Print E-mail

The McVie Story Part 1

Grown a bit tired of all the hype around Lindsey and Stevie? Ready to learn a bit more about the other significant couple in Fleetwood Mac? (No, not Mick and Stevie.) Then you're in the right place. I have to say, this ended up far longer and more detailed than I thought it would be-- my brain just kept spitting out quotes, facts and commentary. What began as a re-do of Christine's rather meager original biography somehow morphed itself into an epic account of the entire John/Chris relationship. So much information was out there in bits and pieces-- in a newspaper here and an interview there-- tons of wonderful quotes etc just waiting to be combined in one place and assembled in chronological order. The quotes pretty much told the story; I just had to connect them with entertaining commentary (and I had a blast doing this since I love to write.) Since 'discovering' Fleetwood Mac at age 11, I have assembled a massive collection of articles, interviews, photos, audios, videos etc….so I figured now might be a good time to make a nice little tribute to the McVies. I have my mornings free with both kids (finally) in school, I have the materials, I have a degree in English… I also know entirely too much trivia about this couple, due to the fact that they were literally my teenage obsession! I just loved them to pieces and admired them so much. If they read this, they will either be very impressed, or very afraid of me LOL. So anyway-I decided to leave Chris' bio the way it is--it would be weird if only hers was 400 pages long-- and just add this additional section devoted to the McVies (although you can certainly see how it began as a Chris biography that veered completely off course once I got to the split!) I know some of this stuff will pop up on other websites eventually, but I'm proud to have assembled it here first.

While there are websites, photo galleries, and message boards devoted to the whole Stevie/Lindsey relationship, John and Chris are, for the most part, merely a footnote. It seems that the only thing that's ever remembered about their marriage is that it came to an end. Not much has been written about how their relationship began, or their early years together, or the effort they put into keeping their friendship alive after the marriage was over. (As we know from S/L, who were not on good terms for many years--true friendships with an ex don't just 'happen', it takes some work.) The McVies played a major role in the story of Fleetwood Mac-- there would not have been a band as we know it if Chris, especially, hadn't made the choices that she did. Their relationship was no less important, their love was no less special, their split no less painful than Stevie's and Lindsey's-- and I thought that here at the Penguin, they deserved a bit of recognition. They moved on to new relationships, but still had, as Chris often said, "an active friendship"-- they talked on the phone, went to dinner together, and visited each other-- even in foreign countries. Maybe they didn't have the 'passionate fiery sparks' that seem to intermittently burst forth from Stevie and Lindsey in a love/hate manner, but they had a steadily burning little flame of caring that remained throughout their 35+ year relationship and kept them close to each other.

This last bit, I will keep brief. The Fleetwood Mac theme of 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger' was truly my lifeline during my seriously depressed teenage years. Not to get all heavy, but this band, and especially this couple, saved my life. Thank you, J and C, and all my love to you both. As always, feel free to write with comments, corrections, whatever. Hope you enjoy what I've put together; it's all for you.

--Lis


Christine Anne Perfect was born on July 12th, 1943, in England's 'Lake District'. She was the youngest child of a middle-class family; her brother, John, was four years older. Christine's childhood was somewhat different from the other members of Fleetwood Mac, in that she was raised in an out-rightly musical family where it was accepted--and almost expected-- to pursue a career in music. Her father, Cyril Percy Perfect, was a music professor at Birmingham University, as well as a concert violinist; he was an accomplished musician who remained active in the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra until he was in his mid-eighties. Her mother Beatrice-- called Tee-- was a medium, a psychic and a faith healer. Music was a major part of Christine's childhood, since Cyril Perfectit was Cyril's passion. She describes how her father stubbornly pursued his own dream of a career in the field: "There was always a piano in the house, and I started playing it when I was about five years old. My dad wanted both my brother, John, and me to play. His father had played the organ in Westminster Abbey, but when he died, Dad had to become chief breadwinner. He had wanted to go to college and pursue his musical studies, but he couldn't. Instead, he had to get a job playing in the orchestra pits during pantomimes and things like that. Later on he finished his studies and became a music teacher." Cyril's job as a lecturer at diferent schools caused the family to move a few times-- first to Nottingham, and then on to Birmingham. She recalls, "I had a pretty strict upbringing, but my father was, in many ways, an incredible eccentric. He even did 'gigs'-- going to London to appear at the Wigmore Hall and places." Though young Christine started learning piano at a very early age-- she had formal lessons from age 5 to about 10 or 11-- her parents realized she had "started to really hate it;" she recalls it was "the usual syndrome-you're sittin' there doing five finger exercises and all the other kids are out playing." Luckily her parents were "wise enough to let me stop", and she returned to it again within a couple of years anyway: "When I was thirteen I took it up again of my own volition and resumed piano lessons until I was about sixteen." She remembers that her music teacher, Amelia Hyrans, lived in a tiny house filled with grand pianos, and she always had a dog ("a smelly little Yorkshire Terrier--it had some kidney disease, you know") under one arm while she rapped out time with a ruler--"and this was during the time when I was actually enjoying playing piano, so you can imagine what it was like when I hated it!" Aside from piano, Christine also took up another instrument and played in her school orchestra: "I learned to play the cello at school when I was about eleven, and my dad also used to give me lessons. Our family had a string quartet playing in the house at Christmastime: my dad and John on violin, my mum on viola, and me on cello." She also sang with her family at the holidays, "Y'know, we'd sing sort of quartets-- carols and things, just for fun." Christine recalls that her mother may have been "frustrated in the sense that she wasn't musical and the rest of us are"-- but Tee's gifts lay more in the realm of the supernatural. Chris remembers her mum curing a family friend of leukemia after being sent "a white kid glove, which she wore several times in bed;" they got a phone call soon after from the lady's companion, who told them, "The doctors couldn't understand it, but she was completely healed, not a thing wrong with her." Tee also made a '"rather nasty wart" underneath her daughter's nose disappear just by putting her finger on it one night before Chris went to bed. However, in the fine tradition of teenage girls everywhere, Christine later found her mother's interests a source of embarrassment: "At the time, it concerned me, because she belonged to the Psychic Research Society and used to go off ghost-hunting. I said, 'You're too weird, Mum! Why can't you just be an ordinary mum?'" (Chris later told us in a 1995 Q&A: "Every once in a while, I sense something, but for the most part, not really. My brother definitely has some of it. I don't think I am a psychic person, though I wish I had inherited some of her powers.")

She transferred from Upland Secondary school to Mosley Junior Art School at age 13: "At Upland they seemed to think I had a lot of artistic talent which wasn't getting the right outlet." From there she went on to attend Birmingham Art College (this seemed to be where all the creative youth of England ended up in those days!) but continued taking classical music lessons for a few years: "I became quite a good piano player by 15-- and then I sort of wanted to stop it altogether" as it was becoming difficult to devote time to both her art studies and her music. Fortunately, one day her 19 year old brother, who happened to be a big Jazz fan, brought home a Fats Domino songbook-then, as she says, it was, "Goodbye Schubert-- hello rock n' roll." It was also around this time--she thinks she was 15-- that she wrote her first song, called, "I'll Never Let You Go." She remembers the song had "the most puerile chords," but simply represented, "the first time I felt like writing a song. I certainly had no aspirations to be a musician at the time." She admits her first few songs "weren't very good at all-- but you gotta start somewhere!" On one occasion she and a pal sneaked down to London, hoping to impress some talent scouts by playing 'Walk, Don't Run' on acoustic guitars before a Shadows concert. No one was particularly impressed, least of all her parents, who had another surprise coming-- during this period she began playing in blues bands with other students, and one old article said Christine's father was initially "horrified, mainly because of his classical background." Her first real band was called Shades of Blue, "a terrible band" that her friends Andy Sylvester and Stan Webb were also involved in. Chris "used to play bass, funnily enough. I wasn't very good, but we only did it on Sunday nights at the Liberal Club, where we used to get 3 pounds each a night. It used to be my money for the week at art college and it was a good laugh." She would also occasionally play Spanish guitar and sing with her good friend Spencer Davis, who later went on to front his own band. She described herself as a "real tubby" teenager, but upon seeing Spencer for the first time: "I swore I would get thin and go out with him. And I did." Some sources state he was her first boyfriend; she herself remembers that their relationship turned out to be "more musical than illicit." After a five-year program at the art college, Christine graduated with a "virtually worthless" degree in sculpture: "I was actually qualified to be an art teacher, but I didn't want to teach." Shades of Blue had broken up, since the lead singer (who happened to own all the equipment) had got married. Stan went to work as a chef in Kidderminster, Andy took a job as an electrician's assitant, and Christine herself moved to London. Here she got herself a tiny flat after getting a job as a window dresser at "a very high-class store" called Dickins and Jones: "....I spent the next twelve months crawling around windows and looking at the legs of people shuffling down Regent Street," and working with "a lot of bitchy people." She also has unpleasant memories of the uniform she was required to wear while at work in the store: "The girls were made to look as unobtrusive and ugly as possible. We wore trousers that came in at the bottom and those lousy check shirts that made us look like lorry drivers. The only lift in the day was when we had coffee break and trudged round Carnaby Street looking at all the great clothes." It was on one of these outings that she coincidentally ran into a friend, who told her that her old comrades Andy and Stan had formed another band, and might perhaps be interested in having a keyboard player. Christine wrote them immediately, and upon receiving their offer to join them, she immediately accepted: "I said, 'Yes, I'll do it. Anything to get out of this.'" She quit her job and was soon on a train back to Birmingham. She remembers, "I didn't have a clue as to what to do on piano. (Stan) bought me a Freddie King album... and that was beginning of my absolute love for the blues."

The band, called Chicken Shack, made their debut "in the small tent" at the August 1968 Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival-- along with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (with John McVie on bass) and Fleetwood Mac-- and made quite a favorable Chicken Shackimpression. Chris recalled the event was "this massive series of concerts. There were bands playing on different stages all over the place." She was extremely nervous and a bit overwhelmed: "I met people like Clapton and Mayall and I thought I'd never make it on to the stage. But thanks to Stan we did quite well. Quite honestly, nobody had ever seen a guitarist that went so mad and did such extraordinary things on stage. So everyone's attention was on him and I could relax." Soon their producer Mike Vernon, of Blue Horizon records, brought the group over from Birmingham to London, where they all moved into a cheap flat that belonged to a shop, which the owner was trying to sell. Once the property sold, they fortunately had begun making some money, and were able to move into better living quarters. Christine actually lived in the same house with the rest of the band for quite awhile, which was rather bold, considering the times. One writer implied that people probably “suspected peculiar things” about a girl who lived with three men, but Chris insisted, “…we were simply mates! People couldn’t get it together—how I lived in the same house with nothing seamy going on…but nobody really chatted me up in the group. I wasn’t even like a bird to them.”) They began to encounter their label-mates, Fleetwood Mac, on a more regular basis: "They were on the bigger stages, and our gig was to support them; we were like their opening act. That's how I got to know John." (The two first met each other at a gig in November of 1967, at the Saville Theatre in London.) However, Chicken Shack were far from wealthy, and still lived, as Chris remembers, "a very rough life"-- carting their own gear to and from five-sets-a-night gigs, and sleeping huddled under blankets atop their equipment in the back of their freezing transit van. She remembers: "My parents used to worry about me. And I don’t blame them considering some of the things that happened.I remember the van broke down and we were sleeping with ice in the inside of the windows so well as on the outside." (In the early days of getting to know the guys in Fleetwood Mac, she remembers being envious of their new transit van, which had been fitted with comfortable airplane seats.) While Fleetwood Mac began with an advantage of having three members that already had some notoriety through their association with John Mayall, one writer explained that Chicken Shack had it rather rough at first: "because they were a completely unknown outfit, and British blues fans are notorious for being the hardest fans there are to win over." Although she initially only played keyboards with the group, she gradually began to sing also: "It's OK With Me Baby' was the first song I ever recorded, sort of a blues type shuffle. I was a little nervous to sing because I was never that sure I had that good of a voice. In the early days it was a little shaky and unsure…I preferred to Fleetwood Mac, 1967play the piano, but when I was forced into singing a song, then I'd sing." While working hard to further the reputation of her own band, Christine was also a devoted Mac fan (she doesn't care for the looser implications of the term 'groupie', as that was not the kind of girl she was!) and she used to go to their shows as often as she could: "Whenever we weren't playing, me and the bass player from Chicken Shack, Andy Sylvester, used to go down and see them. We knew them all as friends. At the time, John was engaged to another girl, so I just knew him. We didn't talk to each other very much." Chris herself had actually had been engaged to a Swedish fellow, and admits to traumatizing her kitten when she "ran around the house screaming" after he ended their two year relationship. At least the lack of a steady boyfriend gave her more time to trail after her favorite band: "(Fleetwood Mac) were like a drug... they were so good. They had a real magic about them that was infectious."

Chicken Shack, and often specifically Christine Perfect herself, was becoming quite the hot topic in music magazines, with writers almost surprised that this 'girl' was actually any good. An article in Beat Instrumental read, "It's not often you see a girl in a group....and it's even rarer that they are accomplished musicians. But Christine is." Interviews were characterized by the somewhat typical sexist slant of the time; when asked how audiences reacted to a 'mere girl in a hard-driving blues band', Chris had this to say: "Well, the blokes seem to appreciate me as a musician, though they can get a bit fruity. (Note: A friend in the UK tells me 'fruity' Cute Chrisin that context probably means 'fresh' or 'touchy-feely'. Tricky British 60's slang!) With the girls there's either a big jealous thing, very catty, or a sort of respect, I suppose. I'm up there on stage with their heroes, representing emancipated womanhood, and some of them identify with me pretty strongly....People can't mind too much that I'm a girl." She certainly was tough enough to hold her own in a man's world, and always had to prove she was more than just a pretty face. She honed her skills playing a grueling "seven nights a week, for five hours a night off and on" in Germany, at the Hamburg Star Club, where one astute critic realized,"....even though people in the audience thought she was up there by virtue of her profile, it was no longer true." (Had it ever been true?!) However, sometimes things got a little out of hand, prompting the group to be more aware that their female associate might require an added measure of caution: "There was one horrible gig...it was at a night club, and everybody was blind drunk, fighting and very ugly. There was blood and filth everywhere. In the end, Stan, Dave and Andy went on as a trio in case anything happened to me." Despite these occasional unpleasant experiences, Chris seemed generally happy with her career, saying in mid-1968: "I love it. Of course, there are problems, like the things other girls can do that I don't have the time to do. But I just like playing and being in a band."

Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac often ran into each other while playing the same clubs, and also spent time together when Chris guested on piano at some Fleetwood Mac studio sessions around this time: "Yeah, I always ended up doing sessions with them….I think mainly because I was the only blues pianist that they knew , that was immediately available to them. And I think they liked the way I played; Peter really liked the way I played." For a while she, along with most women, sort of had her eye on the charismatic Peter Green, and was quite an admirer of his work: "Peter Green...is one of the few guitarists I can just stand and listen to and get completely carried away. For me, he's the best in England." While dreaming of having "just one shot" at Greenie, she never paid much mind to the quiet bass player who stood back by the drums, basically staring reticently at the floor during the gigs, especially since she thought he was spoken for anyway. Mick Fleetwood recalls that the members of Fleetwood Mac "all lusted mightily after her" during this period, but Chris was apparently unaware of this. While the press called her "the girl wonder of the blues fraternity" and the "new first lady of the blues" she considered herself 'one of the guys': "I just used to put on an old pair of jeans and hide behind the keyboards." Fate kept forcing the two groups to converge in their work environment, and she did find herself chatting more with John McVie as time went by; she remembers "John and I were friends for months before we ever started going out. We used to sit and drink barley wine together." It must have gradually dawned on John that he fancied getting to know his gorgeous, down-to-earth colleague on a more personal level. One night between sets in early 1968, at the Thames Hotel in Windsor, the two shared their usual discourse of drinks and laughter before John went back on to finish the show. Once it was over, he again made his way back to sit with Chris, where he finally worked up the nerve to ask if she'd care to go to dinner with him some evening. Christine's initial surprise was evident in her response: "Whoa, I thought you were engaged!" He assured her that relationship was now all over, and upon realizing her drinking buddy was also now an available bachelor, she promptly saw him in a new light: "I thought he was devastatingly attractive, but it had never occurred to me to look at him before." The idea of having dinner with the bass player in her favorite band-- with whom she had so much in common and who was also, conveniently, rather handsome-- suddenly sounded pretty darn good, and John fondly recalled her answer to his request to take her out: "She said she would, and it was quite romantic." (Sort of funny aside-- it's not really clear whether John's engagement ended before or after him asking Chris out. In a joint interview with Lindsey, she once said that, "John just spaced out on his fiance, and asked me out"- Lindsey then proceeded to comment, "OOooo! Homewrecker! I didn't know that!" while she laughed and denied that she was the reason for their break-up. In another interview, she says the night he asked her out, "John didn't have his girlfriend." Hmm…..not quite sure what the truth is here!)

Chris recalls they "courted for about six months," but took things slow, only dating about once a month: "We had a very casual relationship... we just used to go out for meetings every once in awhile." Perhaps they were reluctant to move out of the comfortable 'friendship' realm too quickly, since they knew they'd have to work together frequently on the club circuit and didn't want things to be awkward. (Anyone else taste the irony here…?) John also had a bit of a reputation for being rather shy with the ladies, and occasionally took some ribbing from Jeremy and Peter about it. Peter Green once remarked to an audience that Fleetwood Mac's bass player was "really a very shy person." As Chris stood listening near the stage, Pete continued, "It took John nearly six months to summon up the gall to even hold Christine Perfect's hand." He should have left well-enough alone, but Green went on to follow up this comment with a much cruder one-- prompting the mortified but incensed bassist to actually step forward and curse him off. Poor Chris probably wanted to sink into the floor. A witness said, "John was very annoyed…He managed to restrain himself-- but it was close!" Though the members of Fleetwood Mac were known for their 'cheeky' and often vulgar sense of humor Cute Johnregarding sexual matters, John apparently didn't find these jokes quite so funny when they concerned the girl he cared about--especially when she happened to be standing right there! And perhaps he was a little shy, so what!? It didn't seem to bother Chris any; she dealt with enough fresh ('fruity!') guys already--the fact that he was different must have been a nice change. She obviously found his warm personality and playful charm ("I tend to go for these half-little-boy characters") quite appealing: "He had a wonderful sense of humor, the most endearing person." Frankly, his killer cheekbones, clefted chin and sleepy green bedroom eyes probably didn't hurt, either. However, the knowledge that one of you is soon to take off to another country for a significant length of time can certainly affect the dynamics of any budding relationship, and might encourage things to remain at a cautiously 'casual' level. Much as they may have enjoyed each other's company, the two certainly weren't seeing each other exclusively by June of 1968, when John went off with Fleetwood Mac on their first visit to America-- Mick remembers McVie and Green staying with a pair of gorgeous twins in California. Regardless of whether she knew with whom he was co-habitating in the States, Chris was probably a bit discouraged by his complete lack of communication during this time: "They were gone for six weeks-- I didn't hear from John once." She couldn't quite get him off her mind, though, despite the fact that there were evidently no working telephones in America: "At this point I was really crazy about him, but I didn't know what was happening with him."

Perhaps the long separation, along with a marriage proposal from Mr. Wrong, encouraged Chris come to terms with her true feelings. While playing gigs in notoriously racy Munich with Chicken Shack, she had a strange affair of her own with "a crazy German D.J., who wanted to whisk me off and marry me...I turned him down, and wrote John a big letter." Despite not knowing quite how he felt about her, she took the risk of putting herself out there emotionally-- and with the ball now in his court, she celebrated her 25th birthday without him. Apparently even back then, she had a sweet way with words, because whatever she wrote in that letter was what John needed to hear to make him get very serious about his relationship with Christine Perfect. Once he returned to England (around mid-July), it was clear to them both that they were in love, and things picked up with a new, more romantic, intensity. The couple are often described as having this passionate 'whirlwind courtship', but the fact remains that they had known each other for nearly a year-- first as musical colleagues and acquaintances, then as friends who dated occasionally, and then finally as something more. A strong foundation of friendship and respect had been established--which undoubtedly helped them in later years following their separation-- and it was probably hard at that time for either to imagine finding a more compatible partner. Although Mick said he himself was hesitant to give up his 'single' life - "didn't wanna spoil the image, y'know"--- twenty two year old John had no such ego and no such hesitations. Now that their feelings for each other were finally out in the open, he wasn't going to risk losing his Perfect girl to any more randy German DJ's. Four days after returning home, he proposed at London's John and Christine McVietrendy Bag O' Nails Club, and, as Chris remembered in 1969, "Ten days after that we got married. I suppose it was very romantic in a way." Unfortunately, Chris' mother was terminally ill, and the couple probably decided to have their wedding sooner rather than later, so as to ensure that Tee would be there to see it. (I can't imagine that their busy work/travel schedules would have allotted much time for planning a huge fancy affair anyway.) The night before the wedding Christine received a call from Peter Green, who was to be their best man--and the only member of Fleetwood Mac to even attend the wedding-- telling her, in a most unsupportive best-man-fashion, "You're crazy-- you don't even know this guy!" (I'd love to know what her response to that call was.) Undeterred, she went ahead with her plans, sure that their motives were true: "I loved him. He loved me. Good reason." The service was conducted in early August 1968, in Christine's hometown of Birmingham; instead of wasting time traveling-- which they did quite enough of already-- they also honeymooned there before once again going Reg McVietheir separate ways with their respective bands. When he wasn't on the road, John had pretty much lived in Ealing until this point--I think with his mother-- though he recalled spending lots of time at Mick's flat in the early days of the band, "smoking, talking about music, and pulling girls." (His parents were split, and John had also sometimes stayed at his dad's home; he recalls having visiting American bluesman John Lee Hooker stay overnight on the floor of his father's front room.) After he married Chris, they got a flat of their own on Dorchester Street, but soon moved from here to an area called Chalk Farm, where they lived near London Zoo. John, always an animal lover (for that matter, so was Chris), was an associate member of the Zoological Society, where, as he says, "You paid an annual fee and could go in free at any time"-- and used to spend hours reading about and watching the penguins in their unique exhibit there. Chris once embarrassed him in a group radio interview by humorously reminding everyone that he "used to go taking photographs of the penguins all the time....breeding. Making love. The penguins! Not that he had a fetish or anything like that!" (You can check out the neat Penguin Pool at London Zoo here: http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/penguin/ ).

John was accustomed to his wife's busy schedule of gigs and traveling, as she was to his own, and each respected the other's career, independence, and talent. (Years later John proudly launched into an unsolicited account of her skill to Bassplayer magazine: "She was a killer blues pianist, just a phenomenon! In fact, she was Freddie King's pianist of choice; whenever he came to England, he would ask for Christine. But unless you've heard the Chicken Shack records, you've never heard Chris play blues piano." Chris also admired his work: "John is a classic bass player. He says everyone thinks they can play bass, 'cause you can pick it up and do something. But the selection of notes, and when not to play, is very important.") However-- much as they understood that traveling came with the territory-- as the months went by it became apparent that their paths weren't crossing very often. Chris remembers they ended up "passing each other on the front doorstep with suitcases all the time; we never saw each other!" as one left for a tour while the other returned home. There were a few occasions when they were able to travel and work together-- for example, in March of 1969, Fleetwood Mac played in Sweden, with Chicken Shack as their supporting act-- but these events were pretty rare. At the time Christine said, "I don't want to live out of a suitcase all my life. In fact, after a gig I do my best to get back home. I can't stand staying in hotels. I only do it when it's absolutely necessary." She missed John when he was away--and was quite aware of exactly how often that was-- but still seemed OK with the status quo, and with the financial security that had finally come their way: "Between October last year and this October, I don't suppose we'll have seen each other for more than four months. He'll have been out of the country for eight months. But that's the way the business goes-- there's nothing we can do about it. John can't give it up-- he's making so much money-- and neither can I." Both of their bands had grown quite popular, with Chicken Shack owing much of their success to Christine's unique, attractive female presence onstage; before long her sultry voice began to receive 'critical acclaim': "Stan was feeling the strain and it was suggested that I should try singing...People think I have a sexy voice for some reason I can't understand." In the wake of this sudden upswing, band leader Stan Webb had hoped to take Chicken Shack overseas to do some dates in America, and a tour was soon booked.

This "Chicken Shack Tour of America" proposition promptly met with some trepidation by John McVie. It wasn't a matter of trust, as there seemed to be a good deal of trust in the McVie marriage. He was certainly aware that his wife was basically the sole gorgeous blonde on the male-dominated British blues circuit, and knew she garnered quite bit of male attention both on and off-stage. He was OK with her continuing to use her maiden name in her very happening career, and he realized that she, Stan, Dave and Andy had to occasionally sleep over at hotels when they had gigs that were a long distance away. From the moment he'd met her, he'd accepted her as a strong, working woman, with a successful career and a mind of her own. For 1968, he was a pretty liberal guy! However, he had already gone with Fleetwood Mac to the States for "a look around," and he knew firsthand how crazy the scene could be over there, and how different it was from their familiar, safer home in England. (Peter Green expressed the group sentiment upon their return: "There were so many evil-looking blokes...New York is very tough, but there is violence all over America.") Here was his lovely new bride-- and really, she was so darn pretty-- with her fair English skin, those eyes like Caribbean ocean pools, and incredible legs that went on forever. The thought of her jetting off to another continent, being thrust into the sweaty, testosterone-driven club scene-- and the thriving sex-and-drug culture found therein-- must have been enough to make him break out into cold sweats. Placing himself in that environment was one thing, but imagining Christine there without him--and with three over-excited blokes who might not be focused enough to keep an eye on what was really going on around their female keyboardist-- was quite another. The whole idea was a bit beyond John's comfort level, and immediately brought out his more protective instincts. He quite sensibly feared for her safety, and made his feelings known. Upon hearing her husband's loving concerns, Chris ultimately decided against going to America. This was a major letdown for Chicken Shack, but she had made the choice to put her marriage first. Christine explained her decision to New Musical Express: "John didn't want me to go there. There are some pretty dubious characters over there and he got worried thinking about what might happen to me. Also, Fleetwood Mac was going to America at a different time, and we might have been apart for four months." With the lads in Chicken Shack probably cursing John McVie and the horse he rode in on, their own tour of the States was cancelled. Ironically, Christine's first brief trip to America was in December 1968-- to visit John! He was there on a three month long tour with Fleetwood Mac, and she flew in for just a couple of nights. They celebrated their first Christmas together (I think this was in Detroit… although it's doubtful she saw much of whatever city it was!) before she flew back to the UK and waited two months for her husband to return. (In photo-- Chris greeting John at Heathrow Airport, upon his arrival home from Fleetwood Mac's second trip to America-- 2/14/69.)