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Lindsey Buckingham’s Best Fleetwood Mac Moments: 10 Standout Songs
ZUMA Press, Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
List & Guides

Lindsey Buckingham’s Best Fleetwood Mac Moments: 10 Standout Songs

From his unique musicianship to his precision songwriting, Lindsey Buckingham’s best Fleetwood Mac moments have defined the band’s career.

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Lindsey Buckingham, who was born on 3 October 1949 in Palo Alto, California, is now a successful solo artist with a string of records to his name, including his latest, a self-titled album released in September 2021. But he will always have a special place in the hearts of Fleetwood Mac fans. His remarkable contribution to the band encompasses his marvellous guitar playing, singing and songwriting. Here we pick Lindsey Buckingham’s ten best Fleetwood Mac moments.

Listen to the best of Fleetwood Mac here, and check out Lindsey Buckingham’s ten best Fleetwood Mac moments, below.

10: Monday Morning (from ‘Fleetwood Mac’, 1975)

Monday Morning, a breezy, entertaining pop hit, was written by Buckingham when he and his girlfriend Stevie Nicks were performing as the duo Buckingham Nicks. He offered the song to Fleetwood Mac after the pair joined the band, and it appeared on their self-titled 1975 album Monday Morning is a catchy folk-pop anthem featuring a strong melody progression and skilful lead guitar work from Buckingham, who also took lead vocals. One of the earliest examples of what the best of Lindsey Buckingham could bring to Fleetwood Mac, the song was an impressive way to announce his importance to his new bandmates.

9: The Chain (from ‘Rumours’, 1977)

The writing of The Chain, from the iconic 1977 album Rumours, was credited to all five members of that era’s Fleetwood Mac incarnation (Buckingham, Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood and is notable for Buckingham’s mesmerising guitar work. The musician had been a longstanding fan of the Dobro guitar-playing of Stephen Stills (of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills And Nash fame) since the 60s, and Buckingham used that instrument to supply the memorable verse riff so potent alongside John McVie’s superb bassline.

8: Second Hand News (from ‘Rumours’, 1977)

Happily, after damaging his vocal cords during open-heart surgery in 2019, Buckingham was able to sing again on his 2021 solo album. He took lead vocals on three of Rumours’ tracks, including his zestful delivery on Second Hand News, his own composition. Buckingham’s voice was a relatively high one, allowing him to create some rich harmonies with Christine McVie.

7: Tusk (from ‘Tusk’, 1979)

The title track of Fleetwood Mac’s 12th studio album, Tusk originated from a rehearsal riff that Buckingham used to play during soundchecks. The heavily percussive track, featuring lots of drum sounds, was full of experimentation and came during a period when Buckingham’s influences were expanding (he enthused about seeing punk firebrands The Clash perform in London). The track included percussion performed on an empty box of Kleenex tissues.

6: Walk A Thin Line (from ‘Tusk’, 1979)

Buckingham wrote nine of the 20 tracks on Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album, Tusk – which went on to sell four million copies – including the innovative Walk A Thin Line. One of the best songs Lindsey Buckingham penned for the group, its multi-tracked vocals have echoes of the arrangements Brian Wilson created for The Beach Boys, but Buckingham said that song was actually inspired by a solo by The Rolling Stones’ drummer, Charlie Watts. “We’re a group of people who, you could make the argument, don’t belong in the same band together,” Buckingham said of his fractious band. “It’s the synergy of that that makes it work.”

5: Big Love (from ‘Tango In The Night’, 1987)

Big Love, a UK No.1 hit in 1987, was a single taken from Tango In The Night, released that same year. Buckingham showed off all his multi-talented skills on this sultry dance track, writing the original song and then singing, playing acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars and synthesiser, and doing the drum programming. There is a memorable “oh-ahh” vocal exchange throughout the song; though many assumed that Stevie Nicks was performing the female part, both vocals were down to Buckingham, who sampled and altered his vocals to sound like a woman. “It was odd that so many people wondered if it was Stevie on there with me,” he commented. Big Love is a great example of Buckingham’s ability to keep a bass note going underneath a counter melody. “That song was the template for many of the things that followed,” he said.

4: Landslide (from ‘Fleetwood Mac’, 1975)

Buckingham grew up admiring the guitar playing of Chet Atkins and Elvis Presley sideman Scotty Moore. His own playing, with its elegant fingerpicking style (he rarely used a real pick) was full of grace and perfect timing. His guitar work on Landslide, a song from the band’s eponymous 1975 album, provided the perfect accompaniment to the graceful vocals of Nicks, who composed the tune. Delivering some of his best instrumental performances on a Fleetwood Mac record, Lindsay Buckingham played electric, acoustic and resonator guitars on the album, as well as the banjo, an instrument he first started playing when he was 12 years old. Landslide is a masterclass in timing and rhythm, using three fingers. Buckingham has influenced myriad guitar players, including Marty Friedman of heavy metal band Megadeth, who said, “His playing is just so gut-wrenching… what he does always elevates the song.”

3: Don’t Stop (from ‘Rumours’, 1977)

Don’t Stop, one of the hit singles from Fleetwood Mac’s masterpiece, Rumours, was written by Christine McVie and sung by her and Buckingham. Their voices gel brilliantly, but it was Buckingham’s sweet lead vocals that defined a timeless rock classic. In 1993, Bill Clinton began using the song as part of his Presidential campaign. “They used it without asking. But we liked him, and it took a natural course, and became a national anthem. Still is,” Mick Fleetwood said in 2021.

2: Never Going Back Again (from ‘Rumours’, 1977)

Buckingham has always been a perfectionist. After recording a fine version of Never Going Back Again for Rumours, he realised that he had played his acoustic guitar part in the wrong key. He started the song, which he’d written in the wake of his breakup with Nicks, from scratch and recorded the memorable finished version accompanying himself on guitar, using a fingerpicking technique perfected by country-music star Merle Travis. Producer Ken Caillat said they restrung Buckingham’s acoustic guitar three times an hour throughout the day at the recording studio, one of the many refinements responsible for what he called “Buckingham’s magnificent instrumental passages”.

1: Go Your Own Way (from ‘Rumours’, 1977)

In late 1974, Buckingham agreed to join Fleetwood Mac only if he could bring his then girlfriend, Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks, with him. Their relationship later fell apart and the impending breakup was the subject of the visceral song Go Your Own Way, from Rumours. The lyrics are sharp and tempestuous, and even the guitar part sounds aggressive. Topping our list of Lindsey Buckingham’s best Fleetwood Mac moments, the song closed shows throughout most of the group’s promotional tour in support of the record. “I very, very much resented him telling the world that ‘packing up, shacking up’ with different men was all I wanted to do,” Nicks told Rolling Stone magazine in 1997. “He knew it wasn’t true. It was just an angry thing that he said. Every time those words would come out onstage, I wanted to go over and kill him.” Buckingham left the band in 1987. After brief return in 2018, he went his own way again.

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