Fleetwood Mac 1971-1975: ‘California Leaning’Categories: Featured, Rock and Roll
Written By: Tim T.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a huge fan of the Rumors era line-up but digging deeper into the Mac’s catalog is highly recommended. Two forgotten stalwarts of Fleetwood Mac’s early 70’s lineups include the dandy Bob Welch and guitar virtuoso Bob Weston. If you like Christie McVie’s legendary contributions during the late ’70’s and early ’80’s you’ll love some of her gems on albums like Penguin, Heroes are Hard to Find and Mystery to Me.
Fleetwood Mac Live in 1973
McVie, sorely missed on the two most recent Fleetwood Mac reunion tours, is now retired in the English countryside but her legacy looms large over the long and storied career of the band. She has, to date, appeared on all but two albums, either as a member or as a session musician. Any questions about the soul and depth of McVie’s compositions and writing skills should be answered with a listen to Mystery To Me’s final track, Why. Hmmm, I’m getting carried away about McVie and I set off to shine some light on Welch and Bob Weston.
Here’s a 1976 version of Why with Lindsey Buckingham adding some tasteful guitar stylings.
Bob Welch was a pure bred Californian who helped to convince Mick Fleetwood and John McVie to move the band from England to California back in 1971. Welch, who later had big success as a solo artist after bowing out of Fleetwood Mac in late 1974, is best known for his nimble guitar work, fine songwriting and a somewhat geeky persona with large oversized glasses and a tendency to wear a fedora.
It can be argued that Welch’s contributions to Fleetwood Mac were pretty profound, he was instrumental in moving the band toward a more pop-based California sound, laying the groundwork for Buckingham and Nicks who would essentially replace him in 1975.
Welch was mysteriously snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Fleetwood Mac when the band was inducted in 1998. Welch had this to say about the affair:
“I’m really disappointed about being overlooked by Fleetwood Mac. It basically comes down to the fact that they don’t like me anymore. “I guess they can do what they want. I could understand it if I had been a sideman for a year. But I was an integral part of that band for five years. I put more of myself into that band than anything else I’ve ever done.”
Full props to Bob Welch who wrote several standout tracks for the band including Sentimental Lady, Hypnotized and Bermuda Triangle.
Bob Weston had a short lived stint with the band but helped stabilize the band’s sound after the departure of previous guitar god Danny Kirwin. He would famously be fired for having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s first wife during the band’s 1973 tour.
Never a dull moment for Fleetwood Mac, whatever the incarnation of the band may be..