“There’s blood and guts and disagreements still to this day…”
Early 1969. California has been hit by a series of destructive floods, so bad that the international telephone operator is sceptical a connection can be made between London and Los Angeles. When the call goes through, however, the NME’s Nick Logan has a few demanding questions for the first leader of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green. One is how Green’s band will sustain their reputation as blues purists in the wake of a big hit single, the expansive “Albatross”. Will their next single be another change from what their fans have come to expect?
“I don’t really care,” says Green, yawning. “I never have done really. We’ve never done what was expected of Fleetwood Mac – we’ve always done the opposite. We just do what we want to do.”
Thus begins the remarkable story of Fleetwood Mac – a saga unparalleled in rock, as our new Uncut Ultimate Music Guide dedicated to the band makes clear (on sale in the UK on Thursday Sept 10, but available to order now at our online shop). Over the next four and a half decades, the band’s history has often read like an infinite series of surprise plot twists, where radical upheavals arrive with every new album. Key members come and go, lost to religious cults and mental breakdowns, victims of multiple romantic traumas. Musical directions and locations change as frequently as the lineup: the blues evolve into the apotheosis of sophisticated pop; and a remote Hampshire commune is swapped for the LA highlife.
As the revealing features collected in this Ultimate Music Guide prove, the journalists of Uncut, NME and Melody Maker have been alongside Fleetwood Mac every step of the way. They documented the rise and fall of Peter Green’s band, the emergence of Christine McVie, the transitional lineups of the early ’70s, the dramatic arrival of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and the glory and devastation that soon followed. “Being in Fleetwood Mac is more like being in group therapy,” noted the mostly redoubtable Mick Fleetwood in 1977, as he contemplated the seismic impact of “Rumours” and laid bare – not for the last time – the private lives of its key players