My fandom with Fleetwood Mac began several years ago now, and while I’m not quite as obsessed as I was upon my discovery of their music, they’ll always be one of my favorite bands in one of my favorite genres of music. One might argue their true heyday was in the late 1970s to early 1980s, but they maintain a firm foothold in the American musical repertoire, still receiving consistent air time on the radio with classics like, Dreams and Don’t Stop, notably from their hit 1977 album, Rumours.

Outside of some outstanding music, Fleetwood Mac has remained on the pop culture radar with their dramatic breakups and reunions, still relevant today with guitarist and lead vocalist, Lindsay Buckingham’s firing in 2018. According to Stevie Nicks, he wasn’t willing to tour until 2019, which the rest of the band deemed as unacceptable. Whether or not that is entirely true or the full story, the move once again revealed the lifetime of tension in the band, particularly between Nicks and Buckingham.

I was lucky enough to see the Mac sans Christine McVie in 2013, and again in 2014 when she returned from a nine year hiatus. It was incredible. Still, after listening to studio album tracks and watching the music videos on repeat, I couldn’t help but notice their aging. I adore Stevie Nicks but her range is substantially limited to days of yore. I’d argue the same for Christine. But Lindsey’s virtuoso guitar playing and vocals were just as strong as they were decades ago when I saw them live four years ago.

That said, the recent announcement on Instagram of Lindsey’s emergency open heart surgery, which may have permanently damaged his vocal chords, was definitely a shock.

“Late last week Lindsey Buckingham experienced severe chest pains and was taken to the hospital where he subsequently underwent emergency open heart surgery. It’s with great relief and thankful hearts that we report the surgery was successful in its purpose. Unfortunately, the life-saving procedure caused vocal cord damage, the permanency of which is unclear. Lindsey is slowly recovering at home with the support of his wife and children.”

Lindsey and his wife Kristen, post-surgery

It really made me sad for him, as one could never doubt his passion for music. To have potentially lost an instrument as integral to his career as his voice is devastating. And he looks so weak in this photo as opposed to the energetic and boundless star on the stage that I remember watching in awe. I feel very sympathetic to him and can’t help but wonder if Stevie and the rest of the group regret ousting him for the band that to me, is half without him.

For some reason, seeing such an admired talent suffering like this hit home for me in terms of being aware of my own mortality. It also makes me think about my dad who has been rendered essentially disabled by his back issues and he is no longer to do his passions (fishing, hunting, painting, etc.). Lindsey’s family, like my own, suffers from heart disease, with his father and brother being taken by it far too young. I’m so glad that I’m being proactive in handling my high cholesterol because many with genetic high cholesterol have no symptoms until it’s too late and they’re hit by a heart attack or stroke.

At some point, the Mac will lose a member due to old age and the plethora of health issues that can come along with it. It’s inevitable. It will truly be an end of an era and all I can say is that I am glad that I went to see them before it was too late!

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