Lindsey Buckingham (born October 3, 1949) is an American guitarist, singer, composer and producer, most commonly known for being the lead guitarist for Fleetwood Mac 1975 to 1987, and from 1997 to present day. Aside from his tenure with Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham has also released six solo albums and two live albums. As a member of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2011, Buckingham was ranked 100th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2011 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In Fleetwood Mac's heyday, Buckingham was known for his fingerpicking guitar style and wide vocal range as well as the famous (sometimes tense) chemistry between himself and former girlfriend and bandmate Stevie Nicks.
Born in Palo Alto, California, Buckingham was the third and youngest child of Rutheda (née Elliott) and Morris Buckingham. He had two older brothers, Jeff and Greg. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area community of Atherton, Buckingham and his brothers were encouraged to swim competitively. Though Buckingham dropped out of athletics to pursue music, his brother Greg went on to win a silver medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Buckingham's first forays into guitar playing took place on a toy Mickey Mouse guitar, playing along to his brother Jeff's extensive collection of 45s. Noticing his talent, Buckingham's parents bought their son a $35 Harmony guitar. Buckingham never took guitar lessons and does not read music. By age 13, he became interested in folk music and, influenced by banjo methods, practiced the energetic style of The Kingston Trio. At 15 he joined a small folk group, Fritz, providing vocals and guitar work.
Buckingham and his then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks recorded seven demos in 1972 on an analog 4-track machine, and drove to Los Angeles to pursue a record deal. In 1973, Polydor Records signed the pair. Their album, Buckingham Nicks, was released in September 1973; soon after its release, however, Polydor dropped the duo because of poor sales. Despite Polydor's measure, though, Buckingham Nicks has been championed by rock critics since its release. It features fine two-part harmonies backed by notable LA session musicians, including superstar drummer Jim Keltner. According to the album notes, other session musicians include: Ron Tutt (Elvis Presley TCB Band), drums; Peggy Sandvig, keyboards; Waddy Wachtel, guitar; Jorge Calderon, percussion; Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley TCB Band), bass; Monty Stark, synthesizer; Gary Hodges, drums; and Mark Tulin, bass. Although money was tight, the hardworking duo caught the attention of many budding musicians, including Warren Zevon, who is rumored to have been a roommate of Nicks and Buckingham in a Fairfax district apartment. A short tour promoting the Buckingham Nicks album commenced shortly after the joining of Buckingham and Nicks with Fleetwood Mac. Bootlegs of two concerts in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa exist and are widely distributed on peer-to-peer networks and fansites. The touring band included drummers Bob Aguirre (from Fritz) and Gary Hodges playing simultaneously and bassist Tom Moncrieff, who later played bass on Stevie Nicks' 1981 album Bella Donna. To help make ends meet, Buckingham toured with Don Everly's back-up band, singing Phil Everly's parts. Buckingham and Nicks were eventually forced to move in with record producer Keith Olsen, who helped the pair work on several demos for the next Buckingham Nicks album, including "I'm So Afraid", "Monday Morning" and "Rhiannon". Buckingham Nicks has never been released on CD (a bootleg version does exist), although both Buckingham and Nicks have hinted at a possible remix and re-release on CD in the near future. Buckingham has also suggested a tour in support of the collection could be something the two may be interested in. Moncrieff and Hodges from the original Buckingham Nicks touring band have also expressed interest.
While checking out the Sound City recording studio in California, Mick Fleetwood heard the song "Frozen Love" from the Buckingham Nicks album. He asked who the guitarist was, and immediately stated that he wanted him to fill a recent vacancy. Buckingham insisted to Fleetwood that he and Nicks were a package deal—if Fleetwood didn't want Nicks, he wouldn't get Buckingham. The duo was quickly asked to join Fleetwood Mac on New Year's Eve, 1974. Fleetwood Mac released their eponymously titled album in 1975, which became a hit. However it was the second album of this new line-up, Rumours, that propelled the band to superstar status when it became one of the best-selling albums of all time. Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way" was the lead-off single, soaring into the US Top Ten. After the resounding commercial success of Rumours (during the making of which Buckingham and Nicks famously split), Buckingham was determined to avoid falling into repeating the same musical pattern. The result was Tusk (1979), a double album that Buckingham primarily directed. Once again, Buckingham wrote the lead-off single, the title track that would peak at #8 on Billboard's Hot 100. It was during this time that Buckingham moved in with record company secretary and aspiring model, Carol Ann Harris, with whom he lived until 1984. Though by most standards a hit, Tusk failed to come close to Rumours record sales, and the album was followed by a hiatus in the band's studio recording efforts. After a large world tour that ended in 1980, Fleetwood Mac took a year-long break before reconvening to record their next album Mirage, a more pop-friendly work that returned the band to the top of the US album chart. However, by this time various members of the band were enjoying success as solo artists (particularly Nicks) and it would be five years before the release of the next Fleetwood Mac album. By the time Tango in the Night was released in 1987, Buckingham had already released two solo albums and had given up much of the material for what would have been his third solo album for the project, including "Big Love", "Tango in the Night", "Family Man", "You and I" and "Caroline". On several of these tracks Buckingham played every instrument. "Big Love", released as the first single from the album, became a top ten hit in the US and the UK. Propelled by a string of hit singles, Tango in the Night became the band's biggest album since Rumours a decade earlier. However, following its release, Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac largely because of his desire not to tour and the strain he was feeling within the band. Fleetwood Mac continued without him, and Buckingham was replaced by guitarists Rick Vito and Billy Burnette.
Rejoining Fleetwood MacEdit
In 1992, newly elected president Bill Clinton asked Fleetwood Mac to come together to perform the song he had chosen for his campaign, "Don't Stop", at his inaugural ceremony. Buckingham agreed to be part of the performance, but the experience was something of a one-off for the band, who were still very much at odds with one another and had no plans to reunite officially. While assembling material for a planned fourth solo album in the mid 1990s, Buckingham contacted Mick Fleetwood for assistance on a song. Their collaboration lasted much longer than anticipated, and the two eventually decided to call upon Stevie Nicks, John and Christine McVie. The band's old chemistry was clearly still there, and plans for a reunion tour were soon in the works. In 1997, Buckingham and all four of his bandmates from the original Rumours line-up of Fleetwood Mac went on the road for the first time together since 1982 in a reunion tour titled The Dance. The tour was hugely successful and did much to heal the damage that had been done between Buckingham and his bandmates. However, Christine McVie left the band in 1998, essentially now making the band a foursome. In 2003, the reformed band released the first studio album involving Buckingham and Nicks in 15 years, Say You Will. Buckingham's song "Peacekeeper" was the first single from the album, and the band went on a world concert tour that would last almost a year and a half. The band toured in 2009, rehearsals began in January 2009, with the first date of the "UNLEASHED" Tour as March 1, 2009, in Mellon Arena (Pittsburgh). Christine McVie was not involved with this project.
On July 8, 1998, Buckingham's girlfriend, Kristen Messner, gave birth to their son, William Gregory Buckingham. Buckingham and Messner subsequently married in 2000, when Messner was 30 and Buckingham was 51; she gave birth to a daughter, Leelee, the same year. Their third child, Stella, was born on April 20, 2004. The song "It Was You" from his Under the Skin album pays homage to all three children by using their names.
In popular cultureEdit
Lindsey Buckingham has been portrayed by Bill Hader in a recurring sketch titled "What Up With That" on NBC's Saturday Night Live. He appeared as himself on the May 14, 2011, episode during this sketch.