Mike Campbell, Neil Finn: Fleetwood Mac History

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Mike Campbell and Tom Petty at Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, June 16, 2017 (Photo: Greg Brodsky)

Now that the initial shock of the April 9 news that Fleetwood Mac has parted ways with Lindsey Buckingham, replacing him with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers lead guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House’s Neil Finn, it’s time to explore the pair’s previous relationship with the band’s members.

Campbell first teamed with Petty in Gainesville, Fla. with the band Mudcrutch, the precursor to the Heartbreakers. After relocating to Los Angeles, Petty, Campbell and Mudcrutch keyboardist Benmont Tench formed Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, with Ron Blair (bass guitar) and Stan Lynch (drums).

In the ensuing years, as the band flourished, so did Campbell’s role as the lead guitarist and as one of the band’s producers and, with Petty, a prominent songwriter. With Petty, Campbell co-wrote the first track, “Rockin’ Around (With You),” that appears on Side A of their 1976 self-titled debut. From there he co-authored  such TPATH favorites as “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” among many others.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band in 2002.

Thanks to Stevie Nicks’ longstanding collaboration with TP, she and Campbell have shared the stage plenty of times. It appears that the most recent occasion was the Heartbreakers’ 2017 headlining performance at the British Summer Time series in London’s Hyde Park on July 9, when Nicks joined her longtime pals. On that occasion, she and Petty sang their huge 1981 hit, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” The song’s co-writers? Petty and Campbell. Read our coverage of that 2017 concert here.

In 2011, Nicks told the audience at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre: “You know I am an honorary Heartbreaker. It took me 30 years…”

Watch Campbell join Nicks for her 2011 single, “For What It’s Worth”

Campbell, who turned 68 on Feb. 1, has a long-running side project, The Dirty Knobs, who have dates scheduled for the summer. In light of the recent news, it’s not known whether he’ll still participate with them.

Neil Finn in 2013 via his Facebook page

As for Neil Finn, the guitarist and vocalist co-founded the New Zealand-based Split Enz with his brother, Tim, and one other member, in 1973. Years later, they scored a hit with 1980’s “I Got You.” In 1985, having relocated to Australia, Finn formed classic rock band Crowded House who ironically fared better in the U.S. than they did Down Under. Their 1986 self-titled debut yielded two big singles: “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (#2) and “Something So Strong” (#7). All told, the band released six studio albums, including two reunion LPs. They celebrated a 30th anniversary with several dates in 2016. Finn, who turns 60 on May 27, released a solo album as recently as 2017.

In the April 9 announcement of the lineup changes, Mick Fleetwood said: “We jammed with Mike and Neil and the chemistry really worked.” And there’s a family history, too. Fleetwood sat in with Finn’s son, Liam, in 2016 to perform Fleetwood Mac’s “Need Your Love So Bad.”

Watch Crowded House’s big hit


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