Fleetwood Mac, as a British band originally named Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, was started in 1968 by guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie, after the three left (or were fired from) John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. They were then joined by Jeremy Spencer. Fleetwood Mac would release a series of straightforward blues albums which did moderately well in the United Kingdom. Early singles included "Oh, Well", "Albatross", and "Black Magic Woman" (which was re-recorded by Santana and became a U.S. hit).
Fleetwood Mac went through many personnel changes, losing multiple lead guitarists (including Peter Green) and gaining blues singer Christine McVie (John McVie's wife). When American guitarist Bob Welch joined them, the band adopted more of a southern California country rock sound, still tempered by the blues influence of the British members.
In late 1974, Bob Welch left the band, and Mick Fleetwood was left to fill the vacancy. Having heard guitarist Lindsey Buckingham at a recording studio, he asked Buckingham to join the band. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his musical partner and girlfriend Stevie Nicks also be invited to the band.
In 1975, the new lineup released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac. The album became a huge hit, and the group was catapulted into stardom. But in 1976, with the success of the band also came the end of John and Christine McVie's marriage, as well as Buckingham and Nicks' longtime romantic relationship. Huge additional pressures were placed on the band to release a followup album, which, when combined with the newly found wealth, led to large amounts of drug and alcohol consumption.
The band would release further albums, including the quirky double album Tusk in 1979, a live album (Live, 1980) and the more conventional Mirage before going on a hiatus, allowing for the solo careers of Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie. They would record one more album (Tango In The Night, 1987) before Buckingham officially quit the band.
Fleetwood Mac added guitarists Billy Burnette and Rick Vito and recorded more albums through the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Buckingham/Nicks/McVie(s)/Fleetwood lineup would reunite from time to time in the 1990s. The first time was for the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, who had made Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop his campaign song. The second time was for a live concert in Los Angeles which resulted in the album The Dance. The band released its latest album, "Say You Will" in 2003 without Christine McVie.