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain.”

I was in college then, and was steeped in the world of Fleetwood Mac. I saw them in concert in Boston, I purchased many a Fleetwood Mac t-shirt, and even adopted the CB radio handle “Fleetwood Matt” as I chatted with truckers and ham radio operators across the airwaves. I was fanatical in my love for this band, and because of their enormous popularity, I didn’t have to hide my adoration for them in the way I’d had to for Olivia Newton-John or Cher.

After 4 years of listening to the glossy, impeccably crafted tunes of Fleetwood Mac and Rumours, I eagerly awaited their next album, and at long last a new single was released in 1979. I heard Tusk one day on the radio and when I told a friend who had yet to hear it, he excitedly asked, “So, is it a Stevie Nicks song? Or is it Christine? Lindsey?”  I had to answer that I really didn’t know! For those of you have not heard it, Tusk is a bizarre mix of barking dogs, random shouting, African-sounding drums, the USC Trojan Marching Band, and a strange, guttural vocal that sounded sort of like Lindsey, though the women could be heard in there too somehow. This was perhaps the Mac’s most controversial record, a double album of 20 tracks, labeled by critics as “experimental” at best and as just plain  “odd” at worst. Lindsey Buckingham had taken creative control over this album and was being blamed for its ‘failure”, as It was not the whopping success that Rumours had been, selling a “mere” 4 million copies or so. But to me, it is the band’s masterpiece, and for the last 40 years I’ve probably played at least a couple of songs from it every week. The title song, which was one of Lindsey’s, grew on me considerably after a few listens, but beyond that there was Sara by Stevie Nicks, which induces a beautifully melancholy, trance-like state for six and a half minutes. I’d park down at the beach and play her ballad, Storms, pensively thinking about life as she sings the lyrics, “So I try to say goodbye, my friend. I’d like to leave you with something warm. But never have I been a blue calm sea… I’ve always been a storm.” I’d drive home on a snowy night listening to Christine’s dreamy Over and Over and imagine sitting by a crackling fireplace with someone I loved, watching the snow falling outside. Lindsey made me laugh with Not That Funny and provided all sorts of wonderful backing vocals and guitar riffs on Christine’s Think About Me and Stevie’s Angel. After all these decades, I still think it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever heard  by anyone, period.

Over the next few years, Fleetwood Mac would vanish for awhile and come back with something new when you least expected it. There was a Live album in 1980 and then Mirage in 1982, which contained probably one of my favorite songs of all time, Gypsy by Stevie Nicks. In grad school a group of friends and I played the fantasy role playing game, Dungeons and Dragons on a weekly basis for almost a year, and my character was a Druid witch named Rhiannon, whose spell incantations featured haunting lines from a variety of Stevie Nicks’ songs. I painted portraits of Stevie and even sold some of my work to avid fans at local flea markets and fairs. I wasn’t just a fan; I was a fanatic.

As the 80s progressed, Stevie, Lindsey and Christine all released solo albums that were met with varying levels of success, with Stevie’s work experiencing the greatest popularity. While there were some great songs on all of these records, I always thought to myself, “This song would have been so much better if it was a Fleetwood Mac song rather than a solo number.” Something about the chemistry among these five people elevated the music to a whole new level. Truly, the whole was greater than the sum of its very talented parts.

The group experienced rocky waters as the 1980s came to a close, with Stevie Nicks dealing with addiction and the group beginning to splinter. After 1987’s Tango in the Night, Lindsey left the band, citing both his seemingly unappreciated efforts to produce that album with little help from the others and his dismay at watching both Stevie and Mick losing their souls to cocaine. He was replaced by not one, but two guitarists and vocalists, which is of course a testament to his amazing abilities. It was sad for me to see him go, but truly, Stevie was still my favorite member of the band and so I still enjoyed 1990’s Behind the Mask, despite Lindsey’s absence. And then, Stevie quit the band, the two new guitarists were out, Christine McVie was arm-wrestled into recording a few tracks for the 1994 album, Time and then she also quit. A totally new and rather forgettable line up replaced Buckingham, Nicks and McVie. The chain had very definitely been broken.

Fleetwood-Mac-1987

Fleetwood Mac in the Tango in the Night era

Ten long years passed with nothing new from the band except for some solo releases by the various members and an exciting but brief reunion of the Rumours line-up to perform Don’t Stop at President Clinton’s inauguration gala in January, 1993. Despite their long absence, Fleetwood Mac had remained my favorite group, and truly, not a week went by without me playing something by them. Their music had become part of my life’s soundtrack, and so many events and relationships in my life are associated with particular songs.

And then, in 1997, by some strange alignment of the stars, the original “Rumours Five” reunited to do a series of concert tours that were captured on a new, live album and DVD set called The Dance. The album shot to #1 on the charts and is among the top 10 best selling live albums of all time. The band looked and sounded amazing, taking us on a trip down memory lane through new, revitalized versions of all their best songs. Say You Love Me shines, featuring Lindsey on banjo and in the DVD, the whole band stands in a line at the front of the stage singing and playing together. I think this version may be even better than the original. Lindsey’s work on The Dance made me sit up and take notice of just how talented a man he is, with show-stopping acoustic guitar work and vocals on Big Love and Bleed to Love Her.  For old time’s sake, both Tusk and Don’t Stop featured a guest appearance by the USC Marching Band, while an older and wiser Stevie Nicks sang about getting even older and wiser in fantastic renditions of Landslide and Gypsy, with brilliant guitar accompaniment by Lindsey.  Perhaps the most amazing track is Stevie’s Silver Springs, a gem from 1976 about her break-up with Lindsey that was omitted from Rumours due to a lack of space. The interplay between Nicks and Buckingham is enough to give you the chills as the song comes to its dramatic climax, with Stevie glaring at him and virtually shouting the words, “You will never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you!”  I have rarely been a fan of live concert recordings, but the quality of the production on this one results in a fantastic album.

Fleetwood Mac The Dance

Fleetwood Mac with another #1 Album: The Dance

So Fleetwood Mac was back again, and all was right with my musical world… until Christine McVie decided to retire at the end of the tour, leaving the band a foursome that returned to hibernation another five years until the release of Say You Will in 2003. It was an excellent album with some great new material, including the very poignant Lindsey tune, Say Goodbye, which to this day makes me cry. But something seemed lacking without Christine’s earthy balance. One of the best songs on the album, Lindsey’s Steal Your Heart Away, features some previously recorded backing vocals by Christine, and that full, rich Fleetwood Mac sound is there, if only for an instant.

Other than a four song mini- album and more solo releases, Fleetwood Mac was gone again for another 11 years until Christine decided she was bored with retirement and wanted to return to the group. They began a reunion tour and I was lucky enough to see them in Boston. They were all getting a bit “long in the tooth” by now, and Christine’s vocals sounded weakened by age and perhaps her long hiatus from singing. Stevie also struggled with the high notes and often dropped an octave or two, but still made the crowd go wild as she did one of her famous twirls at the end of Gypsy. Lindsey, the youngest of the band members still had his infectious energy, and the show was a nearly three-hour long reunion with old friends.

As the tour came to an end, there was talk that Lindsey and Christine had begun co-writing a few songs for a new Fleetwood Mac album, and were waiting for Stevie to finish a solo tour so she could contribute to the new record. But as more time passed, it became clear that Stevie wasn’t interested, and in interviews she stated that she didn’t want to record new music anymore because of internet piracy and the fact that records no long make any money. To say that I was disappointed in her was an understatement; a perfect way to end the band’s legacy would have been for these five amazing folks to record one last album together, a gift that fans would treasure always. Now that seemed unlikely to happen.

Ultimately, Christine and Lindsey, backed by Mick and John released a duet album called Buckingham McVie in 2017. Some of the songs on this album, especially Red Sun, Lay Down for Free and In My World would have been at home on any previous Fleetwood Mac album, and I loved it, though again was plagued by that nagging thought, “Now if there were three or four of Stevie’s songs on this album and her backing vocals on some of the other tracks, this would be awesome!” My disappointment in Stevie’s absence from this album was reflected in one of Lindsey’s songs, On With the Show. His lyrics, “As long as I stand I will take your hand, I will stand with my band, stand with my band. There’s nowhere to go but on down the road… let’s get on with the show…” I was touched by his resolve to keep the band together and forge ahead, and while it felt like Stevie had for all intents and purposes left the band, he was hopeful that one day Stevie would reconsider and come back to the fold. Little did I know how strangely ironic these lyrics would become.

In early 2018 news broke that Fleetwood Mac would be going out on tour again in the fall, but almost immediately the tour was canceled and we heard that Lindsey had “left” the group. Mick and Stevie appeared on TV, citing a disagreement over when to start the tour and claiming that Lindsey wanted a delay so he could finish a solo project. The band, they said, wasn’t willing to wait. In a case of déjà vu all over again, they hired two new guitarists/vocalists to “replace” Lindsey: Mike Campbell, a former member of Tom Petty’s band, and Neil Finn, a former member of Crowded House. This new iteration of the band appeared on Ellen and performed a dreadfully lackluster version of Gypsy and an almost sacrilegious rendition of The Chain that lacked any energy or emotion. All it proved was that Fleetwood Mac should NEVER have broken that chain.

Things got more complicated when Lindsey shared his side of the story, which to me, sounded a lot closer to the truth than what the band members had said. He claimed that he’d agreed to postpone his solo work (as he has done many times) to tour with the band, but despite this, Stevie had given the band an ultimatum. The band’s manager called Lindsey and simply said, “The tour is off. Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again”. Lindsey, assuming that Stevie was leaving the band, shot e-mails and phone messages out to the rest for the band to reassure them that they could regroup and move forward together (“I will stand with my band…”), but got no responses at all until their manager finally called him back and said, “You don’t understand. You’re the one who’s fired.”

Why Stevie made such a move and why the other band members betrayed Lindsey in this way has been the subject of many theories and rumours.  Some say that while she was giving an overly long speech at a music awards show, Lindsey “smirked” behind her back. In reality, as the speech wore on, Mick and Christine kept looking at their watches and laughing and then began to slow dance together behind Stevie’s back. Lindsey then asked John to dance, but was playfully rebuffed. Others claim that Stevie, grief-stricken over her friend Tom Petty’s death, wanted Mike Campbell to join the Mac and Lindsey said no, so she chose Mike over him. News also leaked that the decision to fire Lindsey was made without Christine and that when she was told, she tried to quit the band out of loyalty to Lindsey, but was persuaded (or threatened) into staying. Later she stated that she agreed with the decision and that things between “certain members of the band” were so bad, there was no other choice than to fire Lindsey. Of course, no one but these five people knows the actual truth, but Lindsey filed a lawsuit against the band for wrongful termination, and while the band announced that they looked forward to their day in court, they immediately settled the lawsuit out of court and paid Lindsey about $12 million. This suggests to me they did not really want their day in court after all and that they were lying through their teeth when they claimed the issue was a tour schedule conflict.

Lindsey went out on a critically acclaimed solo tour, while what has been referred to by angry fans as “Fakewood Mac” or a “Fleetwood Mac cover band” went on their tour at the same time. Supposedly ticket sales have been good (some speculate that many people didn’t even know of Lindsey’s firing until after buying tickets; others say that younger fans are unaware of the band’s history and didn’t care so much about Lindsey being replaced). But concert reviews have been mixed. As a fan for 43 years, I can say that almost every single YouTube video I’ve seen of their concert performances has bordered on embarrassingly bad. The band looks tired, there is no energy or chemistry, and that becomes even more obvious when they perform some of Lindsey’s songs. Why they need to do Lindsey’s songs at all is a mystery to me,  since Nicks and McVie have more than enough songs to fill a concert and performing Lindsey’s songs like Second Hand News and Monday Morning after kicking him to the curb seems cruel. But Neil Finn, delivering angry lyrics written by Lindsey to Stevie 40 years ago, all with a Kiwi accent and a more mellow vocal style just does not work. It’s frankly, a disaster.

The last straw came when news broke that Lindsey had undergone emergency open heart surgery, resulting in damaged vocal chords. While he is slowly recovering, his professional future is in doubt, Both his father and brother died of heart problems at young ages, indicating a  genetic issue, but many speculate that the year of hell Fleetwood Mac’s actions put him through sure didn’t help prevent this problem. Publicly the band posted a generic “Thoughts and prayers are with Lindsey” social media message and at a recent concert Stevie mentioned something vague and silly about sending fairy dust his way, before launching into emotional tributes to the deceased Tom Petty and song dedications to anyone else BUT Lindsey. Fans have divided into two distinct and polarized camps of those who support Stevie and blame Lindsey for everything, and those who stand with Lindsey and are furious with Stevie for orchestrating all of this. Surprisingly, despite having been such a devoted fan of Stevie’s for so long now, I have to say that I stand with Lindsey.

I guess it’s difficult for anyone who isn’t a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac to understand how these developments have affected me. For 43 years, Stevie Nicks was my favorite vocalist, bar none. Fleetwood Mac has played on my car stereo incessantly. Now, I’m struggling to even look at Stevie’s face and I have zero interest in the band’s current tour. I am profoundly disappointed in what these people have done to someone who played a gigantic role in keeping the band together all these years, who gave his heart and soul to craft the band’s unique sound, and to help make his bandmates’ work shine through his remarkable production skills. And of course, his vocals and guitar work are an integral part of the music which not even two replacements can come close to replicating.

I guess loyalty means a great deal to me, and the band’s lack of it is unforgivable. This is especially true given that when the band needed a new guitarist back in 1975 and asked Lindsey to join, he refused unless they accepted his girlfriend and singing partner, Stevie into the band as well. Of course it was her stage presence and unique voice and song writing ability that helped rocket the band to success, but without Lindsey’s ultimatum to the band back then and his beautiful way of helping shape and develop her songs, we might never have heard of Stevie Nicks. Now for her to destroy the band’s legacy by first refusing to record a last album with them and then depriving fans of one last chance to see them all together on tour again, it’s left me deeply sad and angry. I only wish I had managed to see Lindsey’s solo concert last year and I pray that he makes a full recovery and gets back out on the road again soon.

I could not bring myself to attend a show by the new version of the band if you paid me, and I’m totally disinterested in anything new they might record together in the future (Oh yes, Stevie now says she’s open to making a record with the new band!) That I can no longer follow the band’s future from here on is bad enough, but given what has transpired, I only hope I can keep my anger and disappointment over what has happened from destroying my love for the music that has been such a comfort to me for the majority of my life. Otherwise, I may just have reached the end of the very long road I’ve traveled with Fleetwood Mac.

62 thoughts on “The End of the Road? My Journey with Fleetwood Mac

    • My story too!!! My devotion to the band goes way back to their formation by Peter Green with their great anthems Albatross and Black Magic Woman. Totally disgusted and disappointed in Stevie as she has always been my rock heroine. Not anymore. I agree with everything you have said as you have said it all for me.

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      • Thanks so much, Jan! I too went back through past FM music and love some of the early stuff too, especially Bare Trees and Mystery to Me. Sometimes I play that stuff to forget the current mess…

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    • Matt. This is brilliant. I got goose bumps at the end. You told my story perfectly. People could not think of me and not think of my crazy obsession with Stevie and fm. And now like you I can’t even look at her picture without feeling anger. I too can hope one day I can enjoy the music again. I also refused to go see this tour for the first time since 1982. they lost so many loyal decade old fm fans over this. The tour brought out many casual fans. Stevie fans that blame Lindsey and crowded house /tpetty fans. It must of been weird energy. The only thing I also heard was Karen Johnston had a lot to do with the fight at music cares. Supposedly the band was suppose to walk out with chain and Karen and Stevie changed it to Rhiannon to upset Lindsey. I believe when Tom died she wanted mike In and Lindsey out. Stevie went out of her way to create cause for the firing. The thing that gets me the most is after throwing him to the curb she goes on tv and lies to the public to get support for her. That is extremely dirty and low. Her true color came out and it’s black as coal and I can no longer turn a blind eye. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Just brilliant 👍👍👍

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      • Yep, that just about sums her up for me too. Stevie completely lacks any empathy, gratitude for what Lindsey gave her, and basic respect for all that is honorable and right. All her incessant talk about being a loving, caring, thoughtful person – the kind of talk she is so fond of conveying – is about as fake as a nine dollar bill – now we can see her truth colours. I can’t stand what she did to Lindsey when her entire career rests upon his legacy as much as it does about her own talent too. She’s betrayed decency and has no humility either. What of her speeches too – both at Musicares and the more recent Induction into R&RHOF speech? I agree with those that say that they are rambling, boring and eye-bal. rolling. When one listens to them, the whole world smirks behind her back.

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    • It’s like he read my mind. I thought I was the only one who felt this way, I’m glad I’m not alone. I’d rather watch videos of the cover band, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, at least they they are faithful to the music. I would pay to see THEM.

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  1. OMG That is my story , you said it all! This story is exactly how my life has been for all these years. I only wish Stevie and the others could read your story. But I find it hard to imagine that they would have any regrets they could care less about Lindsay at this point they have proved that, Stevie should be f….king ashamed of herself! I to don’t listen to them anymore. I always thought Stevie could never do anything that would make me dislike her but sadly she has she has broke the chain and now it’s too late to try to mend what’s been shattered, well Stevie is it over now do you know how to pick up the pieces and go home…… your old and tired get off your high horse it’s over and soon you will come to know that.

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  2. Wow. what a great write up. It captured exactly how I feel. If I had the talent I would have written it. There is nothing in the article that I could say that I didn’t feel that way. My thoughts are all right there

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  3. Very well said, Matt. Fleetwood Mac has been my favorite band for 41 years, but my heart is broken by the way they’ve treated Lindsey. No way I would go to one of their shows now. I just have to accept that the “magic five fireflies” is something that existed, but is gone now and will never come again. It’s like getting over a relationship.

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  4. Matt, I too stand with Lindsey, but went to see F.M. for the very last time. Mixed emotions to say the least. Lots of 20 to 30 somethings in attendance. Did some buy on the cheap from old time fans selling at the last moment? I suspect a fair amount did sell their tickets. I didn’t clap for any Lindsey songs, feeling the burn of them ripping him off. I gave an understated 2 claps on the other songs and a good round of applause for the Crowded House cover. People had their phone lights on and sang along. It was the nicest moment of the concert. The Tom Petty tribute was listened to in the ladies room and we keft in the middle of the final drowsy Christine Stevie duet. It dawned on me sadly that this was the last time I woukd ever be seing Stevie live again. She gets inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF in a couple of days and looked especially gorgeous and seemed happy. Inside was was disappointed and angry with her. She too has been my all time favorite vocalist, male or female, and to be this upset with her is truly devastating. So, I go back to having mixed feelings. I saw Lindsey in DC on his solo tour and he was truly magical. i still feel high from seeing him. I cried at the end thinking this might be my very last time I see him in concert. It tells me where my heart is. Get well beautiful, talented man! Your fans love you.

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  5. a fellow fan since Tango and I feel exactly the same way, nothing could get me to see Fleetwood Mac now without Lindsey, my favorite band of over 30 years and someone decides to change the dynamic so cruelly as the band approaches their swansong, just to think we ‘nearly’ got a new album and tour with new music, but someone had other ideas, On With The Show was so close, but ultimately dashed by some insane desire to have friends in the band that pays tribute to a non-member on the band, whilst the musical architect and driving force is convalescing at home due to a broken heart.

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  6. Hi Matt, Just read your story. It is similar to mine in that, once I discovered and fell in love with Fleetwood Mac (with Rumours – when I first heard I Don’t Want To Know, I drove to the mall, grabbed a copy, saw that song was on the album and bam! I was hooked), Stevie Nicks was the focal point for me. I loved the band as a whole, but this Stevie Nicks was becoming one of my all-time favorite artists. I’ve been through all of the same things you describe above, although if I’m being honest, before all of the garbage that happened about a year ago, I really started loving/appreciating Lindsey Buckingham, maybe even more so, or at least, as much as Stevie, in the past two decades. Some of his melodies bring tears to my eyes. (Steal Your Heart Away, On With The Show, Say Goodbye to same a few). Lindsey made Stevie’s songs sound magical. I can’t believe Gypsy would have been the song I love had it been on a solo Stevie album. I have no problem calling Lindsey Buckingham a musical genius. I have always bought all of the solo albums and I went to see Fleetwood Mac when Christine was no longer part of the band. I still enjoyed the concert, because both Stevie and Lindsey were there, but when Christine rejoined the band, I was happy to see the band that I’d fallen in love with in concert in what would turn out to be one last time. I will not go see Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey or Stevie, but after what’s happened, I’m so angry at Stevie for what she’s done, according to what Lindsey says Irving Azoff told him, I don’t honestly know if I’d go see the Classic Five even if they did reunite. Like you say, we don’t know what happened between the five and they can say whatever they want until what they say has been challenged. But it sounds like Mick and Stevie’s story turned out to not be true that LB wanted to push back the tour (if he did, he changed his plans to be able to tour with The Mac). Then he sues them (and I don’t blame him). But all of this is so sad to me, a longtime fan. I am one of the “I stand with Lindsey” crowd. I saw him last October and it was a wonderful, heartfelt show. The audience let him know they really appreciated him. I hope he recovers enough to get back out there and make records, tour and do whatever else makes him happy. I’m not saying he’s a choir boy, but the way this has all played out, I don’t feel like I’ll ever NOT be angry at Stevie. I don’t really feel she’s given the truth and I would still be willing to hear what she has to say, if she ever wanted to give her side of the story. I want to be happy for her induction into the RNR Hall of Fame as the first woman to have ever been inducted twice, but I’m just not feeling it. I’m not happy with the others in the band either, but Stevie has really disappointed me.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I hope more die hard Mac fans see your story and respond. I understand completely where you’re coming from.

    ~Gloria

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  7. Great writing. I’m on the same page as you and have been over the years. I stand with LB. You captured everything so perfectly. I thought I was the only one who was having issues for not liking Nicks like I always have. It’s over. So sad. Loved this post, Matt. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  8. Thank you, Matt. My feelings are the same as yours. I suppose Lindsey was bossy in the studio but evidently Stevie has proven herself to be his equal, at the expense of the old time FM fans.

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    • I’m sure Lindsey was not the easiest to work with, as he is a perfectionist, but of course the results of that speak for themselves in the music. There was a never a question of whether Stevie was vital to the band’s success. But I think Lindsey’s importance was overlooked, by fans as well as the other band members.

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  9. Extremely well-put. You’ve basically taken my feelings and put them to words. I went into Fleetwood Mac in the early 80s through the Stevie Nicks door and over time Lindsey’s nagging talent kept pulling me his way.

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  10. i’m a huge Mac fan and have been for many years. Also huge fan of Stevie and Lindsey’s solo work. And I loved Buckingham McVie and saw them live as well.
    I was uncertain and sceptical how the band would be live (I’ve seen them quite a few times and was lucky enough to meet Mick once) without LB but was pleasantly surprised. I thought they were amazing and full of life and energy. I was particularly amazed by Stevie’s voice — it sounded fantastic. Everyone seemed excited to be performing together. There weren’t any inflated egos present that I could see.
    We all have a right to our opinion but Stevie and Lindsey’s feuding has been going on for decades. She put up with it for a long time and then got to the age where she didn’t want the negative energy in her life.
    This isn’t really about us, as much as I wish Lindsey was still in the band and they continued to release new material. I’m simply thankful to see talented musicians who still love what they do on stage at this point in their career.
    I’m even thinking of going a second time when they return to Toronto next month.
    For what it’s worth, I say give them a chance. You may be surprised. Hard to base an opinion on performances on tape (I’d say that about all of their shows through the years, unless they’re taped properly for broadcast by professionals).
    And if you don’t, all good. Just know that none of us know the exact details or history that brought the band to their big decision.
    I wish LB a speedy recovery and hope they’ll all be reunited on stage at some point — they’re magical together. I also hope the new lineup records an album. As well as other solos by SN and LB as well. Only time will tell. Until then, I’ll make my own mix of FM and solo albums to fill the lack of fresh tunes.

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    • My thoughts exactly Drew. While I was shocked and devastated when I heard about Lindsey being let go I also know he can be difficult to work with. When I saw Fleetwood Mac late last year they sounded great and you can see they truly love what they do. None of us know what really happened and I suspect it must have been pretty major. Although I could be wrong but I can’t imagine Fleetwood Mac suddenly, without cause, letting Lindsey go.

      I do hope the Rumours 5 perform again together someday. I pray Lindsey is on his way to a full recovery and his voice heals and is better than ever.

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  11. They are also my all time favorite band but because of Lindsey Buckingham! I first saw them together in 1975 and have only missed one tour out of all of them . Mr Buckingham is my all time favorite musician hands down! He is so great on the guitar and being self taught it is even so much more impressive! No one plays like he does and his voice is so strong it could fill up a whole concert hall on his own. He was the one that Mick Fleetwood wanted and he would not join until he was able to bring her with! I also think tusk is a masterpiece , my favorite song is I know I’m not wrong. Glad I saw his last solo tour as I also saw every one of those also. I pray that he recovers fully . I would go just to see him play his turner guitars if that is what it comes down to ! Saw Stevie nicks first solo tour and that was the only one! In their prime they were a great band, never saw them without Lindsey Buckingham and never will!

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  12. I have been a fan since the JFK stadium show In Philadelphia in 1978 at 16 years of age. I initially was a Stevie Nick’s fan based on her live performance abilities and her sexy look. Over the years I grew to appreciate lindsey’s talent both on stage and in the studio. Ironically Stevie’s best work was in Fleetwood Mac because Lindsey has helped shape and refine her music. My favorite album is Tusk , a masterpiece produced by Lindsey. The musical chemistry of Buckingham Nick’s is unmatched. The three part harmonies with Christine on Honey Hi give me the chills. Lindsey has clearly become the MVP of Fleetwood Mac. The fact that Stevie owes her career to Lindsey due to the package deal of him joining Fleetwood Mac. There was no allegience on her part. I suspected her all along of being behind Lindsey’s firing due to all of her talking on the CBS morning show. I am most of all angry at Stevie Nick’s lie about being just one member in the band and not being the boss( a real democracy). The ultimatum should have left Stevie as a solo act. It would have been nice to see a Lindsey/ Christine led Fleetwood Mac. Mick Fleetwood would have never allowed this because of Stevie’s drawing power and Mick’ s financial nightmares. I boycotted the 1987 Mac tour and also this current tour. STEVIE HAS BROKEN THE CHAIN!

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  13. I could not agree more. I lost all respect for all the members, especially Mick and Stevie. I always loved this band, all the way back to Peter Green. I do not enjoy the old stuff any more. I will never support this “band” again. Thank you very holding the space and letting me voice my opinion.

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  14. Great analysis!.I too have been a fan since a 1978 Philadelphia JFK stadium concert in 1978. I could not bring myself to pay$230 to this bogus band currently out on tour. Lindsey was always the MVP of the band . I too was a big Nick’s fan but I am so angry at her lack of loyalty to Lindsey and her total dishonesty how the firing went down. No respect given to Lindsey by all of the band members. Mick Fleetwood acts if Lindsey is any old guitar player and therefore replaceable. NO LINDSEY NO FLEETWOOD MAC!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Couldn’t agree more with all you say, Matt. Your sentiments and conclusions appear to be echoed by a huge number of “real” fans who can only hope and pray that Lindsey makes it through this nightmare and emerges, integrity intact, to live his life however that brings him joy. And that Christine, who it feels is somehow trapped between her emotions and legal/practical realities, can do the right thing at the end of this tour by coming clean.
    The whole thing has been desperately sad and seemingly unnecessary…

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  16. Couldn’t agree more. Finally someone else who can relate. Like you, I have been a Stevie fan for 40+ years. Like you, I chose Lindsey this time. I saw him solo for the first time in November of 2018 and had the opportunity to have the meet and greet. He was amazing. I am so bitter with Stevie for destroying the legacy. While I understand at the end of the day – they are just people – and the pain of working with someone you were once in love with is excruciating. However, had Stevie not been able to work with him it would have been better to just quit and let the band dissolve rather than trying to replace him this late in the game. Had it not been for Lindsey, FM would not been the familiar name it is today and Stevie may not have seen the level of succes either. So heartbreaking. Praying Lindsey fully recovers and can tour again.

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    • We are peas in a pod, Vicki. It’s good to know that others feel similarly about what transpired. My feeling is that you just don’t treat people like they have treated Lindsey. If she’d taken the high road and left I would have completely understood.

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      • You have echoed my feelings to a T. My 1st album was Bare Trees, my 1st concert was 1974 Day on the Green (Oakland) I was 17 and have been following them ever since. It sickens me to see what these people have turned into, how money has trumped any degree of integrity. For myself, the FM that I loved and followed for so many years no longer exists.

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  17. Summed up extremely well, thank you. For this band and Stevie to have played such a pivotal role in my life since ’75, and vice versa, this turn of events is pitiful. I shudder to think of the $$$ I’ve spent, particularly on Stevie. You aptly describe my new disdain for her. Blows my mind after what can only be described as being a Stevie Nicks fanatic. Just as I will not forget the great parts she’s played in my life, I will also not forget this move and a lot of the outdated ideas she’s come to embrace. What happened to writing and playing for the love of it? So many past interviews that bely her current point of view and actions. Wild to observe someone so beloved fall from grace. Good to know that you and many others feel this way. After decades of complete devotion the foul disappointment it leaves is really very unfortunate, sad. Who would have thought? Thank you, Matt!

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  18. Here’s my take. I think the entire thing has been orchestrated for publicity’s sake. I believe the band and Lindsay knew he needed open heart surgery. They wanted to tour but knew he was not going to be able. Thus it was decided between them they would tour with substitutes. Stevie volunteered to take the instigator role for the “firing”, knowing many would blame her. Lindsay’s “suit” would be his guaranteed cut. I believe after this tour is over the two new guys will leave and the band will “reconcile” with Lindsay to create a new album and tour with much publicity and fanfare. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Wait and see…

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  19. Except for the fact that I was born in the early 80s and discovered Fleetwood Mac in the 90s in my teen years, this is EXACTLY how I feel. I LOVED the early albums (of the Rumors 5) and fell in LOVE with the ’97 Dance release (still play this album from front to back at least once a month). I saw them live for the first time in Chicago in October of ’14. I’m just sad that they won’t be touring like that again. I was so excited to see them again on this round of touring, but then when Lindsey got let go, I can’t bring myself to want to see this incarnation of the group.

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  20. Me, beeing a FM Fan for 42 years, feeling very said about the divided FM Fan base and all the hate that is going on! That is the only desaster i can see. We should really thing about how we should handle this in future.
    We throw stupid things at Band members while we are nothing better throwing bad things at each other. Think about it.

    Love and best wishes to all of you,
    Andrea, still a FM Fan 🙂

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  21. Thank you, Matt, for this. I haven’t really been able to sum up my feelings about this latest Fleetwood Mac implosion but your blog posting describes it perfectly. I, too, have been a fan for many, many years (not quite as long as you have been), and, like you, I became a hardcore Stevie fan. I’m also one of those fans who went back and started listening to their entire catalogue once I had discovered them. (In fact I find several of their older records equal to or superior to some of the later stuff–Future Games, Penguin, Bare Trees, Mystery to Me.) But I didn’t begin seeing them live until 1987, when Lindsey had already left the band. I’ve attended every subsequent tour ever since, save one–their “Dance” reunion tour in the late nineties because I was living out of the country at the time. Consequently, I never saw all five of them on stage until the On With The Show tour in October of 2014–which was a dream come true and something to cross off the ol’ bucket list.

    I guess my devotion to the band–and to Stevie–began to wither once I read Ken Caillat’s book about the making of the Rumours album. I found it to be incredibly revealing–and disappointing–particularly with regards to the behaviors of both Stevie and Lindsey. According to the book, he could be incredibly controlling and abusive–drugs and alcohol not withstanding, and she was much more narcissistic than I had ever imagined. (She said something rather unflattering about Ken’s dog, which had just died, having taken her spot on the cover of “tusk,” if I’m remembering correctly–but it was a major turning point with how I perceived her.) The next violation came when she made such a fuss over Christine McVie’s return–and then refused to record with them. She said that she would rather be out on the road ‘making tons of money,’ and that fans weren’t sitting around ‘waiting around for the next Fleetwood Mac album’ to come out. Well I was, for one.

    This latest thing–about refusing to share a stage with Lindsey because he smirked at her behind her back? Seems a bit petty, to be sure, but in her defense I totally get this. Like I said, I’ve been going to shows since 1987 and watching the documentaries, and reading the endless number of histories and biographies…and to be honest he has been mocking her for decades. You can see it, even on stage. Perhaps it does stem from a professional jealousy as many have said. Perhaps it’s just a reflection of what he considers to be his ‘intellectual superiority’ over her. Or maybe he just never really got over her.

    I don’t know. But I guess she just finally got tired of it.

    In any case, like you. I am unable to bring myself to attend their latest tour. And this is not a “Stevie-Camp” vs. “Lindsey-Camp” thing. They just don’t sound good from the footage I have seen. They reached their pinnacle in 2014 as far as I am concerned, and that was a high point for me personally. Besides. I was hoping for a tour of a new record.

    Anyway. Thank you for letting me vent and to put these thoughts down at last. It has been incredibly therapeutic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get it, Alberto. Writing it was cathartic for me as well. I know that there are always two sides to every story, but like you, when Stevie refused to record with them that was a huge blow, and the fact that she refuses to discuss the matter while other band members talk in veiled and unspecific ways about what was happening have just made me lose respect for her, and believe me, no one could have loved her more than I have for all these years. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. My words exactly.
    I have followed FM since 1975 at the age of 12 years I was hooked, I saved up my allowance to buy my First album entitled FM. Also my Favorite song is Gypsy. I have only missed one of their tours that came close to me and I have never missed one of Stevie’s. I own everything they have done and have them on cassette, album, Cd’s and even 8-tracks, and enough concert t-shirts to make a quilt. Framed and hanging on my living room wall is the album Buckingham Nicks.
    The reason they regrouped in 1979 was they were asked by Bill Clinton to play at his inauguration, I guess it took them a while to decide because of stress between members but after the performance they agreed that it felt good, it felt right.
    Here it is,Years later and While I sat in my seat a few months ago at the concert of the new line-up, I cried. This has been my almost entire life, and for the first time this Fanatic 55 yr old felt as if I had turned into a feeble old Woman and that my life as I had always known it to be was over. And when I heard of Lindsey’s health, I truly believe that He had suffered a broken heart. I will always Love the band I knew, but my dreams of a future are fading.

    Dreams unwind and Loves a state of mind…….

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    • I am sorry for your pain, Sarah. I feel it too, so I really understand and I am a fanatic 60 year old! 🙂
      I also think that Lindsey’s heart was broken. I know mine would have been were I in his position. Take care. “and a memory is all that is left to you now…”

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  23. I understand where you are coming from, Matt, I found Fleetwood Mac myself quite by accident over 40 years ago when i was just 14 years old. Their music is so embedded into my memories i won’t imagine my life without it. I too am dismayed with all that has transpired in the last year, but i remind myself that Stevie and Lindsey have always had a fractious relationship and this is just the latest episode in their musical drama, just a little more of the same. This latest tour may not be their swansong–I honestly never thought i would see the “Fireflies” together again after the acrimony surrounding Tango in the Night. They surprised me, then, perhaps they will surprise me again, one never knows.

    But where there is the Mac there is always something worthwhile to appreciate. When the White Album was recently rereleased with all those rare live performances from the early tours, i discovered for the first time songs such as “Station Man”, “Why”, “Spare Me A Little” and “The Green Manalishi”, i found “Hypnotized” with Lindsey on lead vocal, fell in love all over again with those rare early performances of “Rhiannon”……wow. Stevie’s vocals on “World Turning” that disappeared in later performances of the song were amazing, and her ethereal, otherworldly wailing on “Green Manalishi”? Just awesome. Awesome. Not to mention Lindsey’s guitar work on all of those songs, he did more than just hold his own, he shone. They were so young and full of energy and ready to conquer the world. Stuff like that sustains me.

    I have no desire to see the latest incarnation of the band. I saw them in 2003 without Christine and that was hard enough, even though that show was an awesome experience and well worth the time and effort to get there…..no, i will just go back to those early, glorious days and rekindle the passion for the Mac that i first felt all those years ago. It keeps me from despairing change, keeps me above the fray. I love them all. They have all contributed equally. None of them is better than any other. Their music was formed as a cohesive whole, a “Chain” with no beginning and no end, and as long as we have this amazing body of work from the five of them, for me that will always be the case.

    So chin up, Matt! No one ever knows what the future will bring where Fleetwood Mac is concerned. We may yet live to see those “Fireflies” fly one more time, and if not, well, we’ll always have “Rhiannon”.

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  24. Yep, that just about sums her up for me too. Stevie completely lacks any empathy, gratitude for what Lindsey gave her, and basic respect for all that is honorable and right. All her incessant talk about being a loving, caring, thoughtful person – the kind of talk she is so fond of conveying – is about as fake as a nine dollar bill – now we can see her truth colours. I can’t stand what she did to Lindsey when her entire career rests upon his legacy as much as it does about her own talent too. She’s betrayed decency and has no humility either. What of her speeches too – both at Musicares and the more recent Induction into R&RHOF speech? I agree with those that say that they are rambling, boring and eye-bal. rolling. When one listens to them, the whole world smirks behind her back.

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    • Couldn’t agree with you more. That she did not take at least 30 seconds of her 12 and a half minute long 6 minute speech to acknowledge Lindsey was almost the final straw. Instead she talks about making little pizzas at Jimmy Iovine’s house. I will never understand what happened to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. “Don’t ask me what I think of you, I might not give you the answer that you want me to”! Thanks to Peter Green for writing “Oh Well” 50 years ago. Words that frankly sum up the feelings of many lifelong Fleetwood Mac fans today!

    As the others before me said, thank you Matt summing up our feelings of the Chain being broken by a Welch witch and her drummer.

    I fell in love w Fleetwood Mac during the summer of 1977. I hadn’t loved a band like this since my first love…..the one and only Beatles. I used to listen to Rumours, and other Mac albums, w my headphones on, and the volume turned up! Between Rumours and Tusk, my roommate and I went out and bought all the 70s Mac albums from Kiln House, to Bare Trees, to Future Games, to Penguin, to Mystery to Me, to Heroes are Hard to Find, to Buckingham Nicks. We listened to them, over and over, w headphones on and without….Lol. I had a huge crush on Christine McVie, but loved ALL the band members!

    I used to read Billboard magazine @ the college library. One fall day in 1979, I read Fleetwood Mac’s long awaited follow-up to the top selling Rumours album, would be released. It was to be called “Tusk”. An odd name for a Fleetwood Mac album. Finally, in October it was to be released! I bought the double album on sale for an unheard of price of $10.99. I ran home and played it. I must say I was stunned, and a bit disappointed. This wasn’t anything like the Fab 5s debut Fleetwood Mac, or the record breaking Rumours. “Tusk” sounded a bit disjointed, and what had Lindsey done to that great ball of hair! But, each time I listened I liked it more and more. I even recorded my own “single album version” of Tusk (on cassette), and called it “Shadows”.

    Shadows had “What Makes You Think You’re the One”, ” Over and Over”, ” Save Me a Place” ,
    ” Sisters of the Moon” and “It’s Not that Funny” on side 1 and “Angel”, ” Think About Me”, “Walk a Thin Line” , “Sara” , ” I Know I’m Not Wrong” and ” Never Forget” on side 2.

    Then the impossible happened. My roommates best friend from home got Fleetwood Mac tickets! It was to be held on December 1st in Cedar Falls Iowa @ the Unidome! We paid $10 for Stadium seating. Despite early season artic cold, w temperatures in the single digits, we waited 5 hours outside the arena for the doors to open. When the doors opened, the crowd surged forward, and we got pushed in. To our delight, we were among the 1st 100 to enter the arena. We ran down the aisle steps, to the playing field, and got to stand 25 feet, mid stage from where the band would be playing!

    Wow! An experience of a lifetime! I saw Fleetwood Mac, in their prime, where the VIPs see them. The concert blew me away! They played many of the songs I hoped like “Say You Love Me” , “Over My Head”, “Rhiannon” , “Landslide” , “What Makes You Think You’re the One”, “Save Me a Place”, ” Oh Well”, “Sara”, “You Make Loving Fun”, “Angel”, “Go Your Own Way,” “Sisters of the Moon,” “It’s Not that Funny”, “World Turning”, and “Songbird”. “Punky” Lindsey Buckingham was on fire! “Tusk”, the song, turned out to be a jam, like “I’m So Afraid.” My favorite was “The Chain”. Loved how they turned the lights out mid song, and you could only hear Mick Fleetwood tapping his drums. Then, the spotlight goes on John McVie, and the rumble of his bass starts “doom, da, dah, doom”. And then the lights go back on, and Lindsey’s “screeching” guitar joins his rhythm section, ……”running in the shadows” Lindsey & the band jam us into the night! The lights dim as the band bows and exits the stage. We turn around and see 20,000 people chanting for more, as Bic lighters illuminate the arena. Yeah, they played 2 encores, and closed the show, “Christine Perfect”-ly w “Songbird”.

    Though I saw the band many more times, and other tours, after December 1979, I’ll never forget that night!

    Stevie may have broken the chain, but it will always remain as strong as ever, in my memories!

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    • Thanks, Gary. Yep. there was no other band that ever got to me the way they did. I am still in stages of denial trying to wrap my mind around what the Welsh Witch and the Drummer have done, and am disappointed that Chris and John allowed it.

      Like

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