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April 1, 1995

BODY:
FLEETWOOD MAC

(1975)

ONCE A MEMBER of Traffic, Dave Mason recently became the lead guitarist in Fleetwood Mac. Twenty years ago, this was not considered an enviable position: they had already lost five guitarists, most in mysterious circumstances, and had gained a reputation as the Bermuda Triangle of rock groups. But during the summer of 1975 their situation was transformed.

Quite by accident, the remaining core of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie bumped into Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, an ailing singersongwriter duo surviving on the money Nicks earnt as a Beverly Hills waitress, and found the magic formula that turned vinyl into gold and platinum. Spontaneously, they created a sophisticated and seductive Californian multimix far removed from the group's blues roots. FM radiowaves were soon rippling with their sinewy rhythms and smooth harmonies as hit singles Over My Head, Say You Love Me and the enduring Nicks composition, Rhiannon, beguiled the easy-listening audience and boosted the parent album to the top of the American charts.

This record not only marked their artistic renaissance; it was the doorway to a lifestyle in which yachts, mansions, bodyguards, limousines, private jets and every kind of excess were taken for granted. In 1984, Mick Fleetwood filed for bankruptcy, but today he and John McVie still lead their indestructible group, now in its twelfth incarnation.