This week, Fleetwood Mac announced the firing of longtime guitarist Lindsey Buckingham with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn brought aboard to take his place. While the news of Buckingham’s departure immensely impacts the future of the legendary band, Fleetwood Mac lineup changes are not without much precedent (they’re the type of band that has its own Wikipedia page dedicated to tracking group members).
This edition of Saturday Stream presents a Spotify Playlist that examines the earliest incarnations of the ever-evolving lineup of Fleetwood Mac dating back to the group’s initial founder and frontman Peter Green. The blues guitarist was integral in the 1967 formation of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame-inducted British rock band. By 1970, psychedelic drug use and declining mental health ultimately led the now 71-year-old to leave Fleetwood Mac.
Green met drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie while the trio were members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Green had replaced Eric Clapton in that band but wanted to form his own group with Fleetwood and McVie. The former was interested but the latter still had Bluesbreakers commitments so Green, Fleetwood, bassist Bob Brunning and slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer formed what was initially billed as “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac Featuring Jeremy Spencer.”
Lineup changes seemed inevitable from the start, as incorporating “Fleetwood Mac” into the band’s name was a means to entice McVie into joining the new outfit — which he did within months of their forming. Guitarist Danny Kirwan joined Fleetwood Mac in mid-1968. The playlist below captures the earliest versions of the band from 1967 through May of 1970, performing live and in the studio. There’s also a recording from a 1969 jam session in Chicago at Chess Studios featuring such blues icons as Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon and Otis Spann.
Featuring the later hit for Santana written by Green, “Black Magic Woman,” as well as his originals such as “Albatross” and many others, explore Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac below: