The guitarist and his then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks joined the iconic group on New Year’s Eve 1974 after performing as a duo, Buckingham Nicks. They first contributed to Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 10th album (1975), which came before the seminal ‘Rumours’ (1977).
The latter LP was written and recorded during a tumultuous period for the band members; Buckingham and Nicks ended their romance, while John and Christine McVie divorced after nearly eight years of marriage. Heavy drug use also became a problem.
These issues influenced classic tracks such as ‘Go Your Own Way’ and ‘Dreams’. The song ‘You Make Loving Fun’, meanwhile, was inspired by Christine McVie’s affair with Fleetwood Mac’s lighting director.
The band experienced tensions throughout the rest of their career, with Buckingham ultimately being ousted from the line-up in 2018. He was replaced by Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, and this year released a self-titled solo album.
During a new interview with Clash magazine, Buckingham reflected on the unique “synergy” within Fleetwood Mac, “where the whole became more than the sum of its parts”.
“What happens is that you begin to understand that, and accept it as a gift,” he continued.
“Early on, soon after joining Fleetwood Mac, I realised that we were the kind of group who didn’t – on paper – belong in the same group together. But yet that was the very thing that made us so effective.”
Elsewhere, Buckingham described his former band as a “big machine”. “Within Fleetwood Mac, politics have essentially dictated that we haven’t made any new music in a while,” he explained.
“But as a solo artist, I don’t have to push back against that. I’ve always done what I’ve wanted to do, basically, and I think the realisation I had to come to was being willing to lose some of the huge audience Fleetwood Mac have in order to pursue that.
“It’s just a trade-off you have to be willing to make in order to do things on your own terms.”
He also likened working with other musicians to “making a movie”, adding: “I love being a producer, and bringing songs from, say, Christine and Stevie to life. But working on your own is like a painting, I would say.”
Shortly afterwards, Stevie Nicks made her first public statement on the guitarist’s departure. She accused her ex-bandmate/ex-partner of telling a “revisionist history of what transpired in 2018″.
“His version of events is factually inaccurate,” Nicks continued, “and while I’ve never spoken publicly on the matter, preferring to not air dirty laundry, certainly it feels the time has come to shine a light on the truth.”