“Rumours” was the peak of Fleetwood Mac’s career, both commercially and artistically. They suddenly discovered a way of writing really exciting pieces of music evoking the word ‘genius’, on one hand, and making them easily adaptable, on the other. In this respect, Fleetwood Mac created a real revolution and they might be called the most groundbreaking group of 1977.
The Black Jacket Symphony will be performing “Rumours” in Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama this week.
There is a big connection with Alabama and Fleetwood Mac.
Specifically, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
Buckingham Nicks had released the self titled 10 track LP on Polydor Records in 1973. A great album by anybody’s standards. Great songs and stellar production. The label gave little support and it flopped. Completely tanked.
Well, not completely.
A radio station in Birmingham Alabama played tracks from it. A lot. The station was WJLN-FM. They played “soul” music during the day, but at night they went to a “progressive/underground rock”.
This was back when program directors and disc jockey’s actually had a say so in the music played.
So the duo and their band played in Alabama, and created a huge buzz in the one area.
Lindsey Buckingham: “We had this very strange area of localized success….a little pocket of Buckingham Nicks- mania! Of the few gigs we had done two were in Birmingham, Alabama; the first was opening for Mountain, and the second was opening for Poco…and for some reason we really caught fire in that town. Some DJ’s picked up on the album, and it was a huge success there, so we went down a storm! If nowhere else in the world, Buckingham Nicks were stars in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Meanwhile, while checking out the Sound City recording studio in California Keith Olson played Mick Fleetwood the song “Frozen Love” from the Buckingham Nicks album just to let him hear the quality of the studio. Fleetwood asked who the guitarist was, and immediately stated that he wanted him to fill a recent vacancy (Bob Welch was quitting the band). Buckingham insisted to Fleetwood that he and Nicks were a package deal—if Mick didn’t want Stevie, he wouldn’t get Lindsey.
He offered a job to both.
Stevie Nicks: “We were starving in L.A., and then we come here to play for 5,000 people. “I told Lindsey, ‘We can move to Birmingham, and branch out from the South, or we can join Fleetwood Mac.’”
The duo joined Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve, 1974.
She explained why they decided to join Fleetwood Mac instead of moving. “Fleetwood Mac gave us money.”
“So it happened that our last gigs as Buckingham Nicks was in Birmingham just after we’d joined Fleetwood Mac. As a result of our two previous gigs we were booked as the headline act. So we topped the bill to an audience of 7,000 and Buckingham Nicks went out on a much higher note than anyone could have expected.”
So In 1975, the new line-up released the eponymous album ‘Fleetwood Mac’. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit, reaching No.1 in the US and selling over 5 million copies.
The next album would be even bigger. Much bigger.
As far as the album “Buckingham Nicks” goes, it has never seen an official CD or download release. It’s gained a cult status in the bootleg world.