Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

Fleetwood Mac

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Lead guitar/vocals- Peter Green, bass- John McVie, drums- Mick Fleetwood, guitar- Jeremy Spencer, guitar- Danny Kirwan

Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac made their debut at the National Jazz & Blues Festival in August 1967. Green had previously been in Shotgun Express and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. The initial line-up also included Mick Fleetwood from the Bluesbreakers along with Bob Brunning on bass and Jeremy Spencer on guitar, keyboards and vocals. Brunning soon left and was replaced by John McVie who had played with Green and Fleetwood in the Bluesbreakers.

The band released some classic blues albums and a string of great singles. A second album Mr Wonderful was also very successful. After this Danny Kirwan joined the band having played with Boilerhouse. This gave Fleetwood Mac more options and they moved away from the standard blues format. An instrumental single Albatross was released at the beginning of 1969 and reached number 1. Kirwan's use of vibrato worked extremely well alongside Green's playing especially on tracks such as Albatross and Oh Well. Kirwan was also an accomplished songwriter, contributing seven tracks to Then Play On.

Peter Green left suddenly in May 1970, dropping out of the music business altogether. The group now started to spend more time in the US and in 1971 Christine Perfect (McVie), wife of John joined the band. She replaced Jeremy Spencer who had joined a religious cult. Bob Welch also joined on guitar. Danny Kirwan left the band in 1972. He had been struggling mentally with the pressures and had become reliant on drink and drugs. He produced a number of solo albums but always struggled with his demons.

The band went through a number of personnel changes before settling on a line-up that included John, Christine, Mick as well as Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. This line-up went on to become one of the biggest acts of the 1970s.

Danny Kirwan died on 8 June 2018.

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