On this day in 1949, singer/songwriter/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was born in the San
Francisco Bay Area suburb of Atherton, Calif. Buckingham, along with then-girlfriend
Stevie Nicks, changed the fortunes of British band Fleetwood Mac forever when they
added their catchy, California-pop/rock sound to the group in 1975. After mega-success
with the Mac, Buckingham has concentrated on a critically hailed solo career.
Buckingham taught himself to play guitar from the huge record collection owned by his
brother, Jeff. "It was like having the story of rock 'n' roll unfurled in front of me,"
Buckingham once said.
In his early teens, Buckingham got into folk music and practiced finger-picking to
Kingston Trio records. In his junior year of high school, Buckingham sang one night with
senior Nicks at a youth gathering. The next year, the two formed the rock band Fritz. In
1971, Buckingham and Nicks became an item and moved to Los Angeles to try to make
it as a rock duo. They eventually signed with Polydor Records and released
Buckingham-Nicks (1973), which failed to sell well.
They took day jobs while continuing to write songs until Fleetwood Mac's Mick
Fleetwood heard their album while trying out a recording studio. Fleetwood asked
Buckingham to replace the departed Bob Welch on guitar and Buckingham took Nicks
with him into the band.
Buckingham and Nicks' songs on Fleetwood Mac (1975) brought a new sound to
the group and the album made #1 in the U.S. Hits included Nicks' "Rhiannon" and
keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie's "Say You Love Me." But it was Rumours
(1977) -- which became the best-selling studio album of all time by a group -- that made
the bandmembers worldwide superstars. Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way" went top 10
and became a concert staple.
Wanting the band to grow artistically, Buckingham spearheaded its 1979 double-LP,
Tusk. Emphasizing Buckingham's quirky guitar-rhythms, the album was less
commercial than its predecessors and sold accordingly (but Buckingham's title track was
still a top-10 hit).
The early '80s saw solo albums from Buckingham and Nicks. While Nicks' were
top-sellers, Buckingham's concentrated on dense, textured pop-experimentation, along
the lines of his hero Brian Wilson. Though his solo LPs didn't sell very well, Law and
Order (1981) produced the hit "Trouble" and Go Insane (1984) was highly
praised by critics.
Fleetwood Mac's 1987 album, Tango in the Night -- which Buckingham
co-produced -- was a smash, but Buckingham grew tired of the band and chose not to
participate in its successful tour. He laid low for a few years while Fleetwood Mac
soldiered on without him. Buckingham's 1992 solo effort, Out of the Cradle,
received rave reviews but sold only moderately.
When Fleetwood Mac reunited in 1997 for The Dance album and tour,
Buckingham returned to the band and his chemistry with Nicks brought them many new
fans, sending the album into the multi-platinum zone.
Buckingham is currently completing his fourth solo album and is planning to tour with
Fleetwood on drums. Fleetwood Mac, including Buckingham, were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. He also became a father for the first time this year.
Following The Dance tour, Fleetwood said of the traditionally road-shy
Buckingham: "Lindsey Buckingham has had a dose of rock 'n' roll. He can't wait to get
out on the road."
Other birthdays: Alan O'Day, 58; Chubby Checker, 57; Ronnie Laws, 48; Jack Wagner,
39; Robbie Jaymes (Modern Romance), 37; Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe), 36;
Eddie Cochran, 1938-1960; and Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1954-1990.