Fleetwood Mac has survived more personnel changes and traumas through the years than almost any major band you can think of, but the latest may be the most devastating cut at all. A few months ago, the group fired Lindsey Buckingham, who has been the creative driving force behind the group for more than 40 years. Buckingham wrote many of the band’s biggest hits, was the main musical arranger for the group, an excellent lead and harmony singer, a studio wizard who helped define their modern aesthetic, and also one of the more skilled and imaginative (and underrated) guitarists in rock. Now, I understand that there are valid (commercial) reasons why the group would take this step, and I have absolutely no doubt that the talented replacements who have been brought in to fill his shoes for the group’s upcoming tour—Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers—will be able to cover Buckingham’s vocal and instrumental parts. But what they cannot replicate is his deep soulfulness and his quirky, compelling, just-this-side-of-insane spirit. If Stevie Nicks was the airy, wispy enchantress, and Christine McVie the more grounded and world-wise songbird (and I’m a huge fan of both!), Lindsey was the barely controllable whirlwind at the center who held everything together while simultaneously striving to blow our expectations apart. For my money, he’s the guy who made it all work.
So, to honor the-one-who-is-being-left-behind, here’s Lindsey Buckingham playing a solo acoustic (nylon-string!) version of a song he wrote for Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 album, Tango in the Night, “Big Love.” The single of that tune hit the Top Ten in both the U.S. (where it was also a dance hit) and the UK. —Blair Jackson