There are plenty of crazy Fleetwood Mac stories, but none of them top the tales that swirled around the recording of the 1977 juggernaut Rumours. Some of that resulted from the lineup that created the album; the band had been around for a decade by the time Rumours was released, but new members had been brought into the fold just a few years earlier. The addition of volatile couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in 1975 brought Fleetwood Mac incredible success, but almost tore the band apart.
Nicks and Buckingham, along with on-the-outs spouses Christine and John McVie and soon-to-be-divorced Mick Fleetwood, put together one of the best-selling albums in music history while making Rumours. The title proved apt, too, considering all the whispers of scandal involving the musicians. Even today, the songs on the record read like a diary of Fleetwood Mac behind-the-scenes drama. In the end, the band had a Grammy-winning album on their hands, complete with a harmonious undertone of adultery, divorce, in-fighting, and so, so many drugs.
John McVie was a member of the British band the Bluesbreakers in 1963, where he met Mick Fleetwood. Both men joined the original lineup of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac in 1967 – the same year McVie met Christine Anne Perfect.
Christine, a keyboardist and vocalist, was a member of the band Chicken Shack, and she and McVie often crossed paths. They dated for months, although touring schedules kept them on different continents, and married in August 1968. Christine took McVie's name and, in large part because she and and her husband never saw each other, announced her retirement from music in 1969.
Despite her new life as a "housewife," Christine joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 as a vocalist after Peter Green abruptly quit. Christine and McVie went from rarely being together to spending night and day working as peers, and that took its toll on their relationship. McVie's drinking further eroded things.
Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks first sang together at a Young Life gathering in California in the early 1960s, and soon after formed the Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band with three friends. The band played local events and school gatherings, but broke up in 1971.
Once the band called it quits, Buckingham and Nicks started their romantic relationship, moved to Los Angeles, and got a record deal with Polydor records in 1973. They caught the attention of Mick Fleetwood in late 1974, and in early 1975, the two were asked to join Fleetwood Mac.
By 1975, Buckingham and Nicks's relationship was rocky, at best. Years later, Nicks recalled how they had been on the verge of splitting up when they joined the band:
"Lindsey and I were in total chaos a year before we met Fleetwood Mac... I had already moved out of our apartment a couple of times and then had to move back in because I couldn’t afford it. Our relationship was already in dire straits. But if we’d broken up within the first six months of Fleetwood Mac there would have been no record and we would have been in big trouble, so when we joined the band we took the decision to hang in there."
After Danny Kirwan left Fleetwood Mac in 1972, he was replaced by guitarist Bob Weston. Weston, whom Mick Fleetwood described as "charming and funny," fit in with the band well. Weston met Fleetwood's wife at the time, Jenny, while she was on tour with the band, and the two hit it off immediately. They began an affair.
Jenny personally told Fleetwood about her relationship with Weston before leaving the tour and taking their two children to Los Angeles. The tension in the band skyrocketed, but Fleetwood tried to keep playing with Weston. He reached his breaking point eventually, though, and Weston was fired in October 1973.
Years later, Weston quipped, "[It was] the most expensive affair I've ever had in my life... cost me a career, that did."
According to Christine, the McVies were happy for about three years. But then she began an affair with Martin Birch, Fleetwood Mac's married sound engineer, in 1973. Christine said John McVie got belligerent when he was drunk, and he was drunk a lot; she was seeing "more Hyde than Jekyll."
Christine was pretty open about the affair, and even considered leaving the band to make a solo album with Birch. He went back to his wife, however, and she decided to stay where she was.