Headliners: Fleetwood Mac

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I think I speak for most of my generation when I say I'm familiar enough with Fleetwood Mac to know they rule, but not so much that I can adequately explain why. Throughout my 25 years, I've gleaned that Bill Clinton is a big fan, the members slept around with each other a lot and "Go Your Own Way" is a monster jam.

In the same way that Hall & Oates' soft-core soul has gained currency with America's youth, Fleetwood Mac has earned that vaguely kitschy, mostly genuine seal of approval. But I must admit I'm behind the curve.

With the band playing Nationwide Arena Saturday, now seems like a good time to learn more about the rock legends and pass along my discoveries to my fellow noobs. (This will also allow elitist Fleetwood Mac fans out there, if such people exist, a chance to look down their noses at me.)

Fleetwood FAQ

The two names I most readily associated with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, didn't join until eight years, nine albums and nine lineup changes into the band's career.

The band is named after drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. Fleetwood wanted McVie in the band so badly that he included "Mac" in the band name before McVie actually joined.

The first incarnation of the band was a blues-rock combo built around guitarist Peter Green, who played with Fleetwood and McVie in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. (Green had the unenviable task of replacing Eric Clapton in the Bluesbreakers.) Suffering from LSD-induced schizophrenia, Green left the band in 1970.

Nicks' real name is Stephanie.

The band is currently on tour as a four-piece featuring Fleetwood, McVie, Buckingham and Nicks. McVie's wife Christine, an integral part of the hit-making late '70s and '80s lineup, retired from the band in 1998 after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

An unofficial fan site, FleetwoodMac.net, includes an extensive year-by-year biography of the band up to 1983. It's a good read!

Columbus connection:

• Local band The Lindsay intended their name as a tribute to Buckingham, only to later discover he spelled Lindsey with an "e," not an "a."

• Columbus combo The Kyle Sowashes perform a song called "Rumours" in which singer Kyle Sowash confesses his childhood crush on Nicks.

Mac Tracks

Basically all of 1977's Rumours is required listening for aspiring Fleetwood Mac fans. Specifically, you'll recognize these tracks as indispensable radio staples:

• "Go Your Own Way" - The greatest Fleetwood Mac song, hands down.

• "You Make Loving Fun" - You may not know the name, but you know the song. Trust me.

• "The Chain" - Here we hear Mac at their most dramatic.

• "Don't Stop" - President Clinton used this forward-looking finger-snapper as his 1992 campaign song, and persuaded the band to reform and perform it at his 1993 inauguration.

Other essential Mac:

• "Albatross" - The band's first No. 1 single, released in 1968 during the Peter Green era, is a bluesy slow-burner that also features guitarist Danny Kirwan. At the time, Kirwan was 18 and a new addition to the band.

• "Rhiannon" - The best song from the group's self-titled 1975 reinvention.

• "Tusk" - The band released this dark, demented curveball and the double LP of the same name in 1979, thwarting expectations after the smash success of Rumours.

• "Gypsy" - No track captures the Stevie Nicks' bizarre essence better than this.

• "Big Love" - They named a TV show after it; it must be good.

• "Everywhere" - Christine McVie's new-wave-infected showcase is a good sample of '80s Mac.

Fleetwood Mac

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 18

Where: Nationwide Arena, Arena District

Web: nationwidearena.com