Fleetwood Mac first took to the stage on 13th August at Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival under the guise of ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’, a show which began the start of one of the most beautiful dynasties in music history.
The line-up that performed in Windsor that evening didn’t even consist of John McVie despite the band title featuring his name. However, he would join up with the band just a few weeks later after they successfully managed to convince the bassist to pack in playing with John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers — after a torturous amount of persuasion.
Their debut show came just a few weeks after their formation in July which happened not long after the late Peter Green quit playing with John Mayall. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of the very man he had replaced in The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton who was now a global superstar with Cream and now Green wanted to replicate the career of his predecessor.
The Bluesbreakers before Green’s departure also featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie with the three of them being given unlimited free recording time by Mayall as a thank you for their service. The music they were making was magical, the three of them aware that something special was occurring. One of the songs they recorded was titled ‘Fleetwood Mac’ by Peter Green as an ode to the rhythm section and that was the beginning of a journey that is still going strong today, even in a completely different fashion to how it began.
These sessions gave Green the courage to ask Fleetwood to form a breakaway band, to which he obliged but even calling the band Fleetwood Mac couldn’t initially convince McVie to take the gamble with them, although he shortly came round within a couple of months. They then recruited slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning with the latter joining on the proviso he leaves when McVie finally agrees.
Their debut show in Windsor was one of the very few shows they played with Brunning and saw the then blues band treat the English audience to a seven-song set which contained three Elmore James covers as well as four original tracks including ‘Fleetwood Mac’.
“Peter could have been the stereotypical superstar guitar player and control freak, but that wasn’t his style. He named the band after the bass player and drummer, for Christ’s sake. He was also always willing to give as much space and creative freedom to other members, like guitarist Jeremy Spencer, and songwriter Danny Kirwan, at the expense of his own creativity,” Mick Fleetwood told the Irish Times in 2017.
It was Peter Green’s unselfish nature which made Fleetwood Mac this entity which allowed all of the members to thrive, one which led to this unstoppable force that would go on to conquer the world with this show at Windsor being the beginning of a truly amazing tale that we wouldn’t have had without Green’s initial vision.
Listen to their cover of Elmore James’ ‘Talk To Me Baby’ from their very first show, below.