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However, it nearly cost them their sanity. And their lives… Words: Across town, prospects for the Buckingham-Nicks duo looked equally unpromising. Buckingham in turn recommended to them a young singer called Stevie Nicks. Although she had grown up in Phoenix, Arizona, Nicks born in May had first met Buckingham when she transferred to high school in San Francisco in Two years later, when Fritz needed a singer, she was the first person he called.
Although they opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, a record deal failed to materialise, and it eventually became obvious they were going nowhere fast. By , Fritz had split, and Buckingham and Nicks — by now lovers as well as musical soulmates — moved to LA. A record deal with Polydor resulted in the album Buckingham Nicks. But with no real marketing or promotion, it died a death. I was totally devoted to making it happen for him. But Fleetwood Mac already had a female singer in Christine McVie, so his initial invitation was merely to the guitarist.
That was as far as his thinking went. I had to explain we came as a duo. Fleetwood was so convinced that Buckingham was his man that he swiftly agreed to take them both — although he promised Christine McVie that she had a veto if she disliked Nicks. Initially, the guitarist had reservations about submerging his musical personality in an already established band — particularly as he had not been a fan of the Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac.
Betty Anne Waters, Real-Life Heroine of ‘Conviction’ - The New York Times
Nicks swiftly reassured him. Yet it was not necessarily the most stable. What Buckingham and Nicks had failed to reveal to their new colleagues was that, although they came as a team, their relationship was already falling apart at the seams.
Our relationship was already in dire straits. The Buckingham-Nicks teaming brought a pile of songs with them and the difference they made to the sound was immediately evident. The album was finished inside three months — astonishingly fast given the years they would spend labouring over future releases. Upon completion, the band repaired to Hawaii for a vacation. When Fleetwood Mac was released in July , its success was initially modest. But the band toured relentlessly.
We kicked that album in the ass. By then, Fleetwood Mac had already been back at work for six months, recording the follow-up at the Record Plant in Sausalito, a half-hour drive over the Golden Gate Bridge from downtown San Francisco. But during the relentless touring of the previous year, the cracks in the Buckingham-Nicks relationship had grown to a volcanic fissure, and the McVies were also in the middle of divorce proceedings.
The ever-affable and gregarious Fleetwood attempted to hold the ring, adding the roles of guidance counsellor and social worker to that of band leader.
And because there was this chaos going on with me and Lindsey, the band gave me a friend in this woman and I could hang out with Christine. The next day we moved out and got two matching apartments next to each other. The inside sleeve of Rumours symbolically shows Stevie and Christine embracing while the fatherly Fleetwood looks on. At the time, she admits she was more interested in Peter Green. She turned him down and instead wrote John a long letter explaining her feelings for him.
They were married 10 days later and Christine announced in Melody Maker that she was retiring to become a housewife. I was seeing more Hyde than Jekyll. This complex web of relationships almost split the band, before Weston was sacked and the McVies agreed to give it another chance.
It was either that or me ending up in a lunatic asylum. I still worry for him, more than I would ever dare tell him.
I still have a lot of love for John. He just went one step too far. One night during the tour we all got drunk together in the hotel bar after a gig and he decided to address the entire room on the subject. When sober, he is more philosophical. At one point, the highly strung Buckingham thought of quitting. What would we have done — sat around in LA and tried to start new bands? Instead of quitting, Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie began writing songs to each other, like pages from their respective diaries.
You had to feel rather sorry for John. Then Buckingham takes up the conversation again. Drug-taking was methodical when we got to LA. For me, it fitted right into the incense and candles and that stuff. And I really imagined that it could overtake everything, never thinking in a million years that it would overtake me. It was music through chemistry.
Nicks — although she is today militantly anti-drugs and threatens to shop anyone around the band whom she catches — concedes the point: But it was helping us make the best music. Every so often, one or other member of the band would demand another hit. One day, engineer Ken Caillat substituted a dummy bag full of talcum powder.
When it was next called for, he tipped the bag upside down and emptied the contents all over the floor. But such lighter moments were few and far between. Having spent a year making the album, the master tapes had been dragged across the machine heads a thousand times. In those pre-digital days, this had led to a marked degradation of the sound quality, particularly at the upper end of the register, and the band had to go back into the studio in LA to redub.
Initially, the group appeared oblivious to the power of what they had gone and done. Has melodic MOR soft-rock ever surged with such emotional discharge and human electricity? Has such a highly polished veneer ever been so dramatically juxtaposed with such a scalding cauldron of simmering tensions and seething passions?
What was going on between us created a resonance that goes beyond the music itself. You had these dialogues shooting back and forth about what was going down between us and we were chronicling every nuance of it.
We had to play the hand out and people found it riveting. Released in February , Rumours topped the US album charts for six months. The record sold 10 million in its first year and at its height in America was going platinum one million sales every 30 days.
Fleetwood Mac: 'Everybody was pretty weirded out' – the story of Rumours - Uncut
And the heady cocktail of success, drugs and more money than they knew how to spend left little space for reflection or time to slow down.
Outside were parked a pair of matching Mercedes-Benz cars with license plates named after her pair of Lhasa Apsos.
Fleetwood bought a cliff-top house in Malibu and a fleet of vintage sports cars. Buckingham — who seemed the least impressed by the trappings of celebrity and money — bought a fine LA home which he shared with Rumours producer Richard Dashut, while John McVie divided his time between a foot schooner moored at Marina del Rey and a home in Beverly Hills. None of the band was reticent about flashing their cash. But she bought into the rich-and-famous lifestyle more enthusiastically than anyone, having been taught to spend money, she claims, during her affair with the notoriously ostentatious Don Henley.
I need to go to LA. I need to go now. That was the biggest surprise. Everybody was angry, because Mick was married to a wonderful girl and had two wonderful children. I loved these people. I loved his family. Within five months, Nicks had become stepmother to the child by marrying the father. The rest of the band were appalled, and Christine McVie admits she even refused to buy the couple a wedding present.
Their misgivings were well-directed. Within eight months the couple were divorced. Touring for Fleetwood Mac by now meant private jets and all manner of preposterous demands. Hotels would be told to paint rooms pink and install grand pianos. White, like the one on the cover of Imagine, of course. Somewhere in the midst of the madness, the group managed to record further albums. Following Rumours was never going to be easy and the double album Tusk, released in November , met with distinctly mixed reactions.
Again it took over a year to record and cost a million dollars — an unprecedented amount of money at the time. I wanted something that had a little more depth. The title track employed a piece marching band. And the excess was equally gargantuan on a non-musical level. Exotic food delivered to the studio, crates of champagne. And it had to be the best, with no thought of what it cost. Somebody once said that with the money we spent on champagne on one night, they could have made an entire album.
Ultimately, it went on to sell eight million copies. Impressive for a double album, but in comparison to 25 million, a relative failure. Other band members were not slow to point the finger at Buckingham.