By Sean Smith
Fleetwood Mac will go down in history as one of the most renowned rock bands of all time. The British-American band made their debut on August 13, 1967, 50 years ago this past weekend.
The band played their first gig at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in the United Kingdom. The group was at the time made up of Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Bob Brunning. A few weeks after Fleetwood Mac’s debut, Brunning was replaced by John McVie. Mick Fleetwood actually named the band Fleetwood Mac as a way to try and recruit McVie into the group.
The debut self-titled album was released in early 1968, and was a bluesy rock style of record. While the album did not have any songs initially released as singles, it contain a track that would be a big hit on the charts about two years later. The album cut “Black Magic Woman” was covered by Santana in 1970, and when released as a single reached as high as the #4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
When most of us think of Fleetwood Mac we think of the updated lineup of the band that came in the mid-1970s. The new makeup of the group included original member Mick Fleetwood, early addition John McVie, as well as newcomers Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The newly revised Fleetwood Mac released their second self-titled album, referred to by many fans as the “White Album,” in 1975.
The 1975 Fleetwood Mac album was a huge success for the band. It reached the top of the Billboard album chart in the United States, much of which can be attributed to the promotional singles. Three of the five official singles from the record were Top 20 hits including “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me” and “Over My Head.” However, this week we want to remember a track from that album which was not originally released as a single, but would eventually become the biggest hit from the record.
The eighth track of the album was a song that Stevie Nicks had written prior to joining Fleetwood Mac. She wrote “Landslide” while staying with friends in Aspen, Colorado. As she looked out over the mountains surrounding her she thought about how all the snow could just fall down around her. At that time she was emotionally dealing with a lot. She was considering giving up on music and going back to school, and her father was about to have surgery.
The Stevie Nicks penned “Landslide” was first a hit on the charts when the Smashing Pumpkins covered the track and released it as the B-side for their 1994 single “Disarm.”The acoustic cover received mainstream success, breaking into the Top 40 and hit #3 on the Alternative Songs chart.
Four years after the Smashing Pumpkins found success with “Landslide,” Nicks and Fleetwood Mac finally released their own version of the track as an official single in 1998. The live version of the song was released off of their 1997 album The Dance. The Fleetwood Mac original track would finally be certified Gold in 2009, marking 500,000 copies sold.
The most commercially successful release of “Landslide” came from neither Fleetwood Mac, nor the cover done by Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins. Rather it came in the form of a cover done by the country trio of the Dixie Chicks in 2002. Released as the second single from their album Home, it reached the second spot on the Hot Country Songs chart, and #7 on the Hot 100.
So in honor of the 50th anniversary of the debut performance by Fleetwood Mac, this week we take a moment to remember their 1975 Stevie Nicks penned hit “Landslide”. Enjoy.
From Pisces Iscariot
Open Wide/Monument/Columbia Nashville