The entire 50 year history of Fleetwood Mac has essentially been one long soap opera, but the group’s storied history took a surprising turn last week. Long time guitarist Lindsey Buckingham left the group, supposedly for a dispute over set lists, and was replaced by Crowded House‘s Neil Finn and Tom Petty’s long time guitarist Mike Campbell.
While the pair are great musicians in their own right, and are good choices for ring-ins, Lindsey Buckingham is a special talent. For casual fans, Stevie Nicks is the identifiable face of the band since she and Buckingham joined in the mid 1970s, but Buckingham was the band’s architect, whose arranging, production, and guitar skills shaped great albums like Rumours and Tusk. The group foundered after he left, following 1987’s Tango in the Night, and returned to prominence when he returned for 1997’s The Dance. And while Nicks’ solo career has been much more visible, it’s Buckingham’s solo albums I’ve collected, and records like Out of the Cradle, Gift of Screws, and Go Insane are excellent.
In its demo form, Christine McVie’s ‘Hold Me’ is an enjoyable, bluesy workout:
But Buckingham’s studio panache, guitar work, and harmony vocals take the song to the next level, one of the group’s finest pop efforts:
More than 50 years old, Fleetwood Mac are in the victory lap phase of their career, and it seems unlikely that Buckingham will ever return to the fold. But he deserves recognition – he’s clearly the driving force behind their pop phase.
Are you a fan of Buckingham’s work in Fleetwood Mac, or his solo albums?