Lindsey Adams Buckingham was born on October 3, 1949, near Palo Alto, California. He is the youngest of three boys, born to Morris and Rutheda Buckingham. Lindsey's dad owned a coffee factory in the Atherton area.
As a kid, Lindsey and his brothers loved to swim at his father's country club. His older brother Greg was such an extraordinary swimming talent that he won a silver medal at the 1968 Olympics.
As far as music concerns, Lindsey Buckingham was 7 years old when he took his first steps into the music business. While listening to his brother Jeff's records, he tried to play along on his Mickey Mouse toy guitar. He taught himself the melody and the tune of Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" and some other songs. Impressed by his playing potential, his parents bought him his first real guitar.
Around the age of thirteen, Lindsey began to fall in love with the acoustic/folk sound of "The Kingston Trio". (That's where he picked up his unusual fingerpicking style from -- a style of play that is commonly used in the folk music).
Lindsey attended Menlo-Atherton High School and played varsity on their water polo team. His playing prowess resulted in a scholarship offer to College. In his senior year, Lindsey met Stevie Nicks at a youth group meeting. They later formed a group, after Stevie had already left the school, called "The Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band" (or simply "Fritz") together with fellow students Calvin Roper and Javier Pacheco. But Lindsey didn't play guitar in the band -- he played bass.
"I started playing guitar first of all when I was about eight, because my older brother used to bring home all the Elvis records, Buddy Holly, the old Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis. Then I got into folk stuff and acoustic fingerpicking. When I got into rock and roll again I couldn't play screaming lead, which is why they put me on bass in Fritz. I never took guitar lessons; I don't read music."
Fritz had no problem getting gigs in the bay area. In fact, they opened for such big name acts at the time as Janis Joplin. In 1971, however, Fritz disbanded and Lindsey and Stevie (who were a romantic couple by this time) decided to go on as a duo. Stevie quit San Jose State College where she was studying communications and the duo of "Buckingham Nicks" was born.
In 1972, Lindsey and Stevie used an inheritance of Lindsey's to start work on some demos. Lindsey bought an Ampex 4-track and his dad let them use a tiny little room in his office plant as a make-shift recording studio. It was a cramped space to work in and according to Stevie it took them an entire year to record just seven songs. When they finally finished recording the tracks, they hopped into Lindsey's car and drove to LA, only to have record company they approached pass on them. They were devastated but felt they were simply 'too good' to just give up on their dream.
Lindsey and Stevie's fortunes changed when they were signed to Polydor Records in 1973. Keith Olsen ended up engineering the songs they recorded in the coffee factory and the "Buckingham/Nicks" album was released. Unfortunately though, the pair was dropped from Polydor soon after. "Buckingham/Nicks", although never released on cd, has since become a cult must-have for Buckingham Nicks fans
After losing what little money they had invested in the project, Lindsey and Stevie then moved in with Richard Dashut (who later produced several Mac and Lindsey albums). Lindsey worked on some new material while Stevie cleaned Keith Olsen's house and worked as a waitress. They went into the studio again with Keith Olsen to work on more Buckingham/Nicks material.
Mick Fleetwood had been checking out sound studios in California and happened to stop into Keith Olsen's place for a look-see. Keith was demonstrating to Mick the quality of the sound that his studio could produce by playing Lindsey and Stevie's track "Frozen Love", from the Buckingham Nicks album. Recently losing Bob Welch from his band, Mick had made a decision. He wanted this guy he heard on "Frozen Love" (Lindsey Buckingham) as the replacement guitarist for Fleetwood Mac. The wheels of fate were turning fast and furious.
Lindsey talked to Mick and explained very clearly to him that he and Stevie were a package deal. Meanwhile, Lindsey and Stevie bought every Fleetwood Mac album and listened to them from front to back, back to front weighing the pros and cons of joining the band . Lindsey liked the bands emphasis on guitar and the whole Peter Green thing and Stevie was drawn to the mystical side of Fleetwood Mac. On New Years Eve in 1974, Keith Olsen called Lindsey and told him that Mick Fleetwood wanted the two of them to join Fleetwood Mac. They accepted Mick's offer and were on cloud nine. They started rehearsals with the band a week later, starting recording four weeks later, finished the album in three months, and then they were on the road. It was that quick.
In 1975, the Fleetwood Mac "White Album" is released and, almost overnight, propelled the band to super-stardom. Lindsey contributed several stellar tracks including "Monday Morning", a country-ish cover of a song called "Blue Letter", and the classic "I"m So Afraid" The Buckingham Nicks song "Crystal", originally on their Polydor LP, also made its way onto the album.
When Fleetwood Mac went into the studio in 1976 to record the follow-up to the "White Album", little did they know that their next project ("Rumours") would become such a phenomenon. The material they were producing was extraordinary but the tensions within the band were equally monumental. Christine and John McVie were splitting up, Mick was in the middle of a divorce and Lindsey and Stevie's relationship was also on the rocks. Lindsey, Stevie, and Christine were all writing great songs but they were all writing great songs about their crumbling relationships. It was not a pleasant working environment. Lindsey had his own share of angst to write about, penning Mac classics like "Go Your Own Way" (pointedly directed at Stevie), "Never Going Back Again", and "Second Hand News".
The "Rumours" tour took Lindsey and Stevie to Europe and Australia for the first time along with the rest of the band. The tour lasted over a year during which time Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood became romantically involved -- a situation that Lindsey was not aware of until Mick had a one on one with him and fessed up. The Mick and Stevie relationship didn't last very long, but it lasted long enough to end Lindseys relationship with Stevie -- seemingly for good.
After the mammoth success of Rumours, Lindsey decided that he didn't want to make Rumours II (although it was probably quite tempting at the time). As a result of his desire to experiment creatively and break the Rumours mold, the band spent the next thirteen months recording their next LP "Tusk". Lindsey is largely considered to have been the creative force behind the double albu. Several of his tracks ended up on the release including like "The Ledge", "Save Me A Place", "Not That Funny", and "What Makes You Think You're The One" among others. A year-long worldwide tour followed which resulted in "Fleetwood Mac Live" -- an album which contained live tracks culled from prior tours. Interestingly, a live re-recording of a Buckingham Nicks-era track called "Don't Let Me Down Again" also ended up on the LP. Another worldwide tour followed which ended in the fall. Fleetwood Mac, as a band, cleared needed a break
By this time Lindsey had already started working with other artists such as John Stewart of The Kingston Trio (his favoirte band) and a New Yorker named Walter Egan. His relationship with Walter in particular was interesting because they both were big fans and followers of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Lindsey's admiratrion of Brian's talent is evident in much of his work.
In the meantime, Stevie Nicks had decided to release a solo album. "Bella Donna" which proved to be quite successful commercially. Lindsey's first solo project would follow soon after.
"Law And Order", was released in the States in October 1981 and in Europe one month later. Lindsey had started to work on the album in Burbank shortly after the completion of the "Tusk" tour. By that summer, he was spending time at Wally Heider's recording studios where he was joined by producer Richard Dashut. Not only was Lindsey busy with his own album, but he was also recording songs for the next Fleetwood Mac album "Mirage".
Lindsey wrote most of the tracks on "Law and Order" himself but he did get some musical help in the studio from Christine McVie on "Shadow Of The West" and Mick Fleetwood on "Trouble". Speaking of Mick, Lindsey's song "Bwana" was said to be a loving parody of Mick's "The Visitor" solo project. And "Johnny Stew” was about John Stewart just as Stewart’s song “Liddy Buck” was about Lindsey. Lindsey's girlfriend at the time, Carol Ann Harris, also contributed harmony vocals to the album on "It Was I" (a cover song from the 50's which was the second single in the U.S.).
Although "Law And Order" didn't become quite as commercially successful as Stevie's "Bella Donna", it did produce a top ten single in the States, "Trouble" with "Mary Lee Jones" as the B-side. The European version of the LP unfortunately didn't sell as well and had "That's How We Do It In LA" as its b-side. Lindsey would later use the ending guitar phrases from that track on the Nick Reynolds & John Stewart song “Hiding in the Shadows” from the EP “Revenge of the Budgie”. In the UK, Lindsey's record company released "Bwana" as the second single, which probably would have been a better choice in the States also. While in the USA it stayed with those two singles, in the UK "Mary Lee Jones" / "September Song" was released as third single.
By the time this third single was released, Lindsey's mind seemed to already be moving on to other things, such as promoting the forthcoming Fleetwood Mac "Mirage" album and tour. He also recorded two songs for the "National Lampoon's Vacation" soundtrack (Holiday Road and Dancing Across The USA). Although "Holiday Road" was considered by many to be one of Lindsey's most commercially-accessible singles, it didn't sell as well as he and his fans would have liked. Lindsey also played accordion on Linda Ronstadt’s version of Kate & Annie McGargle’s version of “Talk to me of Mendicino” that appeared on her 1982 album “Get Closer”. Lindsey Buckingham was a very busy man.
"Go Insane", his second solo album, came out in 1984 and featured classics like "Go Insane", "Slow Dancing", and "Loving Cup" -- not to mention "D.W. Suite" which was a tribute to Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.Then Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac to record 1987's "Tango In The Night" contributing some tracks to the LP that he had originally intended on putting on his third solo album. Some of those tracks include "Big Love", "You And I", and "Family Man". Even though Lindsey contributed some tracks to Tango he decided against touring with them and left the band seemingly for good. He did end up guesting on a song each from the next two Fleetwood Mac albums "Behind The Mask" and "Time" but his participation on those albums could best be described as minimal
After leaving Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey released his third solo album in 1992, "Out of the Cradle" which proved to be the most critically acclaimed Buckingham solo album of them all. Fans of Lindsey's Dance-era song “Bleed to Love Her” note that he re-used a verse from the Out of the Cradle song "You Do Or You Don't" on that track. Another Lindsey song, "Wrong", was written about Mick and his stinging allegations in his autobiography that Lindsey had abused Stevie on August 5, 1987 at Christine's house. "All my sorrows” was a tribute to Dave Guard of the Kingston Trio who had passed away.
Though rejoining Fleetwood Mac in early 1993 for a one off show at US President Bill Clinton’s inauguration ball, Lindsey
continued to work on fourth solo album until working with Stevie Nicks on “Twisted” in 1996 (for the “Twister" soundtrack album). Then, while working with Mick Fleetwood on his "Gift of Screws" (tentative title) project, the entire band miraculously reunited for a highly successful 'reunion' album, tour and DVD called "The Dance". Although largely considered a reunion album, Lindsey did contribute a couple of new songs to the project ("My Little Demon and "Bleed To Love Her"). It was 1997 and the "Rumours" lineup was finally together again and touring .
In February 2000, Lindsey Buckingham finally married -- wedding the lovely Kristen Messner, a former photographer. She has given him three beautiful children William Gregory (born July 8, 1998 ), Lee Lee (born July 15, 2000), and Stella (born April 20, 2004). It's great to see Lindsey so happy and so at peace.
Then, in 2003, Lindsey got back together with his Fleetwood Mac bandmates (sans Christine McVie) and recorded 2003's Say You Will. That wonderful album gave fans an exhaustive 18-month World Tour which finally came to a bittersweet end on September 14, 2004.
In 2005, Lindsey contributed a track called "Shut Us Down" to Cameron Crowe's 2005's Elizabethtown Soundtrack. His PBS Soundstage Special was also a big hit with fans and aired in the Fall of 2005. A DVD release followed on November 8, 2005.
Lindsey toured throughout part of 2006 and most of 2007 promoting his "Under The Skin" CD, treating his grateful fanbase to a long-overdue solo tour. He also appeared on CMT's "Crossroads" with "Little Big Town" and performed a duet with Carrie Underwood at September's "Fashion Rocks" show in Manhattan.
Lindsey then took the road in the fall of 2008 to support his long-awaited "Gift of Screws" cd. What a treat this was for the die-hards that had been waiting for
this release for what seemed like an eternity.
Lindsey Buckingham is clearly a genius and clearly beloved by fans. His studio wizardry and brilliant production literally made Rumours and Tusk the iconic albums they are seen as today. We look forward to seeing him live whenever he decides to start touring again!
Research by: Jan Freedland, John Fitzgerald, and Jessica Sneed
Written by: Jan Freedland and John Fitzgerald
If you have any interesting facts or insights that you'd like to add to Lindsey's bio, please drop us a line.