Mick Fleetwood, the drummer, and co-founder of the band Fleetwood Mac, has had a remarkable career in the music industry. He has been with the band since its formation in 1967 and has witnessed their entire journey, from their early blues rock days to their later chart-topping pop-rock hits like “Rumours” in 1977 and “Tango in the Night” in 1987.
Being there from the beginning, Fleetwood has faced numerous challenges alongside the band. He witnessed the mental breakdown of Peter Green, another co-founder and original frontman of Fleetwood Mac. He also experienced guitarist Jeremy Spencer’s sudden departure to join a cult and the difficult process of recording “Rumours” while dealing with the effects of cocaine addiction.
Because of his extensive knowledge of Fleetwood Mac’s history, Mick Fleetwood is considered the most important source of information on the band. In an interview with NME for the ‘Soundtrack of My Life’ segment, Fleetwood revealed that the song “Albatross” was the one that changed his life. Released in 1968 and composed by Peter Green, the instrumental track became a number-one hit and marked the beginning of the band’s journey.
The title of the song, “Albatross,” is derived from the phrase “an albatross around your neck,” which symbolizes bad luck. Sailors believed that seeing an albatross was a sign of misfortune. This association was reinforced by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” which mentioned the bird. Peter Green had read the poem as a child, and its themes had a lasting impact on him.
Musically, “Albatross” drew inspiration from other songs. Green was influenced by Santo & Johnny’s 1959 instrumental rock and roll track called “Sleep Walk” when writing the song. Some people also draw parallels between “Albatross” and Chuck Berry’s 1957 blues number called “Deep Feeling.”
In 2021, Mick Fleetwood reflected on the tribute concert he organized for Peter Green, which took place in London’s Palladium in February of the previous year. The concert featured performances from various artists, including Fleetwood Mac bandmates Christine McVie, Noel Gallagher, Pete Townshend, and Billy Gibbons. The event was of great significance to Fleetwood because Peter Green had passed away in July 2020 at the age of 73.
Fleetwood wanted to emphasize that Peter Green was the true founder of Fleetwood Mac, not himself. He acknowledged that John McVie and Jeremy Spencer joined soon after, followed by Danny Kirwan. Fleetwood felt that as the band’s journey progressed, people might forget its beginnings, so he wanted to remind everyone of how it all started.
The concert was motivated by Fleetwood’s desire to honor Peter Green’s legacy and give him something special. Despite Green’s humility and tendency to distance himself from his own achievements, Fleetwood wanted to express his gratitude for Green’s incredible songwriting and musical contributions.
The evening was particularly memorable because David Gilmour, the guitarist of Pink Floyd, joined Fleetwood and the band to perform “Albatross.” Gilmour initially hesitated, feeling intimidated by the task of interpreting Peter Green’s work. However, he eventually gathered enough courage to participate in the concert and paid homage to Green’s exceptional talent and songs.
Overall, Mick Fleetwood’s journey with Fleetwood Mac has been filled with challenges, milestones, and moments of reflection on the band’s history. Through his experiences, he has become a vital source of information and a dedicated advocate for preserving the legacy of Fleetwood Mac and its founding members.