Lindsey Buckingham

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.