They say that the New Year is a time for new beginnings, and so it was exactly 40 years ago for Fleetwood Mac.
After a number of hits between 1968 and 1970, which were blues-based, times were
hard for the band.
‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Albatross’, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘The Green Manalishi’ had all been successful, but they had not had a chart entry in the UK since May 1970 (apart from a re-entry of Albatross in 1973).
Personnel-wise, they were in disarray with drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and keyboard player Christine McVie holding the band together.
It had come to Fleetwood’s attention that there was a great US-based songwriting team comprising singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsay Buckingham; and he had an idea.
On December 31, 1974, Mick rang them and asked them to join the band.
“We might have been the heaviest dudes around,” says Buckingham.
“But Mick was willing to take a chance and the next day, on New Years’ Day 1975, I rang back and accepted.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Hit singles such as ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Dreams’ (a US chart-topper), ‘Tusk’, ‘Rhiannon’, ‘Oh Diane’ and ‘Everywhere’ propelled them into the premier league of music; they became one of the first big arena rock bands.
In short, they became the biggest band on the planet.
With Buckingham’s guitar work, Nicks’ mystical voice, ably complemented by Christine McVie’s voice and keyboards – not to mention the legendary rhythm section of Fleetwood and Buckingham; the band could do no wrong.
Hit albums such as ‘Rumours’, ‘Tusk’ and ‘Tango in the Night’ were must-haves.
Behind the scenes though, the band’s inter-personal relationships, arguments and split-ups could have fuelled a soap-opera for years and they eventually split.
There were the occasional reunions and in 2013, during a show at London’s O2 Arena,
Christine McVie, who had declined the invitation to tour, got on stage with them to perform ‘Don’t Stop’.
“It was so comfortable being back onstage with them and it was as if no time had passed,” said Christine.
“Then we all started talking and it feels like the time is right. I’m really happy.”
What Christine is happy about is that the classic line-up of Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood, Buckingham, Nicks and both McVies) are touring together for the first time in 16 years.
The band will perform all the hits in their ‘On With The Show’ tour which comes to the Phones 4U Arena, Manchester, on Saturday, June 12, and Wednesday, July 1.
Tickets are available at the Box Office priced £50 to £125 (subject to a booking fee) and from www.livenation.co.uk
One more chance to see one of the greatest bands to grace the concert stages of the world.