Today, August 13th, marks the 50th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac. On that date in 1967, the band played their first ever show, alongside artists like Cream and Jeff Beck, at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival. But according to drummer Mick Fleetwood, even with their massive success in the years since, much of Fleetwood Mac‘s early history remains unknown to everyday fans, many of whom quite likely believe the band to have begun life in the mid-Seventies, with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks at the helm. The drummer intends to shine a light on his band’s oft-ignored formative years as a crack British blues outfit with a new book, Love That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac, Volume One 1967–1974, due September 19th from Genesis Publications. “It’s about giving kudos to the founding fathers of a very strange journey that Fleetwood Mac ended up taking over the course of all these years,” he tells Rolling Stone.
Those founding fathers include thefounding father of Fleetwood Mac, guitarist and vocalist Peter Green, who formed the band with Fleetwood (the initial lineup was rounded out by guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning; John McVie, the “Mac” in Fleetwood Mac, replaced Brunning not long after the Windsor gig) following a stint in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. They soon welcomed a third guitarist, Danny Kirwan, and achieved success in the U.K. with Green-penned songs like “Black Magic Woman,” “Albatross” and “Oh Well.” Over the next few years, the band cycled through members and musical styles; Green, Spencer and Kirwan each exited under unusual circumstances, among them psychological and emotional struggles exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse, while later members like guitarists Bob Welch and Bob Weston and keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie – who remains with Mac to this day – came in and helped to lead the band down new sonic paths. In late 1974, Fleetwood and the McVies were joined by Buckingham and Nicks, which is the point at which Love That Burnsconcludes. “That’s why it’s called Volume One,” Fleetwood says. “And hopefully there will be a Volume Two that will pick up from there. But I wanted this to be a separate story, because it is an important story in its own right.”
In Love That Burns, this story is afforded a gorgeous presentation. Fleetwood’s insightful and sometimes humorous first-person account of the band’s origins is fleshed out by more than 400 stunning (and in some cases never-before-published) images, as well as intimate archival material and rare memorabilia. There are also additional recollections from those close to the band at the time, including John Mayall and early Mac members Jeremy Spencer, Christine McVie, John McVie and the rarely-heard-from Peter Green himself. It’s all gathered together in an exquisitely produced large-format tome that is limited to just 2,000 copies, each one signed by Fleetwood himself. “A lot of care and a lot of love went into this, and I give kudos to Genesis for that,” Fleetwood says. “They don’t do it unless it’s done right. And there aren’t hundreds of thousands of these books that are going to be made. So it really is a labor of love that something like this gets to exist, and it also is great to know that this story can be told, and anybody who has an interest in it can now know about it.