I was shocked to hear the news that Lindsey Buckingham, the true genius behind the resurgence of Fleetwood Mac since 1974 and fired from the band in 2018, had undergone life-saving heart surgery last week and suffered damage to his vocal cords. We should hope that Buckingham makes a full recovery from the surgery and that the damage to his vocal cords is temporary. However, the crocodile tears of his former bandmates left me cold.
“We are saddened by this news. Our thoughts and love go out to Lindsey and his entire family. We are hopeful for his speedy recovery”, said the tweet issued in the band’s name. You should be. Without him, you would probably be a minor blues band playing tiny venues on the pub circuit.
When Buckingham was fired by the band, it was the equivalent of Pete Townshend being fired from the Who, or Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones, or Sting from the Police. That is to say the most talented and influential member of the group being booted out by the other members.
Let’s be honest about this: the men after whom the band is named are not the most talented members. Mick Fleetwood plays drums, John McVie plays bass guitar and that’s pretty well their contribution to the band. Buckingham, meanwhile, wrote some of the best songs, sang many of the lead vocals and played a mean guitar. You can replace him – and the band has, with two people – but in truth Neil Finn and Mike Campbell for all their stellar talents are merely stand-ins, playing on tour to keep the money rolling in.
This version of Fleetwood Mac is playing Wembley Stadium soon and I am sure they will put on a smooth, professional show, but Lindsey Buckingham won’t be there. That’s just wrong on so many levels even though that’s the way the band wants it. And when I say ‘the band’, I mean Stevie Nicks. This is her doing and the old boys at the back just went along with it.
Get well soon, Lindsey. You’re still the man, even if you were knived by the Mac.