It’s a weird time to be a Fleetwood Mac fan. First, Lindsey Buckingham gets fired from the long-running band and replaced by Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers. Next, the drama intensifies with Lindsey’s claim that Stevie Nicks got him the boot so he’s filed a lawsuit against his ex-bandmates for breach of contract. Are we surprised? Not really. Buckingham’s always followed his own particular muse, whether it’s on his eclectic solo albums (on which he plays most of the instruments) or the joint record he cut last year with former bandmate Christine McVie. With Lindsey embarking on a new tour supporting the release of a collection of his best tunes, the brilliant singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist is finally getting the individual credit he deserves. Here are 10 songs that prove Lindsey will be just fine going his own way without The Mac.
10. “Slow Dancing,” Go Insane (1984)
Buckingham channels a late-night disco vibe with this New Wave head-bopper that deserved nightclub recognition along the lines of Duran Duran and Art of Noise. A treat for fans of the earnest songwriter’s poppier side, “Slow Dancing” suggest an alternate universe where the Fleetwood Mac frontman became an electronic dancehall favorite.
9. “Did You Miss Me,” Gift of Screws (2008)
The 2008 album Gift of Screws features songs Buckingham originally penned for an aborted ‘90s solo outing and for Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 record Say You Will. The result is a mix of Buckingham’s signature propulsive pop-rock tinged with some knock-out acoustic gems. The album was a family affair for Lindsey as son Will and wife Kristen share songwriting duties. The yearning, guitar-driven rocker “Did You Miss Me” especially proves Lindsey can make beautiful music that isn’t about an ex-lover “packin’ and shackin’ up.”
8. “Shut Us Down,” Under the Skin (2006)
Under the Skin found Buckingham returning to his acoustic roots with a low-key stunner of an album that followed Fleetwood Mac’s successful comeback tours and albums. The gorgeous “Shut Us Down,” featured in the Cameron Crowe movie Elizabethtown, recalls Buckingham’s iconic Rumours track “Never Going Back Again” with its intimate guitar picking and raw, emotional vocals.
7. “In Our Own Time,” Seeds We Sow (2011)
Shimmering guitars and soaring harmonies highlight this track from Buckingham’s most recent solo album, which the singer-songwriter recorded and produced in his home studio. The thrilling live versions of the song are a sad reminder of the passion that will be missing from Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming Lindsey-less tour.
6. “Time Bomb Town,” Back to the Future Soundtrack (1985)
Lindsey’s other contribution to a beloved ‘80s movie soundtrack is just as catchy as his classic National Lampoon’s Vacation theme. Playing multiple instruments on the track, Buckingham delivers a moody, calypso-inflected tune perfectly suited to Marty McFly’s wild adventures through time.
5. “Time Precious Time,” Gift of Screws (2008)
This earworm is a showcase for Lindsey’s signature finger-picking style. Amid gorgeous rising and falling melodies, Buckingham sings about time slipping through his fingers until it all builds to an abrupt ending, reminding us that we’re all on a ticking clock and that Lindsey Buckingham can create a haunting masterpiece with little more than his voice and six strings.
4. “Don’t Look Down,” Out of the Cradle (1992)
With its jangly guitar and call-and-response vocals, this catchy song from Lindsey’s third solo album sounds like a lost track from Tusk. Out of the Cradle was Buckingham’s first album after his departure from Fleetwood Mac in 1987. Lyrically, Lindsey delves inward on a folk-rock driven song cycle that sets the tone for future solo albums.
3. “Holiday Road,” National Lampoon’s Vacation Soundtrack (1983)
One of two songs Buckingham performed on the National Lampoon’s Vacation soundtrack (“Dancin’ Across the USA” is the other), “Holiday Road” has become the official theme song of this beloved comedy franchise. The bouncy track inspired numerous cover versions and continues to pop up today in commercials as well as the recent Vacation reboot. It’s also the best song to feature a chorus of barking dogs.
2. “Trouble,” Law and Order (1981)
Law and Order saw Lindsey experimenting with punk and New Wave. Mick Fleetwood performs the drum loop on “Trouble,” and appears in the video alongside former Fleetwood Mac member Bob Welch. But the rest is all Lindsey, including harmonies crafted in his home studio. The result was a Top 10 hit — proof that Lindsey could create breezy, romantic pop without Stevie Nicks or Christine McVie.
1. “Go Insane,” Go Insane (1984)
Lindsey scored another hit with this paranoid, synth-heavy jam from his second solo album. While the album delves into his break-up with ex-girlfriend Carol Ann Harris (who penned a tell-all about her time with Fleetwood Mac), Lindsey has claimed that this title track nods to his tumultuous relationship with Stevie Nicks. With its galloping keyboards and vocals that sound like the result of an all-night booze and cocaine bender circa 1984, the track perfectly sums up Buckingham’s solo output – edgy and unpredictable, while still retaining an undeniable pop sheen.
Photo Credit: Honoree Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on January 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)