Kiln House, Future Games and Bare Trees are all must listen Fleetwood Mac, though have a different sound than the ones you mention...
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Before the girls and the pop hits came along,Fleetwood Mac was a great blues band founded by Peter Green.From 1967 to 1969 they were the top blues band in England.Absolutely right.
They actually have two albums that are titled only "Fleetwood Mac" - one from 1968 and one from 1975. They bear virtually no resemblance to each other. The first is great blues stuff in the vein of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the other much more pop oriented.
You'll miss some good stuff if you ignore the earlier period.
you can't go wrong with any of their records up through rumours, but understand they are all different...once the band found commercial success, 'the formula' set in....you gotta get a stevie nicks 'package'....my favorites are 'then play on' 'kiln house' 'future games' and 'bare trees'....honorable mention to 'heroes are hard to find'.....not the best band ever, but the output is an incredible feat for a band that always had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.
I completely agree with Lloydc. They were not even close to being the best band ever. (I could easily name a hundred or so better bands.) I will readily admit that they were very successful, but then again, so was ABBA, Styx and other pop bands of that same time period.
IMHO, they were a decent, but not great, band, especially after the girls joined the group. (Before that they were not nearly as successful, but a much better band.)
Anyway, my two cents worth.
"Then Play On" would be next for me.
Be aware that this is a totally different beast bearing the same name. The full version of "Oh Well" on there is a seldom heard classic and worth acquiring just for that, but the rest is worth it also.
Also Lindsay Buckingham's solo work "Out Of The Cradle" should appeal to fans of Fleetwood mac in their later prime.
Agree with "Kiln House" and "Mirage." Very underrated efforts. Though you're not a huge fan of live albums, I'd check out "Live." It has great versions of the classics--recorded on the awesome "Tusk" tour, which I caught--as well as a few terrific songs recorded at soundchecks.
They may not be THE best band ever, but for me, they're certainly in the top five or ten.
I'll nominate the Buckingham/Nicks version of Fleetwood Mac as as a finalist for Best Rock Band Ever. The original Mac was a very good, though maddeningly inconsistent blues rock band that had some truly great moments. And many more not-so-great moments.
Just MHO, (and I know I'm in the minority here, so save the invective) but LB writes pop/rock tunes (though not lyrics) as well as anyone - including Brian Wilson or Lennon and Macca. The vocal harmonies are often masterful and the production values rival just about anyone's. "Go Your Own Way" is, again, JMO, at the top of the list of classic r'n'r songs and there are TONS of others that are right up there.
Buckingham is also in my list of top 5 guitarists and -for my money- that separates his stuff from any of the other top tier songwriters (Richard Thompson excepted, but that's a different kind of songwriter).
BTW, Peter Green, as fine a player as he is/was, and despite his interesting hardware and the resultant interesting tone, cannot touch LB in my book. Take a listen to "I'm So Afraid" or "Come" to get a taste of Buckingham's electric style or "Big Love" (as great a display of right hand rhythmic ability as I've ever heard from a pop player) for his acoustic fingerpicking.
OTOH, you do have to wade through Stevie Nicks' and Christine McVie's contributions which are ....ahem...often less compelling.
To answer the OP's question - all of the LB solo albums are interesting. IMHO "Cradle" tops the list, followed by "Under The Skin" (although that one is not for every taste) and the most recent "Gift of Screws".
FM's "Tango" is a very good record, but "Say You Will" features LB at his absolute best. Great songs and just scorching guitar.
I know that most everyone here disagrees with the high esteem in which I hold this band, but that is my opinion, and it comes from someone who has spent WAY too much time thinking about this stuff. That fact doesn't make the opinion right, just carefully considered.
I acquired my appreciation for Lindsey Buckingham's talent and key role in later FM when I first saw their live "The Dance" concert performance on DVD. He is a true musical dynamo on guitar!
FM has always been a very up and down band to me. Fantastic one moment, disappointing the next. They've always been that way as best I can tell. I have their 4 disc box set which is a nice but imperfect sampling. Even there, the ups are way up but there are a few tunes I find myself skipping through.
ABBA? ABBA? ABBA?? They are not even the best pop band from Sweden.
Styx wasn't good, I'll give you that, but Abba? Really, Abba the best pop band ever?
Dude, plug in your copy of Mamma Mia and have another glass of whatever you are drinking.
There is this little band from Liverpool, it's in England. You should check them out.
Fleetwood Mac the best pop band ever, what have you guys been smoking?
The "little band from Liverpool"....I would not quite classify them as "Pop"....how about the ones who helped define rock and roll, acid rock, and yes, pop rock and others. Arguably, the greatest band ever. Just listen to the diversity of Abbey Road, Sgt. Peppers, The White ALbum, Revolver, and Rubber Soul. What other group has produced, written, arranged, and created that much. Fleetwood Mac was great, but not nearly as prolific, and diverse in musical style. Agreed, the band form Liverpool should be checked out....Thoroughly....Jallen
Okay, we've had the shout out for Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Lindsey Buckingham, and now Bob Welch.
So, to finish the cycle, I'll mention that Jeremy Spencer just released his first album, "Precious Little", in over 25 years. Amazingly enough, it's actually pretty good and worth checking out. FWIW, "Guitar Player" magazine called it (IIRC) the best comeback record in the last 30 years. Fleetwood Mac has certainly had some guitar talent move through the rotating door over the years, hasn't it?
Neil Heywood (a pretty fair player, himself) was the "offstage" guitar on the last tour and in the late '90s, when Buckingham quit, the band toured with a couple of stand-ins. If someone can identify those two, I think we'll have name checked anyone who ever strummed a chord for Fleetwood Mac.
At the end of the day, though, if forced to choose, I'd still take Lindsey Buckingham's catalog over that of anyone else (Beatles expressly included) mentioned in this thread. Just my preference - I love the tunes from a lot of these folks, but you can't beat the pickin' of LB and Fleetwood Mac.
The stand-ins were Billy Burnette and the great Rick Vito. Vito is a super player in his own right and a slide player extraordinaire. He has played with Bob Segar(slide on Like a Rock)Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne etc.
As a huge fan of the original Peter Green's FM I can say I appreciate almost every incarnation of the band. LB is a great guitarist in my book. Although he admits to being very primitive in his abilities, he knows how to get the best out of what he knows.
I knew someone would ID the final guitars and you're absolutely right about Vito - he can play.
As to Buckingham's "primative" admission; he wasn't using it to describe his playing abilities. For reasons of his own, LB has deliberately decided not to learn to read music. That is indeed primative in a sense, but don't confuse that with his technique, which is anything but.
How about a Broadway show based on the music of Fleetwood Mac called "Go Your Own Way" perhaps to challenge "Mamma Mia"?
The story could cover all the personnel changes and romantic flings between band members using various FM tunes. Starring Catherine McPhee as Stevie Nicks and Fergie as Christine McVie? Ba-da-bing! Also Mick Foley as Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham as ... himself.
I love this thread!!
G-Bless and Mapman, you guys are hilar-e-ous!
I hate Abba!! I hated Abba as a kid, I hated them as teenager, I hated them as a young adult, I hated them as an adult, and middle age is not changing my opinion!!
I do love all of the iterations of Fleetwood Mac, for some reason, but I won't admit in person.
Don't know about Abba and Deep Purple but I just remembered that Dave Mason had the proverbial "cup of coffee" with Fleetwood Mac in 1993 or so. One more guitar notch on the band's bedpost.
Also, the band does have some interesting (and unexpected) fans. Radiohead has been pretty vocal (and did that USC marching band tribute at the Grammy's on the 30th anniversary of the "Tusk" release) and Matthew Sweet - guitar connoisseur extrordinaire - once referred to LB in his liner notes as "a rock god with the power of Zeuss in his fingertips").
Sometime the early nineties I saw Fleetwood Mac and Lidsey Buckingham was not with them but he was replaced with two other guitarists (I do not remember who) and the two of them could not match what he did alone on any album. It was a boring show. A few months later I saw Lindsay by himself in concert and I swear he was better than Fleetwood Mac without him, it was a very lively show with much artistry. Fleetwood Mac just phoned it in (it seems) in comparison. Really too bad I missed them with LB.
I forgot I had started this thread... lots of good opinions and recommendations. Good to see at least a few people hold them in as high a regard as I do. I've ordered copies of both Bare Trees and Mirage, and will continue to diverge from the triumverate of the late 70's until it's either too bluesy for me (in the direction of Bare Trees) or overly poppy and lacking emotion (in the direction of Mirage). I might not get far in either direction.
As it says in my post - ABBA was not marketed here; thus, you would not have heard of them. It is true they were offerred $1 billion to reunite and they were a household name outside of America. Fleetwood Mac, for instance, was popular in America (a country) while ABBA was popular throughout most of the world. Type ABBA into your search engine and see what pops up.
By the way I like Fleetwood Mac and their Romours CD is better engineered than many of my SACDs.