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If you plan to see Fleetwood Mac's fall 2018 tour, be prepared not to see one of its most iconic members. The band fired Lindsey Buckingham, 68, the powerhouse guitarist and singer of some of their most popular songs, replacing him on the tour with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House. It's likely to be a hot ticket anyway, judging from the group’s 2014-2015 tour, which grossed almost $200 million; its two 2017 shows with the Eagles, which grossed $34 million; and the fact that its first No. 1 record, "Dreams," hit the Billboard charts again this year after 41 years.
“Lindsey Buckingham will not be performing with the band on this tour,” Fleetwood Mac said in a collective statement. “The band wishes Lindsey all the best.” The statement did not offer a reason for Buckingham’s departure, but you can hear some of the underlying stresses by listening to the band's music. The songs on 1977's Rumours, the second-bestselling album in history, are largely about the five bandmembers' acrimony while splitting up with each other (or in band founder Mick Fleetwood's case, with Jenny Boyd, who inspired Donovan's "Jennifer Juniper"). In "Dreams," Stevie Nicks, now 69, sang about her breakup with Buckingham, her boyfriend and songwriting partner since high school. And "Go Your Own Way" is Buckingham's bitter kiss-off to Nicks, who called the song "angry, nasty, and extremely disrespectful," and said working with Buckingham was like "being a hostage in Iran and, to an extent, Lindsey was the Ayatollah."
There is no telling what the cause of strife was this time, but Fleetwood Mac has survived many other feuds, breakups, and revolving lineups over the decades. Buckingham quit the band's 1987 tour, rejoined in 1996, and was inducted with the rest of the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Along with Campbell and Finn, fans can still expect to see the rest of the “gang of five” — the most recognizable Fleetwood Mac lineup, which includes Nicks; drummer Fleetwood, 70; bassist John McVie, 72; and singer Christine McVie, 74. Dates for the upcoming tour will be released shortly. Fifty-one years after Fleetwood Mac began, its popularity and volatility remain anything but "Second Hand News" (to quote another Buckingham-penned Fleetwood Mac hit about his romantic woes).