Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac (1975)

Fleetwood Mac is the tenth proper studio album by the namesake English/American pop-rock band, released on July 11, 1975 on Reprise. It’s their first album with singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and co-vocalist Stevie Nicks, who jointly replaced the band’s prior frontman Bob Welch earlier that year.

The 11-song Fleetwood Mac features 10 originals. Longtime keyboardist Christine McVie wrote “Warm Ways,” “Over My Head,” “Say You Love Me,” and “Sugar Daddy.” Nicks contributed “Blue Letter,” “Landslide,”  and “Crystal.” The last of those, sung by Lindsey, was recycled from Buckingham Nicks. Buckingham himself was responsible for the opening and closing numbers, “Monday Morning” and “I’m So Afraid.” “World Turning” is a Buckingham/McVie co-write. The only track composed by non-members is “Blue Letter,” written by brothers Michael and Richard Curtis, who befriended Buckingham and Nicks when the latter pair were still planning a second album as a duo.

Fleetwood Mac was recorded January–February 1975 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Calif., and co-produced between engineer Keith Olsen and the band. A decade earlier, Olsen played bass in garage-rockers the Music Machine, which had a hit in 1966 with “Talk Talk.” His prior technical credits included albums for the Curt Boettcher-produced acts Sagittarius, The Millennium, and Eternity’s Children. Most recently, he produced the 1973 Buckingham Nicks album. A year later, when Mick Fleetwood visited Sound City, Olsen played him that album to demonstrate the studio’s acoustics. It was through this chance exposure that Fleetwood, impressed with what he heard, invited the duo to join Fleetwood Mac.

The front cover shows a clean-shaven Mick Fleetwood, standing sideways to the camera with drink in hand over a kneeling John McVie. It was photographed by Herbert W. Worthington, who was also responsible for the cover imagery on the band’s prior release Heroes Are Hard to Find and their subsequent Rumours.

A1. “Monday Morning” (2:48) | Writer: Buckingham | Vocals: Buckingham

Mid-tempo guitar rocker built on C/F/G progression. Vocals enter on first bar. Galloping rhythmic pattern. Twangy licks and harmonies on “I don’t mind” chorus.

A2. “Warm Ways” (3:50) | Writer: C. McVie | Vocals: C. McVie

Slow, lucid number in B with soft sounds, muted licks. Evocative of Christine’s ballads on Bare Trees. Chorus built on descending chordal pattern in E with soaring “Forever, forever love…” vocal line. Light acoustic chords revealed at fadeout.

A3. “Blue Letter” (2:31) | Writer: Michael and Richard Curtis | Vocals: Buckingham

Uptempo harmony rocker in A. Twangy licks over turgid root notes and a tambourine-driven 4/4 rhythm. Interwoven vocals on pre-chorus and chorus.

A4. “Rhiannon” (4:12) | Writer: Nicks | Vocals: Buckingham

Dark, moody piece based on thematic arc in Am. Main riff comprised of Fender Rhodes piano and muted, plucked guitar, played in unison. Lifts to C for rising vocal on pre-chorus. Ghostly harmonies on title-line. Sinewy licks and glistening keys on fadeout.

A5. “Over My Head” (3:34) | Writer: C. McVie | Vocals: C. McVie

Light mid-tempo number in E. Faint organ, muted picking, soft time-keeping.

A6. “Crystal” (5:12) | Writer: Nicks | Vocals: Buckingham

Quiet acoustic/vocal intro. Subdued arrangement built on descending/ascending chordal pattern, starting in G. Lindsey alone on verse with added thirds by Stevie on the chorus. Lengthy outro trades flute-tone keys and acoustic filigree.

B1. “Say You Love Me” (4:11) | Writer: C. McVie | Vocals: C. McVie
B2. “Landslide” (3:05) | Writer: Nicks | Vocals: Nicks
B3. “World Turning” (4:25) | Writer: C. McVie / Buckingham | Vocals: C. McVie / Buckingham
B4. “Sugar Daddy” (4:09) | Writer: C. McVie | Vocals: C. McVie
B5. “I’m So Afraid” (4:15) | Writer: Buckingham | Vocals: Buckingham

A1. “Monday Morning” (2:48)
A2. “Warm Ways” (3:50)
A3. “Blue Letter” (2:31)
A4. “Rhiannon” (4:12)
A5. “Over My Head” (3:34)
A6. “Crystal” (5:12)
B1. “Say You Love Me” (4:11)
B2. “Landslide” (3:05)
B3. “World Turning” (4:25)
B4. “Sugar Daddy” (4:09)
B5. “I’m So Afraid” (4:15)

Lindsey Buckingham – electric, acoustic, and resonator guitar, banjo, vocals
Stevie Nicks – vocals
Christine McVie – keyboards, synthesizer, vocals
John McVie – bass guitar
Mick Fleetwood – drums, percussion

Waddy Wachtel – rhythm guitar (B4)

Producers: Fleetwood Mac & Keith Olsen
Engineer: Keith Olsen
2nd Engineer: David Devore
Photograph: Herbert W. Worthington III


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