25 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Release ‘Behind the Mask’ Without Lindsey Buckingham | Ultimate Classic Rock

by Jeff Giles
April 10, 2015 10:44 AM
Ultimate Classic Rock Website

By the time they achieved massive mainstream success in the mid-’70s, Fleetwood Mac had already been through more lineup changes than most bands manage in their entire careers, and their best-selling album, Rumours, was partly inspired by a pair of collapsing relationships between bandmates.

fleetwood-mac-behind-the-mask

They were accustomed to forging on in the face of personal and professional drama, in other words — but even so, the trials they faced before recording their 15th studio album, 1990′s Behind the Mask, proved particularly threatening.

All things considered, it should have been an easy time for Fleetwood Mac, who battled back from some early ’80s doldrums with 1987′s commercially resurgent Tango in the Night. With another multiplatinum hit at their backs and a fresh slew of Top 40 singles marching up the charts, the band might have been able to settle into the sort of groove that had proven difficult in the years after Rumours‘ unwieldy success, if not for one thing: the inconveniently timed exit of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, whose songwriting and meticulous studio work had increasingly come to define their sound.

Buckingham’s departure was confirmed in the summer of 1988, causing the band to scramble to fill his parts before their tour for Tango. It was just the kind of painful and potentially disastrous conflict that the band had unfortunately become known for, but as drummer Mick Fleetwood later admitted, the split was a long time coming — and exacerbated by moves the other band members had made in the years leading up to it. Continue reading

Fleetwood Mac: Behind The Mask Review | People Weekly

People Weekly, May 14, 1990
Behind the Mask. (sound recording reviews)
by Ralph Novak

BEHIND THE MASK by Fleetwood Mac

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The addition of singers-guitarists-composers Billy Burnette and Rick Vito has livened up the at-times institutional-sounding tendencies of Fleetwood Mac. This time around, things rock a bit harder, throb a bit deeper. The changes are not revolutionary, though; it’s as if General Motors or Ford had hired a couple of new designers who came up with a different bumper here, a sexier headlight there. The basic product stays the same: in this case, a stately sort of pop rock that ranges from ponderous to movingly effective.

Burnette and Vito joined the band for its 1987 tour when Lindsey Buckingham struck off on his own. (Buckingham appears on one track on this album, in a slight but appealing concession to loyalty.) That’s a two-guitars-for-one trade, thus the splashier, harder sound on such tracks as “When the Sun Goes Down,” which the newcomers co-wrote. The best Mac songs, though, still belong to Stevie Nicks. “Love Is Dangerous,” which she wrote with Vito, has a dirge-like, ’60s tone. But “Freedom” (written with Mike Campbell) and “Affairs of the Heart” both generate that disquieting sense of frustrated romantic impulses that Nicks conveys so well.

Christine McVie partisans will also enjoy the sweet lilt of “Do You Know,” composed with Burnette. Still moving to the beat of the same drummer — Mick Fleetwood himself — Mac has been nothing if not consistent over its 20-year, 19-album history, and there’s satisfaction, as well as entertainment, in that. “Predictable” is not always an insult. (Warner Bros.)

Ralph Novak
Review Grade: B