Why Lindsey Buckingham Wanted ‘Tusk’ to Break Fans’ Preconceived Notions of Fleetwood Mac

TL;DR:

  • Lindsey Buckingham wanted Tusk to be a departure from Fleetwood Mac’s previous albums.
  • He explained why.
  • The album produced three top 20 singles.
Fleetwood Mac's John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, and Lindsey Buckingham in front of a wall
Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, and Lindsey Buckingham | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

One of Fleetwood Mac‘s most famous albums is Tusk. Lindsey Buckingham revealed why he wanted the album to be different from what Fleetwood Mac’s fans expected it to be. Subsequently, Buckingham compared his work to the movies of some famous filmmakers.

Lindsey Buckingham revealed what he wanted to accomplish with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’

During a 2021 interview with Forbes, Buckingham discussed his musical philosophy. 

But, yeah, obviously, the solo stuff, even going back pre-solo album, back to Tusk, the whole impulse was to make sure that you didn’t succumb to the external expectations that begin to sort of close in around you in terms of commerce from the label or in terms of just the set of preconceptions that people have about you that they want you to sort of formulize and stick to for the rest of your life, which is tantamount to painting yourself into a corner creatively.

“And I was never one who wanted do that,” Buckingham continued. “I always wanted to define myself as an artist in the long-term, as much as I was able to. And so those are choices you make and there are outcomes you make.”

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Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham said he’d like his music to be akin to the movies of a famous filmmaker

Buckingham said his solo albums alienate most Fleetwood Mac fans. “The solo endeavors I probably lose nine-tenths of the people that might gravitate to Fleetwood Mac, but it’s a difference between, ‘Do I want to be Steven Spielberg or Jim Jarmusch?'” 

For context, Spielberg is one of the most popular filmmakers ever while Jarmusch makes avant-garde films. Buckingham went on to say he’d rather be like Jarmusch and make different music than make numerous “sequels.” He also said he respects Spielberg as a director.

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How ‘Tusk’ and its singles performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

Tusk became a hit in the United States. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 37 weeks. Three of the singles from the album — the title track, “Sara,” and “Think About Me” — reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Tusk was prominent in the United Kingdom too. According to The Official Charts Company, the album topped the chart in the U.K. for one week. Tusk lasted on the chart for 27 weeks in total. Despite this, only one of the songs from the album, “Tusk,” reached the top 20 there. It peaked at No. 6.

Buckingham wanted Tusk to be something different for Fleetwood Mac and fans seemed to respond well to the album.

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