Jan 17th, 2017
Fleetwood Mac are celebrated as one of the great dysfunctional soap operas of rock and roll, a dynastic saga set to music. They are almost as famous for the bed-hopping, powder sniffing, emotional traumas they have inflicted upon one another over the years as for their era-defining monster hits.
So news that two of its most cherished members are making an album together is a cause for intrigue, a sense that there may still be a twist or two ahead in the long running and increasingly convoluted narrative.
It was revealed this week that guitarist, singer and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham has been working on an album of duets with keyboard player, singer and songwriter Christine McVie. It is tentatively scheduled to be released in May, under the name Buckingham McVie. That in itself represents an inescapable reference to Buckingham Nicks, the pre-Fleetwood duo made up of Lindsey and former lover Stevie Nicks.
To add spice to the rumour mill, the rhythm section of drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist (and Christine’s ex-husband) John McVie appear on the album. So the only one of the famous five missing is the elusive Nicks.
There have been 16 members over Fleetwood Mac’s 50 year career, in a constant shuffling of roles that would leave the scriptwriters for Dallas breathless. Most of the bit part players have been forgotten by now but the five leads who united in the mid-70s to create some of the most glorious pop rock ever heard continue to exert fascination.
Legendary albums such as Rumours and Tusk were created in a whirl of narcotic excess, sexual shenanigans and romantic betrayal that lent an undoubted frisson and emotional subtext to songs of love, longing, loss and reconciliation, in which tough emotions were glossed with glorious melodies and sparkling harmonies.
When the classic line up reunited with Christine McVie in 2015, it was intriguing to note that there were three former couples sharing a stage, taking into account that Mick Fleetwood romanced Nicks behind Buckingham’s back during the making of Tusk. Fleetwood has often described the band’s complicated dynamic as a form of ongoing “group therapy”. Continue reading