The Original Fleetwood Mac 1967 - 1970
The roots of Fleetwood Mac lie in John Mayall's legendary British blues outfit, The Bluesbreakers. Bassist John McVie was one of the charter members of The Bluesbreakers, joining the group in 1963. In 1966 Peter Green replaced Eric Clapton, and a year later drummer Mick Fleetwood joined. Inspired by the success of Cream, The Yardbirds and Jimi Hendrix, the trio decided to break away from Mayall in 1967. At their debut at the British Jazz and Blues Festival in August, Bob Brunning was playing bass in the group, since McVie was still under contract to Mayall. He joined the band a few weeks after their debut; by that time, slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer had joined the band. Fleetwood Mac soon signed with Blue Horizon, releasing their eponymous debut the following year. “Fleetwood Mac” was an enormous hit in the U.K., spending over a year in the Top Ten. Despite its British success, the album was virtually ignored in America. During 1968, the band added guitarist Danny Kirwan. The following year, they recorded “Fleetwood Mac In Chicago” with a variety of bluesmen, including Willie Dixon and Otis Spann. The set was released later that year, after the band had left Blue Horizon for a one-album deal with Immediate Records; in the U.S., they signed with Reprise/Warner Bros., and by 1970, Warner began releasing the band's British records as well.
Fleetwood Mac released “English Rose” and “Then Play On” during 1969, which both indicated that the band was expanding its music, moving away from its blues purist roots. That year, Green's "Man of the World" and "Oh Well" were number two hits. Though his music was providing the backbone of the group, Peter Green was growing increasingly disturbed due to his large ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs. After announcing that he was planning to give all of his earnings away, Green suddenly left the band in the spring of 1970; he released two solo albums over the course of the '70s, but he rarely performed after leaving Fleetwood Mac. The band replaced him with Christine Perfect, a vocalist/pianist who had earned a small but loyal following in the U.K. by singing with Spencer Davis and Chicken Shack. She had already performed uncredited on “Then Play On”. Contractual difficulties prevented her from becoming a full-fledged member of Fleetwood Mac until 1971; by that time she had married John McVie.