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John McVie
McVie in 2018
McVie in 2018
Background information
Birth nameJohn Graham McVie
Born (1945-11-26) 26 November 1945 (age 77)
Ealing, Middlesex, England
Genres Rock, blues
Instrument(s) Bass guitar
Years active1963–present
Labels Reprise, Blue Horizon
Member of Fleetwood Mac
Formerly of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

John Graham McVie (born 26 November 1945) [1] is a British bass guitarist. He is best known as a member of the rock bands John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers from 1964 to 1967 and Fleetwood Mac since 1967. His surname, combined with that of Mick Fleetwood, was the inspiration for the band's name.

He joined Fleetwood Mac shortly after its formation by guitarist Peter Green in 1967, replacing temporary bass guitarist Bob Brunning. McVie and Fleetwood are the only two members of the group to appear on every Fleetwood Mac release, and for over fifty years have been the group's last remaining original (or almost original in McVie's case) members.

In 1968, McVie married blues pianist and singer Christine Perfect, who became a member of Fleetwood Mac two years later. John and Christine McVie divorced in 1976, but remained on good terms. During this time the band recorded the album Rumours, a major artistic and commercial success that borrowed its title from the turmoil in McVie's and other band members' marriages and relationships.

McVie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac.

Early life

John Graham McVie was born in Ealing, west London, to Reg and Dorothy McVie and attended Walpole Grammar School. He says that he did have a sister, but she died when she was very young. [2] John McVie started playing the trumpet at an early age then at age 14, McVie began playing the guitar in local bands, covering songs by The Shadows. [3] He soon realised that his friends were learning lead guitar so he decided to play the bass guitar instead. Initially he just removed the top two (B and E) strings from his guitar to play the bass parts until his father bought him a pink Fender bass guitar, [3] the same as that used by McVie's major early musical influence Jet Harris, The Shadows' bass player. McVie was in 3J class with Roger Warwick, a baritone sax player who had studied under Don Rendell and was to emerge in the London rock-jazz scene. Their teacher, Mr Howell (a pianist), although not really appreciating this "funny" music, was intelligent and open-minded enough to give pupils space and time to use school facilities to practise and listen to the new wave.[ citation needed]

Soon after leaving school at 17, McVie trained for nine months to be a tax inspector. This coincided with the start of his musical career. [4]


McVie's first experience making music with a group of like minds was in the back room of a house in Lammas Park Road, Ealing, with his long term friends John Barnes and Peter Barnes who later went on to form a group called The Strangers performing Shadows covers.

McVie's first job as a bass player was in a band called the Krewsaders, formed by boys living in the same street as McVie in Ealing, West London. The Krewsaders played mainly at weddings and parties, covering songs from The Shadows. [5]

McVie is listed at number 37 on Rolling Stone's list of 50 greatest bassists.

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

Around the time of McVie's tenure as a tax inspector, John Mayall began forming a Chicago-style blues band, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Initially Mayall wanted to recruit bass player Cliff Barton of the Cyril Davies All Stars for the rhythm section of his new band. Barton declined, however, but gave him McVie's phone number, urging Mayall to give the talented young bass player a chance in the Bluesbreakers. [5] Mayall contacted McVie, and asked him to audition for his band. Soon thereafter, McVie got an offer to play bass in the Bluesbreakers. McVie accepted while still holding down his daytime job for a further nine months before becoming a musician full-time. [6] Under Mayall's tutelage, McVie, not having had any formal training in music, learned to play the blues mainly by listening to B.B. King and Willie Dixon records given to him by Mayall. McVie was the band's bassist for four and a half years. During that time he was fired and re-hired several times. One of his temporary replacements was Jack Bruce. [5]

Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood

In 1966, a young Peter Green was asked to join Mayall's Bluesbreakers as the band's new lead guitar player, after Eric Clapton, the third guitarist with the band (after Bernie Watson and then Roger Dean), had left. Some time later, after the recording of A Hard Road, drummer Aynsley Dunbar was replaced by Mick Fleetwood. Green, McVie, and Fleetwood quickly forged a strong personal relationship, and when John Mayall gave Green some free studio time for his birthday, Green asked McVie and Fleetwood to join him for a recording session. Produced by Mike Vernon, they recorded three tracks together, "Curly", "Rubber Duck", and an instrumental called "Fleetwood Mac". [7] Later the same year, after having been replaced by Mick Taylor in the Bluesbreakers, Green opted to form his own band, which he called "Fleetwood Mac" after his preferred rhythm section (Fleetwood and McVie). Mick Fleetwood immediately joined Green's new band, having been dismissed earlier from the Bluesbreakers for drunkenness. However, McVie initially was reluctant to join Fleetwood Mac, not wanting to leave the security and well-paid job in the Bluesbreakers, forcing Green to temporarily hire a bassist named Bob Brunning. A few weeks later McVie changed his mind, however, as he felt that The Bluesbreakers musical direction were shifting too much towards jazz, and he joined Fleetwood Mac in September 1967. [8]

Fleetwood Mac

McVie with Fleetwood Mac, 18 March 1970

With McVie now in Fleetwood Mac, the band recorded its first album, Fleetwood Mac, in the following months. The album was released in February 1968, and became an immediate national hit, establishing Fleetwood Mac as a major part in the English Blues movement. [3] Fleetwood Mac started playing live gigs in blues clubs and pubs throughout England, and became a household name in the national blues circuit. In the next three years, the band scored a string of hits in the UK and also enjoyed success in continental Europe.

Christine Perfect

While on tour, Fleetwood Mac would often share venues with fellow blues band Chicken Shack. It was on one such occasion that McVie met his future first wife, the lead singer and piano player of Chicken Shack, Christine Perfect. Following a brief romance of, it has been said, only two weeks, McVie and Perfect got married with Peter Green as best man. With the couple being unable to spend much time together because of the constant touring with their bands, Christine (now McVie) quit Chicken Shack to become a housewife to spend more time with John. [9] However, following the departure of Peter Green from Fleetwood Mac in 1970, McVie successfully persuaded Christine to join him in Fleetwood Mac.

International success and personal life

McVie live with Fleetwood Mac on 3 March 2009 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After 1970, Fleetwood Mac went through several different line-ups, which occasionally became the source of friction and unease within the band. In addition, frequent touring as well as his heavy drinking began to put some strain on his marriage to Christine. In 1974, the McVies, along with the other members of Fleetwood Mac, moved to Los Angeles, where they lived briefly with John Mayall. [10] In 1975, Fleetwood Mac achieved enormous worldwide success after recruiting American singer-songwriter duo Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. However, on the heels of the band's success followed serious marital problems for the McVies, and in 1976, during the recording of Rumours, John and Christine McVie's marriage unravelled and the couple divorced the same year. As a way to put behind the hurt and final dissolution, several of Christine's songs on this album were about John McVie, particularly " Don't Stop". [11] John McVie remarried in 1978 to Julie Ann Reubens, but still continued to drink heavily.

In 1981, McVie agreed to go on the road with the Bluesbreakers again for their reunion tour with John Mayall, Mick Taylor, and Colin Allen. During 1982 the band toured America, Asia and Australia (John McVie did not take part in the European Tour in 1983 and was replaced by Steve Thompson).

An alcohol-induced seizure in 1987 finally prompted McVie to stop drinking altogether and he has been sober ever since. In 1989, McVie's wife Julie Ann gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Molly Elizabeth McVie. In his spare time, McVie is a sailing enthusiast, and he nearly got lost at least once on a Pacific voyage. [3] His involvement with Fleetwood Mac has been constant but notably low-key, despite the fact that the band takes the "Mac" part of its name from him.

In October 2013, McVie was diagnosed with colon cancer and began treatment. [12] He continued to play with the band during their 2014 On With The Show tour following an improvement in his condition. In 2017, it was reported that McVie's colon cancer was completely cleared. [13]


With Fleetwood Mac

Year Album US UK Additional information
1968 Fleetwood Mac 198 4 Plays bass on all tracks except "Long Grey Mare"
1968 Mr. Wonderful - 10 -
1969 Then Play On 192 6 credited for the instrumental "Searching For Madge"
1970 Kiln House 69 39 co-wrote "Station Man" and "Jewel Eyed Judy"
1971 Future Games 91 - -
1972 Bare Trees 70 - The cover photo was taken by McVie
1973 Penguin 49 - Plays bass on all tracks except "Revelation" and "The Derelict"
1973 Mystery to Me 68 - co-wrote "Forever"
1974 Heroes Are Hard to Find 34 - -
1975 Fleetwood Mac 1 23 Appears on album cover with Mick Fleetwood
1977 Rumours 1 1 Co-Wrote "The Chain"
1979 Tusk 4 1
1980 Live 14 31 -
1982 Mirage 1 5 Backing vocals on Gypsy B-Side "Cool Water"
1987 Tango in the Night 7 1 -
1988 Greatest Hits 14 3 -
1990 Behind the Mask 18 1 -
1995 Time - 47 -
1997 The Dance 1 15 featured on background vocals on "Say You Love Me"
2003 Say You Will 3 6

With John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

Year Album US UK Additional information
1965 John Mayall Plays John Mayall - - Live at Klooks Kleek
1966 Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton - 6 -
1967 A Hard Road - 10 -
1967 Crusade - 8 -

Solo albums

Year Album US UK Additional information
1992 John McVie's "Gotta Band" with Lola Thomas - - -

With Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie

Year Album U.S. Billboard 200 UK Albums Chart Additional information
2017 Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie 17[ citation needed] 5[ citation needed]

Songwriting credits for Fleetwood Mac

Year Song Netherlands Singles Chart U.S. Mainstream Rock
1969 "Searching For Madge" (John McVie)
1970 (1985) "On We Jam" (McVie, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood)
1970 "Station Man" (McVie, Spencer, Kirwan)
1970 " Jewel-Eyed Judy" (McVie, Fleetwood, Kirwan)
1971 "The Purple Dancer" (McVie, Kirwan, Fleetwood)
1971 "What A Shame" (McVie, Fleetwood, Kirwan, Christine McVie, Bob Welch)
1973 "Forever" (McVie, Bob Weston, Welch)
1975 (2004) "Jam No.2" (McVie, Fleetwood, C. McVie, Lindsey Buckingham)
1977 " The Chain" (McVie, Fleetwood, Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, C. McVie)
1977 (2004) "For Duster (The Blues)" (McVie, Fleetwood, Buckingham, C. McVie)
1995 "Winds of Change" (McVie, Fleetwood, Kit Hain)


  1. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1586. ISBN  0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ "John McVie Q&A Session, Part 2; January 2006". Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Mick Fleetwood (1990). Fleetwood–My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac. Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. ISBN  0-283-06126-X.
  4. ^ Martin E. Adelson. "John McVie". Archived from the original on 21 July 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c " De Gitarist (04/1998), Fleetwood Mac's John McVie didn't stop Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Blue Letter Archives. URL last accessed 2007-02-20"
  6. ^ " John McVie Q&A", The Penguin. URL last accessed 8 August 2019
  7. ^ "Insight BBC Interview". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  8. ^ " Bassplayer (05/06/195), A life with Fleetwood Mac – John McVie Archived 24 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine", Blue Letter Archives. Currently is playing in a country band in Tuscaloosa Alabama. URL last accessed 20 February 2007
  9. ^ " Melody Maker (05/24/1969) No Domestic Oblivion For Christine Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine", Blue Letter Archives. URL last accessed 20 February 2007
  10. ^ " Rolling Stone (06/07/1984), From British blues with Chicken Shack to soft rock with Fleetwood Mac Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine", Blue Letter Archives. URL last accessed 20 February 2007
  11. ^ Brunning, Bob .(2001). Rumours And Lies: The Fleetwood Mac Story. ISBN  978-1-84449-011-0. Retrieved 2 January 2007.
  12. ^ "Security Check Required". Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Fleetwood Mac's John McVie Selling Raymond Chandler's Former Home". 19 July 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2020.

External links