The Blue Horizon Years
Long before they became the multi-platinum chart toppers of 70’s rock, Fleetwood Mac, anchored by guitarist Peter Green, were a pillar in the 1960’s London blues scene. The band was founded in 1967 by Green and drummer Mick Fleetwood, along with guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie, with the band’s name derived from their rhythm section. Three of the members (Green, Fleetwood, McVie) were all alumni of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Playing straight up blues, the band have often become referred to as ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’ to distinguish them from the later iteration of the group, recording two albums for Blue Horizon – the self-titled release in April 1968, and ‘Mr Wonderful’ in August of the same year, along with the compilation ‘The Pious Bird of Good Omen,’ a collection of singles, b-sides and assorted other tracks. Achieving success from the start, the debut from Fleetwood Mac peaked at #4 in the Top 40, going on to spend the better part of a year in the charts. Meanwhile, the “Albatross” single, released in November of 1968 and also featured on the ‘Pious’ album, became the band’s first #1 in England (& to this day, Fleetwood Mac’s only chart-topping single). The original foursome of Green-McVie-Fleetwood-Spencer were joined later in this era by third guitarist Danny Kirwan, who debuted on the ‘Albatross’ single, and Christine Perfect (later McVie) on keyboards. In addition to “Albatross,” the ‘Pious’ album also featured the single “Black Magic Woman,” later brought to widespread acclaim by Santana. Along with the two studio releases, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac also recorded the album ‘Blues Jam in Chicago,’ live at the Chess Records studios in Chicago, featuring a host of blues legends including Willie Dixon, Otis Spann and Buddy Guy, with the LP released late in 1969. Fleetwood Mac would go on to sign to Reprise Records, with Peter Green leaving the group in 1970.