Fleetwood Mac’s hatred for one another was largely attributed to Love and Drugs.
In terms of overarching influence on the face of modern music, few bands can say that their music has had as much of a resounding impact as Fleetwood Mac. The group’s definitive album, “Rumours,” is a masterclass in merging soft rock and popular music, and nearly a half-century after its release, it’s still inspiring new generations of musicians.
For all of those reasons and more, Fleetwood Mac’s position in music history is about as solidified as can be. But alongside those successes as a band, its members had their fair share of issues with one another over the years. With that being said, why did Fleetwood Mac seem to hate each other at a time when they were the biggest thing in music? Let’s unpack some of the reasons.
Why did Fleetwood Mac hate each other? Well, things got pretty complicated romantically.
Everyone knows the old saying of “don’t mix business with pleasure.” Well, Fleetwood Mac threw that notion completely out the window during the peak of their fame, and the band members’ various affairs with one another led to hatred and resentment among its members that reverberated for decades and helped create some of their most famous songs.
The first couple worth mentioning is Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. They were already dating when Lindsey asked Stevie to join Fleetwood Mac, per the Los Angeles Times, but their relationship ended right around the time that the band made 1977’s “Rumours.” The result? An album filled with subtle jabs between the former lovers. Think “Second Hand News,” “Never Going Back Again,” and “Go Your Own Way,” which were all written by Lindsey about Stevie. Likewise, she wrote “Dreams” about him.
Next up after that situation was Stevie engaging in an affair with band founder Mick Fleetwood. This situation was later described by Stevie during an Oprah’s Master Class interview where she was candid about its pitfalls.
The singer said, “Mick and I would never have had an affair had we not had a party and all been completely drunk and messed up and coked out, and, you know, ended up being the last two people at the party.”
She added, “So guess what? It’s not hard to figure out what happened — and what happened wasn’t a good thing. It was doomed. It was a doomed thing, caused a lot of pain for everybody, led to nothing.”
The group’s built-in couple came in the form of Christine and John McVie. The duo faced difficulties when Christine had an affair with Martin Birch, who worked as the band’s sound engineer, in 1973. Martin was fired, and despite their not immediately splitting, tensions existed between Christine and John.
“We literally didn’t talk, other than to say, ‘What key is this song in?'” Christine later told Uncut about that tumultuous time. “We were as cold as ice to each other because John found it easier that way.” After seven years of being married, Christine and John decided to split and the former went on to have a relationship with the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant, causing even more tension within the group.
Fleetwood Mac’s internal issues were also attributed to rampant drug usage.
Romance aside, drugs played a huge role in how tensions developed between Fleetwood Mac members.
Christine possibly alluded to this when she told Rolling Stone in 1984 of Stevie: “She seems to have developed her own fantasy world, somehow, which I’m not part of. We don’t socialize much.”
The issue wasn’t just with Stevie, either. In 2021, Mick reflected on the group’s drug issues to Classic Rock magazine: “There’s no doubt we were well equipped with the marching powder. That’s a well-worn fairy tale that gets more like a war story, that gets more and more aggrandized. I’m not minimalizing the fact that we were definitely partaking in that lifestyle.”
Mick later added, “That went on for a long, long time, Stevie Nicks has addressed it, so I’m not divulging anything that she hasn’t spoken about. It got out of hand way after the making of ‘Rumours.’ I remember not working for two years. I can’t even remember what I did.”
Romance and drug issues aside, Fleetwood Mac’s hectic time together undoubtedly gave way to some of the most iconic music of the 20th century.