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Lindsey Adams Buckingham (born October 3, 1949) is an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as guitarist and male vocalist of the musical group Fleetwood Mac from 1975 to 1987, and 1997 to present day. Aside from his tenure with Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham has also released six solo albums and three 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 sometimes tense chemistry between himself and former girlfriend and member 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 attended San Jose State University but did not graduate.
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. From 1966-1971, Buckingham performed psychedelic and folk rock with the band Fritz in the San Francisco Bay as a bassist and vocalist. Shortly after joining Fritz, Buckingham invited friend Nicks to join Fritz as a second vocalist. Their romantic relationship would begin after both left Fritz five years later.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on the Say You Will Tour, 2003
Buckingham and his then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks recorded seven demos in 1972 on a 4-track recorder, 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.
Buckingham and Nicks began a short tour promoting the Buckingham Nicks album, shortly after joining 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 backing band, singing Phil Everly's parts.
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 investigating Sound City recording studio in California, Mick Fleetwood heard the song "Frozen Love" from the Buckingham Nicks album. Impressed, he asked who the guitarist was. By chance, Buckingham and Nicks were also in Sound City recording demos, and Buckingham and Fleetwood were introduced. When Bob Welch left Fleetwood Mac in December 1974, Fleetwood immediately contacted Buckingham and offered him the vacant guitar slot in his band. Buckingham told Fleetwood that he and Nicks were a team and that he didn't want to work without her. Fleetwood agreed to hire both of them, without an audition.
Fleetwood Mac released their eponymously titled album in 1975, which reached number one in the American charts. 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.
During the time he worked on Tusk, Buckingham also produced albums for Walter Egan and John Stewart in the late 1970s as well as beginning work on his own solo album.
In 1981, Buckingham released his first solo album Law and Order, playing nearly every instrument and featuring guest appearances by bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie. The album pursued the quirky, eclectic, often lo-fi and new-wave-influences of Tusk and spawned the hit single "Trouble", which reached #9 on the US Charts and #1 in Australia (for three weeks). Two years later he wrote and performed the songs "Holiday Road" and "Dancin' Across the U. S. A." for the film National Lampoon's Vacation. "Holiday Road" was released as a single, and reached #82 on the Billboard's Hot 100. He did other soundtrack work, including the song "Time Bomb Town" from Back to the Future (1985). Buckingham played all of the instruments on the track except drums, which were played by noted drummer Michael Huey.
In 1984, after ending his 7-year relationship with Carol Ann Harris, he released his second solo album, Go Insane. The title track was a modest hit, reaching #23 on the Hot 100. The last track of the album, D. W. Suite, was a tribute to the late Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. The next year, Buckingham performed on USA for Africa's fundraising single, "We Are the World".
Following his split with Fleetwood Mac in 1987, Buckingham spent much of the next five years in the studio, working on his third solo album, Out of the Cradle, which was released in 1992. Many of the songs seem to deal with the death of his father and the sudden death of his brother Greg in 1990. "Wrong" was a gentle rebuke of former bandmate Mick Fleetwood's tell-all biography. Out of the Cradle received some favorable reviews but did not achieve the sales levels associated with Fleetwood Mac. However, Buckingham toured throughout 1992–93 for the first time as a solo artist; his band included an army of seven other guitarists (Buckingham himself calls them "the crazy band" on his Soundstage DVD), each of whom he individually taught the entire two-and-a-half hours of music from the concert (Lindsey Buckingham: Behind the Music documentary for VH-1, 2001).
A subsequent solo album, entitled Gift of Screws, was recorded between 1995–2001 and presented to Warner Bros./Reprise for release. Executives at the label managed to persuade Buckingham to hold the album back and instead take several tracks from Gift of Screws and re-record them with Fleetwood Mac. Thus, seven songs from Gift of Screws appear on the Fleetwood Mac album Say You Will, in substantially the same form as Buckingham had recorded them for his solo release. Excellent bootleg copies of Gift of Screws—taken from an original CD-R presented to Warner Bros/Reprise—are known to exist and have been widely distributed among fans through the use of torrent sites and other peer-to-peer networks.
On his 57th birthday, (October 3, 2006) Buckingham's fourth solo album, an acoustic album entitled Under the Skin, was released. Under The Skin features Buckingham on almost all instruments, with the exception of two tracks that feature Fleetwood Mac's rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. The album includes a cover of The Rolling Stones classic "I Am Waiting". Three days after the album's release, Buckingham embarked on a tour in support the album that lasted until the end of June 2007. A live album and DVD, Live at the Bass Performance Hall, was released documenting the Fort Worth, Texas show from this tour.
In 2008 the Gift of Screws album was finally released, containing three tracks from the originally planned album, as well as seven new recordings. Buckingham then commenced a short tour to promote Gift of Screws in September and October, opening in Saratoga, California and closing in New York City.
On November 3, 2010, Buckingham's website announced that he was working on an untitled album with release planned in early 2011. Buckingham had finished recording the album, titled Seeds We Sow in April, and on April 22, 2011, he filmed a concert for DVD release to support the album. Seeds We Sow was released on September 6, 2011. On September 10, Buckingham kicked off the Seeds We Sow Tour in Reno, Nevada; the tour ended in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on November 14. Buckingham had planned to conduct his first solo tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland in December. However, in early December, Buckingham postponed all UK dates due to his guitarist suffering a back injury. The UK dates were subsequently cancelled.
Buckingham began a "solo" (no backing band) tour of the United States on May 3, 2012, in Solana Beach, California. and in November 2012 released a completely solo live album "One Man Show" via download at iTunes that was recorded from a single night in Des Moines, Iowa. "One Man Show" was released on Buckingham's own label Buckingham Records LLC.
Rejoining Fleetwood Mac
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 Rumours-era 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, 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, with the first date of the "UNLEASHED" Tour as March 1, 2009, in Mellon Arena (Pittsburgh). Christine McVie was not involved with this project. As of 2013, Fleetwood Mac is again touring as a four-piece band throughout North America, Europe, and the UK; the "Live World" tour commenced on April 4, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. On April 30, the band released their first new studio material since 2003's Say You Will via digital download on iTunes with the four-track EP containing three new songs from Buckingham and one new song from the Buckingham Nicks sessions ("Without You").
Unlike most rock guitarists, Buckingham does not play with a pick; instead, he picks the strings with his fingers and fingernails. Initially after joining Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham used a Gibson Les Paul. Before the band, a Fender Stratocaster was his main guitar, and was used on his first Fleetwood Mac album. In 1979, he worked with Rick Turner, owner of Renaissance Guitars to create the Model One. He has used it extensively since, both with Fleetwood Mac and for his solo efforts. He uses a Taylor Guitar 814ce for most of his acoustic performances and has also used an Ovation Celebrity in the past.
His influences include The Beach Boys and The Kingston Trio.
In an interview with Guitar World Acoustic Magazine, Buckingham said:
I've always believed that you play to highlight the song, not to highlight the player. The song is all that matters. There are two ways you can choose to go. You can try to be someone like Eddie Van Halen, who is a great guitarist, a virtuoso. Yet he doesn't make good records because what he plays is totally lost in the context of this band's music. Then there are guitar players like Chet Atkins, who weren't out there trying to show themselves off as guitarists per se, but were using the guitar as a tool to make good records. I remember loving Chet's work when I was a kid, but it was only later, when I really listened to his guitar parts, that I realized how much they were a part of the song's fabric, and how much you'd be going 'Oh, that song just isn't working' if they weren't there.
And in another interview to Guitar World, he said about using his fingers rather than a plectrum:
Well, it's not really a choice at all. It's just, you know, I started playing very young and from early on, the people I was listening to had some element of finger style. Probably the first guitarist I was emulating was Scotty Moore, when I was maybe 6 or 7. And he played with a pick, but he also used fingers. And a lot of the session players, like Chet Atkins, they played with fingers or a pick. Then I listened to a certain amount of light classical guitar playing. And of course later on, when the first wave of rock 'n' roll kind of fell away, folk music was very popular and very influential in my style. So it was really less of a choice than what I fell into. I use a pick occasionally. I certainly use it more in the studio when you want to get a certain tone. But it's just the way I came up. I wasn't taught. I just sort of figured things out on my own terms. I guess that was one of the ways that I became comfortable and it just kind of set in.
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 culture
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.Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments