"Landslide"-Musician turns 75: Mick Fleetwood lives for the stage

“Landslide” musician turns 75
Mick Fleetwood lives for the stage

He is not only a drummer, but also the namesake of one of the most famous bands of all time: Mick Fleetwood wrote music history with Fleetwood Mac. The legendary musician has been performing for around 60 years. Now he is celebrating his 75th birthday.

Mick Fleetwood can see the sea from the roof terrace of his restaurant. Fleetwood’s On Front Street is located directly on the Maui shore. The Hawaiian island has been a home for the British drummer for years – when he’s not on a world tour with Fleetwood Mac. The successful pop and rock band, which he co-founded as a blues combo over 50 years ago, still fills arenas and even entire stadiums to this day. Mick Fleetwood is now 75 years old – and it’s probably only a matter of time before it says: “The Mac is back.”

Fleetwood is currently busy with other things. The six-foot-tall musician is producing the TV series ’13 Songs’ about an aging rock star who has just months to live after being diagnosed with cancer but plans to record 13 songs with his former band first. Fleetwood, who has released several solo albums since 1981 and still plays solo today, is said to contribute the music.

From left to right: Mike Campbell, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

(Photo: picture alliance/AP Images)

Michael John Kells Fleetwood, born in Redruth/Cornwall, England in 1947, moved to London as a teenager because of music. He had previously lived with his family in Egypt and Norway, among other places. His father, a RAF fighter pilot, had been posted there. He is said to have made his first appearance when he was 16. As a drummer for the band The Cheynes, Fleetwood also supported the Rolling Stones before they had their big break.

Fleetwood Mac was born

As a drummer for John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, he met bassist John McVie and guitarist Peter Green – a milestone. Because when Green left the group to start his own, he took the rhythm section with him and named his new blues band after the two: Fleetwood Mac was born. In 1968 the first album “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac” was released. On the second, “Mr. Wonderful”, only the band name Fleetwood Mac was written. The group had a number one hit in the UK in 1969 with the instrumental single “Albatross”, which did not appear on any album. “Man Of The World” was another hit. But Green, whose LSD use was becoming a problem, soon dropped out. “Losing Peter was tragic for us,” Fleetwood, who became the band’s leader, recalled in The Guardian.

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Fleetwood Mac in her younger days – 1969.

(Photo: picture alliance / Photoshot)

Several line-up changes followed, including the arrival of John McVie’s wife, keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie, and the band’s move to the United States. It was there that the drummer made the landmark decision to add a US duo to the band – vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham. The first studio album in this line-up, the tenth overall, was just called “Fleetwood Mac” and was a great success. Songs like “Landslide”, “Rhiannon” or “Say You Love Me” are classics today. But the follow-up work overshadowed everything. “Rumours”, released in 1977, with songs like “Dreams”, “Don’t Stop” or “The Chain” topped the charts in Great Britain and the USA. “Rumors” sold ten million copies in the first month alone. It won a Grammy for Album of the Year and remains one of the best-selling albums in music history to date.

The album came at a turbulent time when Nicks and Buckingham’s relationship and McVies’ marriage had just broken up and the band members were consuming drugs and alcohol in excess. Curiously, these circumstances led to some of the best songs in Fleetwood Mac history, where private drama became the order of the day and dominated the songwriting. Fleetwood himself was also temporarily in a relationship with singer Nicks. “I ended up falling in love with her and it was messy,” he wrote in his autobiography Play On. “It happened on tour and was a crazy love affair that lasted longer than we really remember.”

Harry Styles and Fleetwood

The affair ended when Fleetwood hooked up with Nicks’ girlfriend Sara. The song of the same name from the album “Tusk” is said to be about her. At this point, Fleetwood was still married to Jenny Boyd, the mother of his daughters Lucy and Amy. Sara Recor became his second wife in 1988. The marriage lasted four years. The drummer was married to Lynn Frankel from 1995 to 2015, with whom he has daughters Ruby and Tessa.

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On stage since he was 16: Mick Fleetwood

(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

It was the girls who dragged their father to a concert by boy band One Direction years ago, where Fleetwood befriended backstage singer Harry Styles, almost 47 years his junior. This led to a curious collaboration: the mid-70s recently became the face of a nail polish advertising campaign for Styles’ brand Pleasing. The old rocker poses in a hippie outfit with colorful nails in psychedelic photos. A sense of “why not?” or “I would never have thought of something like that” prompted him to do so, he told “Vogue”.

Incidentally, at Fleetwood Mac the internal dramas continue to this day. Most recently, Buckingham had to leave the band at the insistence of his ex-girlfriend Nicks – of all things for the band’s 50th anniversary. A renewed reunion still seems possible and would also be in the spirit of Mick Fleetwood, who said he spoke to Buckingham. “Crazy things can happen,” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “I know I want to make music with Lindsey and I want to play with him again.”

Until he repeated his famous sentence “The Mac is back!” in a packed concert arena. says he’ll probably be sitting on the stage behind the drums in his restaurant a few more times. The “Fleetwood’s” is not only a restaurant, but also a concert club. “I’m a musician,” he emphasized a few years ago in conversation with his colleague Sammy Hagar on the US show “Rock & Roll Road Trip”. “And it’s a space where I can always live out that side of me that never goes away.”

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