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Reviewed by Steve Leshin for Readers' Favorite
Playing in the Rain (Lindsey Buckingham & Fleetwood Mac) by Tyler Martin Sehnal is an absorbing take on one of the most celebrated rock bands of the last 40 years. The author uses his knowledge of the band and, in particular, Lindsey Buckingham to piece together an informative and engrossing analysis of the band’s dysfunctional nature as well as its musical genius. Fleetwood Mac began in the 1960s as primarily a blues band featuring Peter Green, who we later learn had to leave the band due to severe mental health issues. Enter Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who started out as a musical duo called “Buckingham Nicks”. We learn how the couple, both professionally and personally, came to join Fleetwood Mac to give the group a new dynamic that has carried it to rock and roll royalty from the 1970s to present day. The group's ups and downs with drug addiction, creative differences and personal troubles are discussed in some detail by the author.
The writing style for Playing in the Rain is clear cut and the chapter headings help define the changes over the years with references to certain song titles, as well as the dysfunction between band members Buckingham, Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, and John McVie. As a casual fan of Fleetwood Mac, I only heard rumors (pun intended) of the group's infighting, personal love spats, and resentments. Sehnal provides us with more detail about this, as well as his take on the inner workings of Fleetwood Mac, focusing on Lindsey Buckingham as the one mainly responsible for the group’s success with albums like “Rumours”, “Tango in the Night”, and “Tusk”, which he apparently produced, despite his obsessive compulsiveness and at times strange behavior. There is an open debate with Fleetwood Mac fans who argue that Stevie Nicks is equally responsible for the group's success. The love affair and subsequent breakup of Nicks and Buckingham are covered, as well as their battles about control of Fleetwood Mac. A good read for any fan of this iconic group.