Behind the Band Name: Fleetwood Mac

Over its decades-long history, Fleetwood Mac has been a revolving door for musicians. Of course, there are the core members but, it took a while for the band to secure its fivesome and they have had more than their fair share of trouble keeping it together since.

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The name Fleetwood Mac instantly conjures up a selection of timeless hits – “Dreams,” “The Chain” and “Songbird” to name a few – but, how did they land on the name? Find out more about the moniker and the history of the group below.

Behind The Name

When thinking of founding members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, it’s pretty self-explanatory where the name came from but, the idea to combine the rhythm sections’ names took a while to come to fruition.

It all started when co-founder Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, which also happened to include Fleetwood and McVie.

The name of the new band came after Peter, Mick and John started recording songs, which John Mayall reportedly gave them the space to do. One of the songs that came out of those sessions was a sprawling instrumental. The song was dubbed “Fleetwood Mac” thanks to the integral contribution of the drummer and bassist (Mac being a shortened version of McVie).

After naming the song, Green brought up the idea of that being the name of the band itself – an assertion that obviously stuck.

Though the moniker may have started with Green, he was the first to leave the original line-up.

Enduring Line-up and Reunions

By the mid-’70s, the group had lost a fair share of members and frequently brought in replacements. Christine McVie – then Christine Perfect – joined the group in 1970. Four years later, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks rounded out what would become the enduring line-up.

Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the group even after solidifying their personnel. However, the five-piece turned their string of affairs, break-ups and general turmoil into gold with their magnum opus Rumours in 1977.

Rumours produced a fair amount of the group’s biggest hits including “Second Hand News,” “Dreams” and “The Chain.”

“We were all writing little movies around what was really happening, and we were digging it,” Nicks once told ABC News of the album. “We were having a lot of fun recording those songs, even though we were falling apart … if anything was keeping us from falling apart, it was going into the studio every day. And we were totally having a great time.”

In 1987, Buckingham left the band and was replaced by two new guitarists, Rick Vito and Billy Burnette.

Vito and Nicks left in 1991, however, the band did rejoin forces in 1993 for a one-off reunion at the request of Bill Clinton.

The five-some experienced a fully-fledged reunion in 1997 but it was short-lived after Christine left the band in 1998, not to return to the fold until 2014.

In 2018, Buckingham was dismissed from the band after a disagreement over touring. He subsequently sued the remaining members in a case that was settled out of court.

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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