Fleetwood Mac was named after the band’s rhythm section, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Remarkably, by 1975 they were the group’s only original members, having run through a succession of guitarists and vocalists, and having relocated from England to California. After front-man Bob Welch left the group, serendipity allowed Mick Fleetwood to hear the Buckingham Nicks album, and invite Buckingham and Nicks to join, creating the group’s most successful and long running lineup. With Buckingham on vocals and guitar, and Nicks, the band had three songwriters, with Christine McVie already providing keyboards and vocals.
Their first album together finds them already firmly entrenched into their detailed pop sound with intricate production and smooth harmonies, and Fleetwood Mac is all but impeccable. McVie delivers the sweet pop of ‘Warm Ways’ and ‘Over My Head’, Buckingham bookends the album with the upbeat pop of ‘Monday Morning’ and the darker ‘I’m So Afraid’, while Nicks is the strongest writer at this stage with ‘Rhiannon’ (based on Welsh mythology), ‘Crystal’, and the gentle acoustic ‘Landslide’.
This debut is overshadowed by Rumours two years later, which sounds similar but has even better songwriting and more emotional depth, but Fleetwood Mac already have their signature sound in place.