Fleetwood Mac was a great British blues band that was formed in 1967. While musically talented, the band was never able to translate that talent into any significant popular success. In the early 1970’s, with the addition of Bob Welch, the band moved from a blues focus to a more pop focus and it looked like they were on a path of achieving the success that it had been working on for years. Unfortunately Bob left in 1974 once again depriving the group from achieving the level of success that they deserved. (In case you missed it, Bob Welch died last week. RIP Bob!)
Between 1974 and 1974 Fleetwood Mac went through one of the most amazing transformations that has ever occurred in music history. In 1975 they released an album titled Fleetwood Mac which was a number one album in the US, produced a significant number of hit singles and sold over 5 million copies. Success was finally theirs but the story does not end there. In 1977 they released an album called Rumors which sold over 40 million albums world wide. Fleetwood Mac had become the biggest band in the world and they maintained this level of success for many years to follow, but we are going to talk about that because this post is not about Fleetwood Mac. What did he just say????
Once again, this post is not really about Fleetwood Mac……nope this post is about the group that enabled the transformation that allowed Fleetwood Mac to achieve this level of popularity. To be more specific, this post is about a duo called Buckingham Nicks.
To get you attention, here is a picture of the duo that was used on the cover of their one and only album which was cleverly titled Buckingham Nicks.
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk a little bit about the Buckingham Nicks. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were in a late 60’s group called Fritz which had some limited success as an opening act for major acts including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Credence Clearwater Revival. When Fritz broke up in 1970, Lindsey and Stevie move to LA where they eventually signed a record deal with Polydor as a duo. The Buckingham Nicks album, this week’s album of the week, was released in 1973 and was a real stunner but somehow never managed to become the breakout hit that it deserved to be, in fact the album tanked. A strange part of this story is the fact that Buckingham Nicks was a huge hit in only one plaee……Birmingham, Alabama. Their album sold like hot cakes there and they were a major concert draw. I will come back to this later in the post.
Frustrated by their lack of success the duo was considering moving to Birmingham and using it as as a base for expanding their local popularity when Mick Fleetwood heard their album. Mick immediately saw what everyone else (other than the folks in Birmingham) had missed….an incredibly deep well of talent! He asked Lindsey to join Fleetwood Mac to replace Bob Welch but Lindsey told Mick that if they wanted him they would have to take Stevie as well. The deal was quickly sealed; Buckingham Nicks was history; and Fleetwood Mac, including Lindsey and Stevie, were on their way to being superstars. (Note: To emphasize the importance of Lindsey and Stevie to Fleetwood Mac’s break through it should be noted that they wrote over half the songs on the album, including the classics Rhiannon and Monday Morning.) Enough talking….let’s listen to the Buckingham Nicks album. I think you will be impressed.
The tracks on the album are as follows:
- “Crying in the Night” (Nicks) – 2:48
- “Stephanie” (Buckingham) – 2:12
- “Without a Leg to Stand On” (Buckingham) – 2:09
- “Crystal” (Nicks) – 3:41
- “Long Distance Winner” (Nicks) – 4:50
- “Don’t Let Me Down Again” (Buckingham) – 3:52
- “Django” (Lewis) – 1:02
- “Races Are Run” (Nicks) – 4:14
- “Lola (My Love)” (Buckingham) – 3:44
- “Frozen Love” (Nicks, Buckingham) – 7:16
In case you are thinking about going out and buying the album, I am sad to tell you that you will not find it unless you are lucky enough to stumble onto a used copy of the original vinyl albums from 1973. The album has never been released on CD!
Before we close this post, I have a personal note to add to the Buckingham Nicks story. In 1977, I had just gotten out of Graduate school at the end of May. I rewarded myself in early June by driving to Birmingham to see Fleetwood Mac on their Rumors tour. Fleetwood Mac was incredible but the real treat was that Lindsey and Stevie played a short set of Buckingham Nicks songs as a thank you to Birmingham for being the only place where Buckingham Nicks was a success. It was a touching, heartfelt, gesture on their part and it made the concert one that I will never forget.