Fleetwood Mac Was Divided Into 2 ‘Teams,’ Says a ‘Rumours’ Producer: ‘The 3 Brits’ and ‘the 2 Americans’

A former Fleetwood Mac producer shared what it was like working with the band when they were making the Rumours album, and he said that the group was divided into two teams. Here’s what the producer said about the division among the bandmates and where they stand now.

Fleetwood Mac, whose most successful work was the "Rumours" album, smiles together at an event.
Fleetwood Mac: (L-R) Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974

Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were in a relationship and recorded an album as the duo Buckingham Nicks before they joined Fleetwood Mac. Their bitter breakup later inspired many of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest songs, including several tracks on the wildly successful Rumours album.

Drummer and founding member Mick Fleetwood was searching for a new guitar player when he heard the Buckingham Nicks song “Frozen Love.” He was so impressed by Buckingham’s guitar playing that he invited him to join his band. Buckingham accepted on one condition: that his then-girlfriend Nicks join, too. 

The existing band members – Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie – went to dinner with Nicks and Buckingham as an informal interview to see if they’d be a good fit. “It was critical that I got on with her,” Christine McVie told The Guardian in 2013. “Because I’d never played with another girl. But I liked her instantly. She was funny and nice but also there was no competition. We were completely different on the stage to each other and we wrote differently too.”

McVie agreed that the couple could join Fleetwood Mac, and on New Year’s Eve 1974, the group called Nicks and Buckingham and Nicks to officially invite them into the band.

Fleetwood Mac was divided into 2 teams, says a former producer

Producer Ken Caillat worked with Fleetwood Mac on their most popular album, Rumours. Although the band had already released a self-titled album since Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band, they were still figuring out how to play with their two newest members.

The producer said the group was divided into two teams. “Basically, you had two teams: Christine, John and Mick, the three Brits, were pros, and the two Americans, Lindsey and Stevie, had their shorthand, but they were still new to the group,” Caillat told MusicRadar. “During the making of Rumours, they became a real band, one that was very intuitive, musically and otherwise.”

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The band divided again when they fired Lindsey Buckingham

After Rumours, some members of Fleetwood Mac found success with solo careers, while still maintaining their presence in the band. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie even toured as a duo. But the group divided again, and instead of two teams, only one band member was left out. 

In 2018, Buckingham was working on his seventh solo album and asked Fleetwood Mac to delay their 2018 tour by three months so he could promote his new music. He had made a similar request in 2006, and the band gave him two years. But this time, they fired Buckingham instead of accommodating his request.

“This team wanted to get out on the road, and one of the members didn’t want to go out on the road for a year and we just couldn’t agree,” Stevie Nicks said of Buckingham’s firing (via Page Six). “And when you’re in a band it’s a team, I have a solo career and I love my solo career and I’m the boss. But I’m not the boss in this band.”

“It became just a huge impasse,” said Mick Fleetwood. “We hit a brick wall where we decided we had to part company.”