Note; This entry is the first in a series chronicling the story of FLEETWOOD MAC. For an earlier blog entry telling a very condensed history of the band from 1967 to 1975, click here.
Buckingham Nicks was the title of a ten track LP released by the duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in 1973, produced by Keith Olsen and released on Polydor Records. This was the album Mick Fleetwood heard when he was looking for a studio for the next FLEETWOOD MAC record in Los Angeles, and remembered the impressive artists when he had to replace the departed Bob Welch in FLEETWOOD MAC. The album was popular with a small core of Buckingham Nicks fans, but was generally considered a commercial flop when released. It was re-released in 1976 after Lindsey and Stevie joined FLEETWOOD MAC and were fronting the band with its successful album simply called Fleetwood Mac.
Palo Alto born Lindsey Buckingham and Phoenix native Stevie Nicks were fronting a band called Fritz from 1968 to 1971. Below, from Rock Family Trees by Pete Frame (1980) is the text of an interview Frame conducted with Lindsey Buckingham, and Lindsey tells in his own words the story of FRITZ, BUCKINGHAM NICKS, and how Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac.
“I started playing guitar when I was seven....started by trying to play along with my brother’s records. He’s 34 now, and he has one of the greatest collections of rock n’ roll 45's that I’ve ever seen.....so he used to come home with these classic singles, Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran ...it was like having the story of rock n’roll unfurled in front of you. So those records obviously had a great influence on me.’
“Then I fell under the spell of folk music in the mid sixties, and I used to spend all of my spare time working out picking styles on my acoustic guitar....which altogether didn’t help me when I came to join my first rock band. I was a good folk picker, but I couldn’t master a raunchy rock style- so I played bass in that group, which was called Fritz .
The lineup was STEVIE NICKS-vocals; LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM-bass, vocals; XAVIER PACHECO-organ, vocals; BRIAN KANE-guitar; Bob Geary-drums.
While they didn’t billow out of the magic mushroom which enveloped the Bay Area at that time (1967) they “gigged around the Bay Area a great deal, had a real good time, and gained a lot of experience.”
“Our manager, David Forrest, tried to get us a record deal, but we just couldn’t relate to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles couldn’t relate to us, , as far as cutting albums went...so in the long run FRITZ went nowhere fast, and the group broke up in 1971".
“At that point Stevie (Stephanie) Nicks and I became romantically involved, and we decided to strike out on our own as a duo- calling ourselves Buckingham Nicks . We were set to move down to LA, but I was ill and laid up for 8 or 9 months- during which time Stevie and I sat around working on songs and ideas...and I got hold of an electric guitar to work up my lead playing”.
“Eventually we moved down to LA, and through a friend called Keith Olsen, we got a deal with a small label called ANTHEM, which was run by Ted Feigan and Lee LaSeiffe, who had previously been involved with WHITE WHALE RECORDS. They had a production deal with some major distributor (United Artists, I think), and the original idea was for us to go to London and cut an album at Trident Studios...and then Lee and Ted had a disagreement and split up- which meant the end of the ANTHEM label, which had put out only one album (by the Dillards, as I recall).”
“ So we sat around and wrote a few more songs until Lee got himself a deal with POLYDOR , and we cut an album, BUCKINGHAM NICKS , but the record stiffed out, and we were back to square one.”
“At that point, I turned my hand at session work- did some studio work, among other things, went on the road with Don Everly’s band. This was after the Evely Brothers had split up, and Don was doing a short club tour with a backup band that Warren Zevon had got together for him. That tour was a real thrill for me because I had always been a big Everlys fan- and I got to sing Phil’s part on SO SAD TO WATCH GOOD LOVE GO BAD. As well as that went, I stayed in Nashville for awhile and he introduced me to people like Roy Orbison, Ike Everly, and Merle Travis... he and I played guitars together, and that is something I will always remember.”
“Well, our musical activities weren’t bringing us abundant amounts of money so-rather than get involved in scenes I can’t relate to we took jobs- Stevie worked as a waitress in this place called CLEMENTINE’S in Beverly Hills, and I worked for an agency- getting on the phone and soliciting advertisements. It wasn’t the most spectacular of lifestyles, but that along the odd session, got us by, and we managed to eat for a couple of years following the failure of the album.”
“ During this time, despite the hardships, we had complete faith in what we were trying to do. We had managers who were trying to get us to do Top 40 stuff. They said they could get us all the gigs we could handle if only we’d be prepared to play that kind of music- but Stevie and I knew that if we did, we’d lose whatever musical direction we had, and we didn’t want to prostitute ourselves. So we resisted that, and as a result got no gigs....nobody wanted to hear Buckingham Nicks doing their own songs.”
“Well....almost nobody...because we had this very strange area of localized success....a little pocket of Buckingham Nicks- mania! Of the few gigs we had done two were in Birmingham, Alabama; the first was opening for MOUNTAIN, and the second was opening for POCO...and for some reason we really caught fire in that town. Some DJ’s picked up on the album, and it was a huge success there- so we went down a storm! If nowhere else in the world, Buckingham Nicks were stars in Birmingham, Alabama..”
“It so happened that our last gigs as Buckingham Nicks was at Birmingham just after we’d joined Fleetwood Mac. As a result of our two previous gigs we were booked as the headline act, and the lineup was ; Stevie Nicks-vocals; Lindsey Buckingham-guitar, vocals; Bob Geary-drums; Gary Hodges-drums; Tom Moncrieff-bass. So we topped the bill to an audience of 7,000- and Buckingham Nicks went out on a much higher note than anyone could have expected.”
“Meanwhile we had been asked to join Fleetwood Mac. Mick Fleetwood had bumped into a guy called Thomas Christian in a supermarket, somewhere I think- and they got to discussing recording studios- because Fleetwood Mac were looking for a new studio to record their next album. This guy suggested that Mick check out Sound City in Van Nuys.”
“So Mick went there, and the engineer Keith Olsen ( was asked) to demonstrate the qualities of the studio, (Olsen) played a tape of a from the Buckingham Nicks Album that was recorded there.”
“As it happened, Stevie and I were in the next studio working on some demos, and as I went out for coffee, I heard “Frozen Love” leaking out from somewhere. So I went to see what was happening, and there was Mick Fleetwood standing there, stamping his foot to the rhythm. “
“About a week later, Bob Welch announced he was leaving- so Mick phoned Keith and asked if he thought we’d be interested in becoming members of Fleetwood Mac. At the time we were having a New Year’s party at our house...wondering if 1975 would be a better year for us. And Keith walked in and said “Hey I’ve got some news...Fleetwood Mac want you to join them! You could have knocked me out with a feather!”
From Fleetwood- My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac Mick Fleetwood said that originally he was only looking for a guitarist to replace Bob Welch, but soon warmed to the idea of bringing in both Lindsey and Stevie.
The album Buckingham Nicks has never been released on CD, and is a collectors item on vinyl. Lindsey and Stevie are co-owners of the rights, and have debated for years on releasing it on compact disc. It has obtained a cult status among collectors.
Few (if any) film or taped clips of Buckingham Nicks exist, though there are some audio bootlegs available of their rare live performance, some of which may be found on YouTube. Below are some some slide shows backed with three tracks from the album; FROZEN LOVE, CRYING IN THE NIGHT, and the original version of CRYSTAL.
The fansite Buckingham Nicks is a homage to the classic album and the duo, with music clips and more available material....a must for Fleetwood Mac, Stevie, and Lindsey fans.