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Buckingham Rocks: 15 Great Guest Appearances By Lindsey Buckingham

Even as Fleetwood Mac's latest tour rolls ever onward - the band, now with 100% more Christine McVie, is on the road through December 20, starts up again on January 16, and carries on through March 7 - let us not forget the wonderful things that the band members have done outside of the confines of the ground. No, we're not talking about solo albums, we're talking about the way they pop up on other people's albums. Take, for instance, Lindsey Buckingham, who's guested on a lot of songs for a lot of different artists, some of whom might surprise you.

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1. Warren Zevon, "Poor Poor Pitiful Me"


There’s a longstanding rumor that Warren Zevon briefly roomed with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks at some point in 1975, but you’d think such a living situation would’ve at least been mentioned in passing in I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Crystal Zevon’s book about her ex-husband, since she and Warren would’ve been together at that point.

Whether it’s true or false, though, Zevon and Buckingham had certainly already forged a friendship and developed a mutual respect for each other’s musical abilities by the time Zevon entered the studio to record his self-titled album, which was released in 1976. (Indeed, in the dark days just before Buckingham and Nicks were invited to join Fleetwood Mac, Zevon had helped Buckingham fill his nearly-empty coffers by hooking him up with a gig as guitarist and backing vocalist for a solo tour by Don Everly.)

In addition to “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” Warren Zevon also features Buckingham’s harmony vocals on “Mohammed’s Radio” and his guitar work on “Backs Turned Looking Down the Path,” and he would later contribute harmonies to “The Overdraft” on Zevon’s 1982 album, The Envoy.

2. Bob Welch, "Sentimental Lady"

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Although likely known to most casual music fans as former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch’s biggest hit as a solo artist, “Sentimental Lady” actually made its debut as a track on Fleetwood Mac’s 1972 album, Bare Trees. When Welch resigned from the band a few years later, weary of the road and feeling that he’d done as much as he could do creatively within the confines of Fleetwood Mac, he was replaced in the ranks by Buckingham and Nicks, but the credits of Welch’s debut solo album, 1977’s French Kiss, reveal that he remained on good terms with his former bandmates and bore no ill will to the new kids. For the re-recording of “Sentimental Lady,” Christine McVie returned to reprise her role as background vocalist, but this time she was joined by Buckingham, who – in addition to adding vocals and guitar – was also responsible for the song’s arrangement.

3. Walter Egan, "Hot Summer Nights"

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Most everyone knows that Stevie Nicks sings on Walter Egan’s biggest hit, “Magnet and Steel” (which makes perfect sense, what with her having inspired it and all), but she and Buckingham were a part of Egan’s solo career from the very beginning. As Buckingham recalled in 1982, “I didn't really have time to go in as full producer (on 1977’s Fundamental Roll), but I did quite a bit of work on that, and he and I developed a very friendly and close relationship."

That relationship led Buckingham to make appearances on Egan’s next four solo albums (1978’s Not Shy, 1979’s Hi-Fi, 1980’s The Last Stroll, and 1983’s Wild Exhibitions), along with the 1981 reunion album by Egan’s former band, The Malibooz, and just in case you think we’ve forgotten, yes, you can also find Buckingham on Egan’s so-called Lost Album, featuring material from sessions recorded in 1984 and 1985. As for Buckingham’s most commercially-successful track with Egan, though, there’s no competition: it’s “Hot Summer Nights,” which - although it was no match for “Magnet and Steel” on the charts - made it to #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.

4. Leo Sayer, "Something Fine"


Wait, what? Really? Yes, really. In a 2014 interview with, Leo Sayer reminisced about the process of putting together his 1978 self-titled album and was quick to credit producer Richard Perry with corralling the top-notch talent that joined him in the studio. “The brilliant thing about Richard is that he knew all the musicians and he could get them to play,” said Sayer. “The lovely thing was, Waddy [Wachtel] – who to this day remains such a great buddy – was a bit wasted at the time, so Lindsey used to leave his house and then come and pick up Waddy, and drive him to the studio. I always thought that was really beautiful.”

Buckingham contributed guitar to a cover of “Raining in My Heart,” which was released as a single, as well as to “Running to My Freedom,” but “Something Fine” is where he really shines, adding acoustic guitar as well as backing vocals to the Jackson Browne composition.

5. John Stewart, "Spinnin' of the World"

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True story: although John Stewart first made his mark in the 1960s as a member of the Kingston Trio, he learned to play electric guitar by listening to Lindsey Buckingham’s work with Fleetwood Mac and Walter Egan, while Buckingham’s prowess on acoustic guitar came in no small part from having repeatedly spun Kingston Trio records.

The two musicians finally met up after Buckingham’s work on Egan’s Not Shy inspired Stewart to ask for Buckingham’s assistance on his 1979 album, Bombs Away Dream Babies. The album provided Stewart with the biggest hit of his solo career – “Gold,” which features Buckingham on guitar and Stevie Nicks on backing vocals – but we’re spotlighting “The Spinnin’ of the World” here because it’s such a perfect full-circle moment to see Stewart and Buckingham performing it together on a 1981 Kingston Trio reunion special.

6. Linda Ronstadt, "Talk to Me of Mendocino"

Linda Ronstadt and Lindsey Buckingham had been running in the same circles for quite some time before he ever made an appearance on one of her records, but perhaps the most surprising thing about his contribution to “Talk to Me of Mendocino,” from Ronstadt’s 1982 album, Get Closer, is that it’s neither guitar nor backing vocals. Nope, if you want to hear Buckingham this time, you’ll have to listen for the accordion.

7. Randy Newman, "I Love L.A."

Randy Newman’s tribute to things good, bad, and otherwise about his hometown features Buckingham and Christine McVie providing harmonies. We’re not sure of the exact origins of this particular collaboration, but aside from the fact that Fleetwood Mac had some of the best harmonies in the business at the time – and if you’re paying tribute to the home of the Beach Boys, you’ve got to have great harmonies – we’d guess it might also have something to do with the fact that the album was co-produced by Lenny Waronker, whose connections with the Warner Brothers family were then and still remain virtually second to none.

8. Josie Cotton, "Jimmy Loves Maryann"


Although her greatest place in music history likely comes from her contributions to the Valley Girl soundtrack (“School is In,” “He Could Be the One,” and the immortal “Johnny, Are You Queer?”), Josie Cotton found a bit more success with her sophomore album, 1984’s From the Hip, which provided her with the minor hit single, “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne,” featuring Buckingham on guitar. In a 2011 interview with The New Gay, Cotton explained that it was producer Roy Thomas Baker who provided the song with its special guest star. “(Baker) was also working with Lindsey at the time and suggested Lindsey throw something down on this song we were having trouble with,” said Cotton. “The actual session went really fast. He was such a virtuoso on the guitar that it was over before I could even come to grips what had just happened.”

9. Eric Clapton, "Something's Happening"


A graffiti artist may have once declared that “Clapton is God,” but there are plenty of guitarists who worship at the altar of Buckingham as well, which is why it seemed like such a big deal when the two legends worked together on a album track from Clapton’s 1985 studio effort, Behind the Sun.

In truth, though, the bigger deal for Buckingham was likely the first time he met Clapton, based on how the encounter is described in Carol Ann Harris’s Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac: while Fleetwood Mac was visiting Clapton’s home in Surrey, Ronnie Lane popped by for a visit, and before the evening was out, Buckingham, Clapton, and Lane jammed on a cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” with Clapton taking lead vocals and Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie providing harmonies.

Yeah, y'know, now that we look back at that last sentence, we’re confident that that evening was a bigger deal for Buckingham than recording “Something’s Happening.”

10. Espionage, "I Couldn't Get To Sleep Last Night"

Easily the most obscure inclusion on this list, Buckingham's appearance of a handful of songs on this UK band's sophomore effort would seem to be explained in much the same way as his appearance on Josie Cotton's album: it was produced by Roy Thomas Baker. Similarly, the lack of comment on his contributions to the material by anyone from the band would seem to imply that there wasn't much, if any, interaction between them and Buckingham, but if you know better, we're all ears.

11. Nine Inch Nails, "Copy of A"

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And for arguably the most surprising inclusion on the list, who would've expected to find Buckingham contributing to a Nine Inch Nails album? Okay, maybe we're underestimating the average music fan, but all we know is that when Buckingham popped up on the Grammys to play alongside Trent Reznor, that thudding noise you heard? We're pretty sure it wasn't the drums but, rather, the sound of viewers' jaws dropping.

Although he was only in the studio with Trent Reznor for a day, Buckingham found time to contribute to three tracks on the album, and he seemed to have enjoyed the process, based on his comments to The New York Times. “There was a bit of a kindred spirit there, even though the styles were different,” said Buckingham. “(Reznor's) process was something like a painting process, like I work, where you’re slopping colors around and looking for clues, and it becomes a subconscious process in which the work reveals itself to you.”

12. The Dream Academy, "Indian Summer"

If The Dream Academy was trying to capture the lush feel of Fleetwood Mac with their sophomore effort, Remembrance Days, they certainly went to the right place when they brought on Buckingham and Richard Dashut to produce a few tracks for them.

In a 2009 column for The Guardian about how the influence of Fleetwood Mac – or, more specifically, Buckingham and Nicks – reaches unlikely places, Alan McGee indicated that Laird-Clowes specifically asked for Buckingham, adding that Laird-Clowes “recounted how the sessions involved going down to Buckingham's LA mansion, skinning up and playing the Korgis' ‘Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime.’” And just in case you’re not familiar with Remembrance Days and suddenly find yourself excited to hear this track as well, fear not: the Korgis cover in question is the next-to-last track on the album.

13. Brian Wilson, "He Couldn't Get His Poor Old Body to Move"


When Brian Wilson released his first-ever full-length solo record in 1988, the credits to the self-titled album featured a list of people who were given “Special Musical Thanks,” one of whom was Lindsey Buckingham, but as Buckingham didn’t actually appear anywhere on the album, listeners were left wondering exactly what he did to warrant a thank-you. As it turned out, Buckingham and Wilson had collaborated on a song called “He Couldn’t Get His Poor Old Body to Move” which had been intended for inclusion on the album but was ultimately relegated to the B-side of the first single, “Love and Mercy.” Thankfully, the song, which was co-written and co-produced by Buckingham, became more easily attainable when it was added to the expanded version of Brian Wilson that emerged in 2000.

14. Johnny Cash, "Sea of Heartbreak"

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Who's going to turn down a chance to work with the Man in Black? Not Buckingham, that's for sure: he and Mick Fleetwood contributed acoustic guitar and percussion, respectively, to the Paul Hampton / Hal David song that was a hit for Don Gibson in 1961.

15. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Walls (Circus)"


As it turns out, there's also a Johnny Cash tie-in to this track from Tom Petty's soundtrack to Ed Burns' She's the One, and not just the fact that Petty's also a player on the Unchained album: apparently, the song's opening lines - "Some days are diamonds / Some days are rocks" - was something Cash actually said to Petty, and it stuck with him.

As for Buckingham's contribution to the song, Petty apparently just called him up and asked him if he'd help, so he did. "Lindsey's just amazing on that track," said Petty, who also revealed in Paul Zollo's Conversations with Tom Petty that Buckingham came up with the harmonies on his own. "He came down and did it all in one session, (and) I kind of just sat back and watched him go, just going, 'Yep--that's what I would've done!'"

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