Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
The Fleetwood Mac Era
In the 1970 and 1980s, radio airways were dominated by the group Fleetwood Mac. It seemed everyone had a copy of their Rumors album. Today, those that first listened to Fleetwood Mac when it first came out, when they were in their teens and twenties are now grandparents. Yet even today it cannot be dismissed as “your grandparents’ music.
“Playing in the Rain: Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac,” by Tyler Martin Sehnal, is a history of the group. It follows Fleetwood Mac from its original inception to the present.
Opening with the group’s origins as a blues band in England, Sehnal follows it to the United States. The band started in 1967, founded by Peter Green, and two other musicians. Guitarist John McVie joined shortly after its debut performance. It was named Fleetwood Mac (for Mick Fleetwood and John McVie). John McVie’s then-wife, Christie McVie provided vocals.
It remained a solidly midlist group from then until 1974, even after its move to California. By then, the group was down to Fleetwood and the two McVies. To expand the band’s sound, Fleetwood invited two then-unknown, and romantically-involved musicians, vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, to join the band.
Adding the two supercharged the group. The 1975 album Fleetwood Mac (also known as the White Album) launched the group. The 1977 album Rumors sent it into the musical stratosphere. From then on, the group occupied music’s heavens. Its individual members were like skyrockets, spreading and exploding.
Sehnal follows both the group and its individual members. He tells the history of each album and analyzes the music. He also follows their individual careers, their breakups, and reunions. Although Nicks became the band’s most famous member, Sehnal makes the case Lindsey Buckingham was the one most responsible for Fleetwood Mac’s success. A prickly perfectionist, Buckingham created the sound for which Fleetwood Mac became known.
This book is a labor of love by the author. His admiration for the group is profound and sincere. This does not blind him to the group’s shortcomings or the individual members’ faults (including those of Lindsey Buckingham). “Playing in the Rain” is not hagiography. It is a balanced and nuanced history of Fleetwood Mac. Their strengths and weaknesses are both presented, leaving the readers to draw their own conclusions.
In total, the pluses outweigh the minuses. Sehnal has written a brilliant history of a brilliant musical group.
“Playing in the Rain: Lindsey Buckingham & Fleetwood Mac,” by Tyler Martin Sehnal, Ingramspark, 2023, 324 pages, $17.99 (paperback), $9.99 (ebook)
This review was written by Mark Lardas, who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.Published in History
I got a long story about discovering Fleetwood Mac, but I’ll hold off.
I can’t stand Them because I associate Them with Clinton.
But good gravy I absolutely love Over My Head.
Great review, thanks!
They had three vocal talents and at least three songwriters. I can’t think of another group- maybe CSNY, but male and female voices also combined with a monster rhythm section.
Not one, but two ex-couples still working in the band.
Some really great songs by each and all of the songwriters.
I’d add The Band (3 lead vocalists) and the early Eagles (4 lead vocalists/songwriters) to that short list.
The Beatles too 3/4 vocalists and songwriters if you count Ringo. But Fleetwood Mac had females and males giving them a different sound.
Yep, they were unique in that for sure.
PS I ALWAYS count Ringo. As George H. once said, Ringo was the only drummer who could make you cry.
If you want to listen to the new boss (@charlescwcooke) discuss Fleetwood Mac, check out the Political Beats podcast episodes on the band, part one and part two.