By the time Fleetwood Mac entered London’s Advision Studios to record Future Games, their fifth studio album, in the summer of 1971, the only remaining original band members were bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. The group’s early guiding light, gifted guitarist Peter Green had left in 1970 and was swiftly followed by fellow-guitarist Jeremy Spencer. This gave the then 21-year-old lead guitarist Danny Kirwan, who’d joined Fleetwood Mac just a few years earlier, an opportunity to step up to the plate and show his worth. There were new recruits, too – keyboardist and singer Christine McVie had made uncredited contributions to the group’s 1970 album, Kiln House, and was now made an official member of the band, while US guitarist Bob Welch was added to flesh out the sound.
Listen to ‘Future Games’ here.
Spaced-out progressive beauty
The line-up changes had a marked effect. Pushing Fleetwood Mac’s earlier heavy blues influence aside in order to make way for a wider sonic palette, Future Games saw the group embrace psychedelia, dreamy West Coast folk and cosmic progressive pop. Welch brought a jazzy, R&B sensibility to his playing and songwriting, and Christine McVie’s contributions saw her establishing the irresistible polished pop sound that would bring Fleetwood Mac such enormous success in the late 70s.
Future Games’ opening track, however, shows what Danny Kirwan was capable of. The mellow and spacey Woman Of 1000 Years shares some of the spaced-out progressive acoustic beauty that was at that point winning Crosby, Stills And Nash huge audiences worldwide. A wistful, low-key way to start an album, it beckons the listener in closer, rather than bludgeoning them around the head.