Mick Fleetwood has lived longer than any other musician could ever hope to. Being a part of one of the most enduring rhythm sections in rock, along with John McVie, Fleetwood has remained the beating heart of the group throughout it all, despite years of drug abuse, some of the biggest band tensions in Fleetwood Mac, and his wife and children leaving him halfway through his peak years. Because of the length of time involved, musicians respect their songwriters more than ever, but Fleetwood has a particular spot in his heart for one of his associates who started it all.
Fleetwood was unafraid to name The Rolling Stones as his favorite band when asked who he believed was the greatest band of all time. Fleetwood has long appreciated the Stones for being true to their roots. Before Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Christine McVie joined the group, Mac and The Stones were masters of the blues, drawing inspiration from musicians like Albert King, Muddy Waters, and Howlin Wolf who originated in the Mississippi Delta. While Fleetwood is keen to point out that they have recently deviated from their roots, he respects their commitment to their profession.
He also told Associated Press, “They’re just a great rock and roll band, and they come from the same world I came from in the early days of Fleetwood Mac.”
When The Mac originally started, the blues was almost like their native tongue; John McVie had been a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before answering Fleetwood’s request to join their band on the road. Near the close of the 1960s, Fleetwood Mac, like the Stones, discovered themselves on a new professional path.
Both artists utilized their abilities in rootsy music, creating songs that were shaped by a distinct image of Americana as the era of Flower Power was quickly coming to an end. The Stones had already carved out an acoustic niche, releasing old blues favorites like “You Gotta Move” with new country classics like “Dead Flowers,” even before Nicks and Buckingham finally elevated those sounds with albums like Rumours.
The loss of Christine McVie signaled the beginning of the end for Fleetwood Mac, but The Stones have continued to live up to their reputation by producing an album of blues songs titled Blue and Lonesome. Fleetwood continued to add his bluesy touch to things wherever he could, frequently employing blues shuffle rhythms or stepping way outside of his comfort zone to add that classic blues component back to their sound, even while they were playing to Buckingham’s pop-fueled ambitions on albums like Tusk.
Despite his repeated claims that Fleetwood Mac might not reform, Mick Fleetwood seemed to be satisfied to watch one of the best rock bands of his generation continue to perform night after night. Several decades may have gone since they were children, but with time, both Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones have evolved into the blues heroes they all admired as youngsters.