10 Greatest Fleetwood Mac Songs Before Stevie and Lindsey Era
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 26: Honorees Stevie Nicks (R) and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac perform onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on January 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
The addition of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham was a game-changer for Fleetwood Mac. The pair helped propel the band to greater commercial success especially with the musical masterpiece “Rumours”. However, even before Nicks and Buckingham joined them, Fleetwood Mac also churned out pretty amazing music. Let’s check out their ten greatest songs pre-Nicks and Buckingham.
1. Oh Well
One of their best songs, “Oh Well” was a commercial success. The single was released in two parts, and Peter Green liked the second.
“The best bit was Part 2 on the other side of the record,” he admitted to Mojo in 1996. “You miss the best bit, the Spanish guitar break. The first side was what we played on stage. I didn’t think it would be a hit and I used to hate playing that one because we played the part that wasn’t as good. I wanted a bit of moody guitar playing. They wanted the bit that was easy to do, that everyone knew.”
In the UK, it became the biggest-selling selling rock instrumental of all time. And it’s Fleetwood Mac’s only number-one hit in the UK Singles Chart.
“I heard John Mayall’s Bluebreakers cover of blues singer Jimmy Rogers ‘The Last Meal,'” Green said. “I thought I would take it and develop it.”
Penned by Danny Kirwan, the lyrics were taken from a 1927 W. H. Davies poem titled “The Dragonfly”. It was Fleetwood Mac’s first UK single following Green’s departure. Unfortunately, it was a commercial failure and didn’t chart.
“The best thing he [Kirwan] ever wrote,” Green said. “That should have been a hit.”
A Bob Welch composition, it features Mick Fleetwood’s triple time rhythm on the drums and Bob Weston’s guitar solo.
“‘Hypnotized’ was first a ‘shuffle-time blues rocker’ for singer Dave Walker (ex-Savoy Brown lead singer) when Fleetwood Mac had Dave on board as a band member for a (very) short while,” Welch explained to SongFacts. “When we realized that Dave was not fitting in musically with what we were trying to do, I hurriedly re-wrote the lyrics in Christine McVie’s upstairs living room at ‘Benifolds,’ the ‘mansion’ south of London where we all lived and recorded at the time.”
5. Sentimental Lady
Welch wrote this for his first wife. Fleetwood Mac originally recorded it in 1972, but it was Welch’s recording for his debut solo album in 1977 that became a hit.
“The lyric was probably referencing my first wife (at the time) Nancy,” Welch told SongFacts. “The original placeholder/dummy lyrics for the chorus (before I had ‘real’ lyrics) were, ‘my legs are sticks and my feet are stones.’ I have the old songwriting cassette I used, and that’s what I’m saying.”
“The Fleetwood Mac version had 2 verses,” he added, “the ‘hit’ solo album version (5 years later), had only 1 verse, in order to get it down to less than 3 minutes, for radio.”
6. Man of the World
It was written by Green, and Mick Fleetwood called it “a very prophetic song.”
“When he made those songs, we had no idea that he was suffering internally as much as he was,” Fleetwood added. “But if you listen to the words, it’s crucifyingly obvious what was going on. But a beautiful song. A poignant song.”
7. Black Magic Woman
Another Green composition, Santana made it a hit. According to Carlos Santana, he used to watch shows by the original Fleetwood Mac and to him, “they were the best blues band.”
8. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
It’s the last song Green wrote before he left the band.
“When I woke up I found I was writing this song,” he recalled. “Next day I went out to the park and the words started coming. The Green Manalishi is the wad of notes, the devil is green and he was after me. Fear, inspiration is what it was, but it was that tribal ancient Hebrew thing I was going for. Ancient music.”
9. Rattlesnake Shake
A highlight of Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 album “Then Play On”, it was a crowd favorite during their concerts. It’s one of Mick Fleetwood’s favorite tunes.
“It incorporated the freedom to go off on a tangent, to jam – the classic ‘Do you jam, dude?’” he explained. “We learned that as players. You hear that alive and well in the double-time structure that I put in at the end, which on stage could last half an hour. It was our way of being in The Grateful Dead.”
10. Need Your Love So Bad
Originally recorded by Little Willie John, the song was covered by other artists. Producer Mike Vernon suggested to Green the addition of a string section. The song charted and was featured in several compilation albums.