When most people talk about the blues era of Fleetwood Mac, they’ll inevitably talk about Peter Green. When most people talk about Fleetwood’s first excursions away from blues and into pop-rock, they’ll mention Christine McVie joining the band and/or guitarist Bob Welch.
There was one man who helped steer the band from 1969 through to 1972, through their most tricky times: their third guitarist Danny Kirwan.
Between May and July 2017, Real Gone embarked on an ambitious audio project. A huge library of streaming audio, ‘The Great 70s Project’ became one of the year’s most popular features.
The plan was to delve deep into the decade’s music, but dig much deeper than revisiting the hits. We hoped that by presenting the hits alongside some fabulous album cuts and neglected b-sides, our look at the decade would create new favourites and also encourage listens to long neglected albums.
Looking back, the three years between the disco and pop oriented sounds of 1976 and the majestic jumble of influences that fill 1979 are a huge gulf. By 1979, disco was on it’s last legs, punk had firmly given airtime to what we now think of as new wave and the pop music of the day was about as strong as it had been since 1975.
On December 1st 1976, UK TV history was made. On Bill Grundy’s Today show, the Sex Pistols and a couple of their associated chums shocked a nation. Their behavior was quickly seen as inappropriate for most of the 1970s public and by the time their interview concluded with Steve Jones calling Grundy “a fucking rotter”, things had moved from merely “inappropriate” to “causing outrage”.
At the time of release of their third album ‘Then Play On’ in September 1969, Fleetwood Mac were an absolute musical powerhouse. While the band were not as purist in their blues ethic as before, on that release, bandleader Peter Green’s song writing, vocal style and guitar playing are at their career peak, while Danny Kirwan shows increased confidence in his role as second guitarist and songwriter. As usual, both Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are faultless in their rhythm section duties. Despite the strengths, cracks are also beginning to appear: although Fleetwood’s third vocalist-guitarist Jeremy Spencer is credited as appearing, he made no contributions to the original LP.