May 8, 2012
Go Your Own Way
They have been called blues, rock, pop, and folk, but one title that goes without question is legendary. Fleetwood Mac has been through many changes both personally and professionally through the years. Officially, it has been forty five years since the band was formed in London, England in 1967 although, if you were to view a concert of the original lineup, you would think that your eyes were deceiving you (fleetwoodmac.com). The original lineup of the band that has become so loved and well known around the world consisted of four men. They were a group formed at the dawn of the second “Blues Boom” to sweep over England (Evans 11). Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Jeremy Spencer, and Peter Green were four musicians brought together by the breaking up of their own separate acts. This four man lineup would morph over the years into the most common and most successful lineup consisting of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie (formerly Perfect), Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham. From Fleetwood Mac’s formation, to their disintegration, through their resurrection they have remained one of the most successful rock bands ever and continue to show the music industry the true definition of a timeless act.
The second “Blues Boom” in England holds credit for giving pop culture some of the most well known names in music. Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac are some of the biggest names that come to mind. The latter received its name from the marriage of one of the greatest rhythm sections in Rock n’ Roll history. Fleetwood Mac was named by Peter Green for a single that he, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie recorded. When asked about the name, Peter Green said that he had titled the single after “his favorite rhythm section” referring to the drumming of Mick Fleetwood and the bass guitar of John McVie (Evans 24). It could be said that Green has amazing foresight as Fleetwood and McVie remain the only consistent members of the bands original lineup.
Mick Fleetwood was born in Cornwall, England on June 24th, 1947 to a British Royal Air Force family (Furman 12). He did much traveling as a young boy which was capped off by a stay at the Rudolf Steiner School in Gloucestershire (Fleetwood, Davis 18-19). The Steiner school offered Mick something no other prep school he encountered had - a chance to explore his creativity and his love for the drums. Through his time at more traditional prep schools, Mick had struggled with an undiagnosed learning disability (Fleetwood, Davis 15). He would find out in adulthood that he was, in fact, dyslexic. Drumming seemed to be the one thing that made sense to him and the one thing that made him happy; however, even he says that the disability can cause problems with his musical ability. Speaking of his dyslexia in his autobiography Fleetwood My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood says, “It’s very difficult for me to repeat anything the same way twice.” (15) After many struggles with a traditional education, it was in 1963 at the age of fifteen that Mick decided to leave Gloucestershire for London and begin his musical quest (Fleetwood, Davis 20).
John McVie was born in Ealing, West London on November 26th, 1945 (Furman 13). John briefly played the trumpet as a child, but found his footing as a guitar player at the age of fourteen (Evans 13). While at Walpole Grammar School, he soon realized that all of his young friends had aspirations to be lead guitar players. With this knowledge, John made the fateful decision to remove the top two strings from his guitar and begin learning how to play bass. He learned by mimicking British legends such as Jet Harris of the Shadows and in 1962, just shy of his seventeenth birthday, he left school and set out for the London music scene (Evans 13).
It was in London, through a twist of fate that Mick Fleetwood and John...