Fleetwood Mac may never have formed had an early partnership between Rod Stewart and Mick Fleetwood worked out.
In 1965, before either of the singers made it big, they were jointly struggling in a blues band called Shotgun Express. Rod had formed several bands prior to that, and they all failed. But he was determined to make one stick and pieced this particular group together with female singer Beryl Harden, who went on to join The She Trinity, and three former members of the disbanded Peter B’s Looners, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, and Peter Bardens.
Unfortunately—or fortunately for classic rock lovers—Shotgun Express hit troubles almost immediately. John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers asked Green to join them as Eric Clapton’s replacement, and he gladly accepted. In 1966, Fleetwood had lost all hope for Stewart’s band, and he joined Green’s new band.
Fleetwood soon learned the choice was wise when Shotgun Express dropped its first and only single, I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Around, with absolutely no fanfare.
While Rod Stewart was licking his wounds and trying to rebound from his recent loss, Mick Fleetwood was forging a relationship with bassist John McVie, who was also a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Fleetwood didn’t get far with the band because Mayall fired him for being late to practices. But the bond between Fleetwood, Green, and McVie was already set.
Mick Met the Co-Founders of Fleetwood Mac in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
Despite kicking Fleetwood out, Mayall allowed the three to use his studio for jam sessions. It didn’t take long for the trio to realize they had genuine chemistry. That same year, 1967, the musicians officially formed Fleetwood Mac. The group saw several members come and go, but it remained united until 1995 and then re-formed in 1997. However, the members decided to retire following the death of Christine McVie.
Had Mick Fleetwood given Rod Stewart’s group more of a chance, Fleetwood may not have found himself surrounded by his future bandmates. However, we could also give Stewart credit for Fleetwood Mac.
If Fleetwood hadn’t joined Shotgun Express, he wouldn’t have met Green and been invited to play with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to meet McVie. And if Stewart had done better to keep Fleetwood interested, Fleetwood wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with his future collaborators while they were in a position to form the now-legendary Fleetwood Mac.
The situation worked out perfectly well for Rod Stewart, too, of course. When Shotgun Express fell apart, he found himself singing for The Jeff Beck Group. Ultimately, that gave him his big break and led to his now iconic solo career.
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