Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac appeared at High Wycombe Town Hall on Tuesday 20th August 1968. Some 50 years later, at the point of publication of this article, the name Fleetwood Mac is linked with legendary rock n’ roll status. However, back in 1968 they were a far different band compared to what they would evolve into during their world concurring success of the 1970’s and 1980’s – they were also embarking on a 50th anniversary tour at the time of this post!
A quick look at their history has guitarist Peter Green forming the band in London in 1967 along with fellow guitarist Jeremy Spencer and drummer Mick Fleetwood. They soon added John McVie on bass as they took their initial steps on the road as a traditional rhythm n’ blues outfit – a combination of the band members names made up the title of the band. The foursome recorded their first album between April and December 1967 and the self-titled work was released in February 1968 and reached No.4 in the UK charts. A second album, ‘Mr Wonderful’ was recorded in April 1968 and released at the time of the Town Hall date in August 1968.
It was also around the time of the Town Hall date that they had recruited a further guitarist in the form of Danny Kirwan. It’s at this point that it’s worth mentioning that an early rehearsal and gigging venue for the band was The Nag’s Head in Battersea, South London. Kirwan’s live debut with the band is documented in many recognised biographies as August 1968 at this Battersea venue. However, the nature of the internet has seen some printed and online articles turn this into a performance at the equally famous Nag’s Head in High Wycombe. It’s not inconceivable that Fleetwood Mac did play the Nag’s Head in High Wycombe but during my research of the local High Wycombe press, I have found no evidence of them playing the London Road venue and Ron Watts’ autobiography makes no reference to Fleetwood Mac either.
Having said that, I was delighted to find an advert in the Bucks Free Press for the 20th August 1968 at one of the regular Tuesday evening dances at the Town Hall, High Wycombe, with Fleetwood Mac described as ‘The Biggest Drawing BLUES BAND in the County’. The date doesn’t appear to be documented elsewhere on the internet, so hopefully people with far more knowledge of the band than I’ve been able to piece together in the time available, will be able to corroborate.
Also interesting to note that a few days after the Town Hall gig, Fleetwood Mac played an open air concert at Hyde Park, London. The free concert took place on Saturday 24th August 1968 with Family headlining, supported by Fairport Convention, Roy Harper, Peter Sarstedt, Ten Years After and Fleetwood Mac.
Fleetwood Mac’s set-list at the time included: ‘Need Your Love So Bad’, ‘I Believe I’ll Dust my Broom’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’ – the latter becoming a massive hit for Santana in 1970. Fleetwood Mac’s first major hit, ‘Albatross’ was still at the writing stage but would be recorded in October 1968 and released the following month. In between those times it also appears the band returned to the Town Hall on Tuesday 8th October 1968 – again billed as ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’.
Where you at any of these gigs to see the legends in the making?
For your listening and viewing pleasure
Need Your Love So Bad – Fleetwood Mac – Dutch TV 1968
Black Magic Woman – Fleetwood Mac – Single audio March 1968