As Fleetwood Mac prepare to play Leeds’s First Direct Arena this evening, Mark Casci runs down five essential facts about the group.
1 - Despite being born out of the London blues boom and named after their seminal rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, the band were initially a vehicle for the then frontman Peter Green.
One of the best blues guitarists of all time, Green led the band through their initial years and in 1968 the group sold more records than The Beatles and Rolling Stones combined with hits such as Albatross. However Green began to suffer from mental health problems and had to quit the band in 1970.
2- One of the band’s formative guitarists Jeremy Spencer quit the band mid-tour in America to join a cult. Having told the group he wanted to buy something to read he wandered off and was accosted by a member of the Children of God group and never returned.
3 - At one stage there were two Fleetwood Macs. The band’s former manager, Clifford Davis, claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac, and recruited new members to tour under the banner.
The legal wrangling that followed put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for almost a year.
4 - The band’s golden period came when they recruited Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham to front the band. The pair’s tumultuous split, along with the break-up of John McVie and keyboard player Christie McVie inspired the album Rumours, which remains one of the biggest selling records of all time. Songs like Go Your Own Way and Dreams were directly inspired by the inter-band fallouts and the album made the band one of the biggest on the planet.
5 - The current tour is the first time the so-called classic line-up of McVie, Fleetwood, Buckingham, Nicks and McVie have played together for 17 years.