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Divided and reunited: 50 years of Fleetwood Mac

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A band whose tumultuous history has seen members come, go, and return celebrates its 50th anniversary this year looking as divided as ever.

Fifty years ago, after Mick Fleetwood left John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers to form Fleetwood Mac, then later convinced bass player John McVie to join the band whose name he helped inspire, the drummer had no way of knowing the sort of history he would become part of.

From a blues-oriented lineup featuring Fleetwood, McVie, and guitarists and singers Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer through the famous “Rumours lineup” featuring Fleetwood, and McVie along with keyboard player/singer Christine McVie, guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham, and singer Stevie Nicks, and every other version of the band, the story of Fleetwood Mac has often been a story of a dysfunctional unit that threatens to tear apart at every turn.

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Buckingham and Christine McVie put out an album containing songs with the two of them as the main writers called Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie. Both Fleetwood and McVie played on the album, which didn’t carry the Fleetwood Mac moniker likely because Nicks opted out of the sessions, choosing instead to tour behind her 2014 CD 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vaults.

The choice to brand the album as a duets album seems a strange one, since the album carries more of a collection of Buckingham songs meshed with Christine McVie songs instead of a true duets album. For example, the first single “In My World” is a Buckingham composition where the listener is hard pressed to find Christine McVie’s vocals in the mix.

However, whatever led to the decision to brand the album as Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie might at least appeal to Nicks fans, some of whom proclaim on social media that they would not support a Fleetwood Mac album without Nicks.

For her part, after the band wrapped up a grueling tour schedule in 2015, Nicks announced to the band that she needed time off and had no interest in recording a new album with the band.

“Christine was gone [from Fleetwood Mac] for 16 years and came back, Nicks told ABC. “She wanted to keep working… I just needed my two years off.”

Even with the band partly going its own way, Fleetwood Mac will reunite for the Classic East/Classic West Festival as co-headliners with the Eagles. According to McVie, the Rumours lineup will reunite in March to begin rehearsals for a farewell tour in 2018.

Mike Sarzo

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