This Day in 1993: Fleetwood Mac play Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Ball

Thursday, January 19, 2017
This Day in 1993: Fleetwood Mac play Bill Clinton’s Inaugural Ball

24 years ago today, the members of Fleetwood Mac’s classic ‘70s / ‘80s lineup put aside the differences that had led them to split in the wake of 1987’s TANGO IN THE NIGHT and reunited to perform at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inaugural ball.

That Fleetwood Mac were considered as possible performers for the event was no surprise, given that Clinton had utilized their song “Don’t Stop” for his campaign, but the fact that they actually agreed to do it was somewhat surprising. In his book Fleetwood Mac on Fleetwood Mac: Interviews and Encounters, author Sean Egan suggested a simple explanation: “When the president asks, one doesn’t really say no.” (Boy, times sure have changed…)

“I didn’t feel overly connected to any of it, really,” Lindsey Buckingham told Westword back in 1993. “It was short and sweet. There were a lot of questions about whether this suggested a long-term reunion, and those were quickly put to rest by me. And that was it.”

“It was a one-off thing, and I don’t think anyone thought much beyond that show,” Christine McVie told the Houston Press in 1997. “At the airport as we left to come back to L.A., it was pretty much, ‘Well, see you around…’”

Indeed, when Fleetwood Mac released their next album – 1995’s TIME– the band’s lineup was still sans Buckingham, and this time Stevie Nicks was absent as well. “At the inauguration, I just realized I wanted it to be back the way it was, or I didn’t want to be in it anymore,” Nicks told the Houston Press. “For me, it made me realize that it had to be that five, or it couldn’t be. I couldn’t continue to be in a Fleetwood Mac that didn’t have Lindsey in it.”

As such, the lyrics of the LP’s next-to-last song, “All Over Again,” seemingly found McVie delivering a eulogy to her own time with the band.

Well, it's time to say goodnight
And finally turn out the light
How do I say in some simple way
How much you have been on my mind
But I have to let you go
It's time to move on, don't you know
But you can rely on a love that won't die
For haven't I told you so
So let's stop before it's too late
And leave it all up to the fates
Cause in spite of the heartaches
And troubles in love
I'd do it all over
Do it all over again

And so she did: Fleetwood Mac did, in fact, dissolve after TIME, but in 1997, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood got back together and toured the world and elsewhere. Can that reunion be attributed to the band’s reunion at the inauguration? Not specifically, but it sure didn’t hurt.