Buckingham Nicks

Going through the record store “cut out” bins around 1974, I remember seeing the cover.  You couldn’t miss it.  A good-looking girl and a long haired rocker guy seemingly without clothes.  There was no real nudity, but it was attention getting.  I didn’t buy it, but should have.  It’s the album by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks…Buckingham Nicks.

Lindsey and Stevie found the only major airplay for their 1973 album was in Alabama, because a radio programmer there liked it.  The Buckingham Nicks band flew from Los Angeles to Birmingham and Tuscaloosa a couple of times to play clubs.  The interesting part is that live recordings exist of “Monday Morning” and “Rhiannon” (new songs that were not on the album).  That was before the duo had actually merged with Fleetwood Mac.  The songs are essentially the same as they would appear on the Fleetwood Mac album later that year (1975).  It’s hard to say whether Buckingham Nicks would have survived much longer, but what might have happened if they had done a second album featuring those two songs?  Plus, Stevie had also written “Landslide” by that time.

(Stevie & Lindsey performing as Buckingham Nicks.)

The Buckingham Nicks album is important in music history, because if it hadn’t been for this album, there would not have been Fleetwood Mac as we know it.  Most fans are aware that Mick Fleetwood heard a Buckingham Nicks track being used to demonstrate the quality of the Sound City studio in L.A.  Fleetwood Mac needed a guitarist, so they offered the job to Lindsey, who told Mick that he and Stevie were a package deal…the best deal Mick ever made.

Fleetwood Mac had been a successful English blues band in the late 1960’s, and after lots of personnel problems and changes, they had some modest success in Pop/Rock in the early 1970’s.  They were an unstable band, but they still had some clout and a record contract, just what Lindsey and Stevie needed.

(Fleetwood Mac….articles on their history & analysis are on this site.)

It was only decades later, after Fleetwood Mac became one of the biggest bands of all time, that I got my hands on the Buckingham Nicks record, and transferred it to CD and into my iTunes.

The album sounds a lot like Fleetwood Mac, and is good (though not as good as Fleetwood Mac’s top albums).  It helps us understand how much Lindsey and Stevie meant to the sound of the new band.   The 1973 album is still not commercially available, but there are bootlegs.

“Crying In The Night” was the single.  “Stephanie” and “Django” (a salute to guitarist Django Reinhardt) are good guitar instrumentals.  I lean to “Without A Leg To Stand On” and “Races Are Run”. “Crystal” was remade for the Fleetwood Mac album, and “Frozen Love” is the rocker that Mick Fleetwood heard at the Sound City studios.

I did recently find the album online as a free download, along with some never-released demos, and those live recordings of “Monday Morning” and “Rhiannon”.  They were on a Buckingham Nicks site.

After hearing the Buckingham Nicks album and the other cuts, it was obvious the new sound of Fleetwood Mac was much closer to the Buckingham Nicks style than the old Fleetwood Mac style.  Lindsey and Stevie are both songwriters, both lead singers, and Lindsey is the producer who shaped the songs, including those of Christine McVie.  It was more like Fleetwood Mac joined Buckingham Nicks than the other way around.

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