Band Governance: A Q&A With Mick Fleetwood

Fall 2013

Mick Fleetwood has been at the helm of one of rock’s most enduring bands for over four decades. Fleetwood Mac began as a British blues band. But then something happened. The band went pop — but with a “dark side,” said Fleetwood — and the fans loved it. “Rumours,” the band’s 1977 album, won a Grammy award and sold 40 million copies, making it one of the 10 bestselling albums of all time. Overall, the band has sold more than 100 million records — and continues to sell. Through the decades, there have been numerous changes in the band’s lineup and style, the emergence of solo careers and personal tumult. Though tested, the band did not break up, a tribute to Fleetwood’s leadership skills — a well-orchestrated mix of cheerleading, positive messages, hugs, appropriate levels of worry and (when needed), a little maneuvering.

 

Fleetwood’s Mac’s roots are in London. In 1967, Peter Green, a blues guitarist, started the band with 20-year-old drummer Mick Fleetwood and 22-year-old bass-guitarist John McVie. In 1968, the band had its first No. 1 blues single in the U.K., the instrumental “Albatross.” In 1970, keyboardist Christine Perfect — later to become Christine McVie — joined the band. Not long after, Peter Green left the group. In 1975, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks joined, changing the band’s sound markedly. Soon Fleetwood Mac became known for the tangled web of relationships that developed among its members.

 

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