The band Fleetwood Mac has been through a lot throughout its career. There have been issues with mental health, substance abuse, constantly shifting lineups, divorces, and breakups, and most recently, in 2018, Lindsey Buckingham was fired (for the second time, but certainly not for the final time).
However, despite all of the chaos, the music is what ultimately distinguishes them. Even though there is always some uncertainty regarding the membership of the band from one day to the next, the one thing that is never in question is the significance of the band to the development of pop music.
As we count down the top 10 Fleetwood Mac best albums, we take a moment to reflect on the band’s impressive discography.
The rumors surfaced at a time when tensions inside the band were at their all-time highest levels. The McVies’ marriage had finished, and the turbulent relationship between Buckingham and Nicks had gone up in flames.
Mick Fleetwood was in the midst of a divorce, and the McVies’ marriage had terminated. It’s possible that a band of poorer caliber would have disintegrated beneath the pressure.
Fleetwood Mac didn’t. Instead, they turned the experience into one of the best breakup albums of all time, if not the best. It’s flawless in every way, from the very beginning to the very end. Now might be a good time to listen to it if you haven’t previously done so in the past.
2. Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac is the band’s eleventh studio album from 1975. It was the band’s debut album with its most well-known and popular lineup.
When Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the group, they contributed fresh songwriting and a different tone to the album. Popular songs on the album still include Landslide, Say You Love Me, and Rhiannon.
Folk, rock, and pop were all combined by Fleetwood Mac’s melodies and harmonies. Over five million copies were sold in the US, and it topped the Billboard 200.
It remains a fan and critic favorite and helped Fleetwood Mac become one of the most well-known and successful bands of the 1970s.
Fleetwood Mac was given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted following the success of Rumors. It turns out that confusing us was what they intended to do. Tusk is a cocaine-fueled exercise in self-indulgence that is difficult to take following Rumors’ palatable pop perfection.
It’s a colossal double album that switches between punk, pop, rock, and new wave. It’s a bracing, insane experiment that occasionally (particularly on Buckingham’s title track) feels almost like it was made to throw the listener off.
Despite all of that, it is still stunning when all the different components come together. It may compete with Rumors with a little bit more editing.
4. Tango in the Night
Tango in the Night, Fleetwood Mac’s fourteenth studio album, was released in 1987. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham played on the band’s second-to-last studio album with the original lineup until his comeback in 2017.
On the album, Fleetwood Mac’s style moved to pop, electronic, and world music. The album’s three commercial successes were Big Love, Little Lies, and Everywhere.
The success of Tango in the Night was harmed by band disagreements, particularly those between Buckingham and Christine McVie. The production by Buckingham is credited with the polished tone.
Fan favorite Tango in the Night has impacted a lot of contemporary musicians. After the release of the album, Fleetwood Mac saw numerous lineup changes and hiatuses, bringing an era to a close.
5. Then Play On
With their third album, Then Play On, Fleetwood Mac recovered from the letdown of Mr. Wonderful. It’s fantastic, with epic ambition and exquisite execution. Danny Kirwan, a relative newcomer, contributes a tender, attractive style, but it’s Green’s skill as a writer and actor that ties the whole thing together.
It is a much more approachable record than its predecessor and still sounds just as powerfully alive now as it did in 1969. It is a mash-up of prog, soft rock, and blues. It was released on September 19, 1969, and peaked at No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, becoming the group’s third top-10 album.
6. Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac
Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac’s debut album, was released in 1968. (or Fleetwood Mac, as it was originally titled). It was an incredible introduction to the band, a riotous, upbeat combination of blues covers and originals.
Peter Green’s difficulties with mental illness would ultimately consign him to obscurity, but his potential in this situation is astounding. The vocal high kicks may come from Jeremy Spencer, but the album’s strength comes from Green’s ability to combine hardness and compassion.
The album was a huge success in the UK, reaching its highest position at No. 4 and remaining there for a remarkable 37 weeks. In contrast, it had a poor peak in the US, where it reached position 198.
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7. Mystery to Me
The music has been referred to as “smooth, lush, funky, easy-going rock” by The Telegraph. Fleetwood Mac moved two steps closer to greatness with the release of Mystery to Me, which brought them one step closer to Rumors.
It lacks the grit and personality to rank among the band’s greatest albums, but it is nonetheless incredibly superb, with Bob Welch’s breathtaking performance of “Hypnotized” standing out as a specific highlight of the album as a whole.
After its initial release in November 1973, the song ultimately earned gold certification and reached position 67 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Mirage is a polished piece of pop music from the 1980s, but it’s way too polished for its own good. It has an excessively glossy and polished appearance, which causes any genuine feelings to be obscured by the manufacturer.
Mirage sounds like the band was told by someone at the record label to “wind their necks in and make something for the radio.” This album follows the strange but amazing Tusk and sounds like it was written with the radio in mind.
Mirage does in fact fulfill the requirements, even if doing so is at the disadvantage of the album as a whole. Having said that, it is not a hopeless situation, especially considering that Nick’s ethereally gorgeous “Gypsy” certainly ranks as one of the band’s all-time best compositions.
9. Fleetwood Mac in Chicago
The iconic Fleetwood Mac lineup of Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, as well as a number of well-known Chicago blues luminaries, recorded Fleetwood Mac in Chicago in 1969.
The band is obviously in awe of sharing the stage with their heroes, yet they are able to maintain their composure long enough to create a listenable, albeit ragged, album.
It’s a little shabby because it was only recorded in one day, but the jams are tight and the playing is passionate. Although they fall short of what Willie Dixon, Shakey Horton, Otis Spann, and others are doing around them, the band’s zeal is undeniable.
10. Behind the Mask
Behind the Mask was the fifteenth studio album Fleetwood Mac released. The first album by the group sans Lindsey Buckingham and the only one with Rick Vito and Billy Burnette on guitar.
The album was more rock-oriented, with blues and country overtones. From the album, minor chart successes were Save Me, Love Is Dangerous, and Skies the Limit.
Behind the Mask was a commercial disaster despite having excellent musicians. Without Buckingham, the composition and production of the album struggled.
After Behind the Mask, Fleetwood Mac overhauled its roster and musical direction. While not a classic, Behind the Mask, serves as a reminder of the band’s development as artists.
In Conclusion, despite the instability that has surrounded Fleetwood Mac throughout their career—including mental health concerns, substance addiction, lineup changes, divorces, and breakups—the band has persevered, as seen by their tremendous legacy.
Their distinctive music sets them apart and reaffirms their importance in the growth of pop music. The top 10 Fleetwood Mac albums list highlights the band’s diversity of musical influences, including rock, blues, pop, and world music, which helped them become one of the most well-known and commercially successful bands of the 1970s.
Fleetwood Mac’s music has always been important and continues to inspire modern performers despite the band’s periodic lineup changes.