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Michael John Kells "Mick" Fleetwood (born 24 June 1947) is a British musician and actor best known for his role as the drummer and namesake of the blues/rock and roll band Fleetwood Mac. His surname, combined with that of John McVie, was the inspiration for the name of the originally Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac.

mick fleetwoodAside from his work as a drummer, he also helped form the different incarnations of his band Fleetwood Mac, and is the sole member to stay with the band through its ever-changing lineup. In 1974, he met and invited Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to join Fleetwood Mac. Buckingham and Nicks contributed to much of Fleetwood Mac's later commercial success, while Fleetwood's determination to keep the band together was essential to the group's longevity.


Early life

Fleetwood was born in Redruth, Cornwall, to John Joseph Kells and Bridget Maureen (née Brereton) Fleetwood. His sister, the late Susan Fleetwood, was an actress. In early childhood he and his family followed his father, a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, to Egypt. After about six years they moved to Norway where his father was posted. He attended school there and acquired fluency in the Norwegian language. According to his autobiography, Fleetwood had an extremely difficult and trying time academically at the English boarding schools he attended, including Sherborne School in Dorset a.k.a locally as the Kings School. He performed poorly on exams which he attributes to his persistent inability to commit facts to memory. He dropped out of school aged 15, and, in 1963, moved to London to pursue a career as a drummer.

Career

Keyboard player Peter Bardens gave Fleetwood his first gig in Bardens' band The Cheynes, thus seeding the young drummer's musical career. It would take him from The Cheynes to stints in the Bo Street Runners, Peter Bs, Shotgun Express (with Rod Stewart), and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. After being dismissed from the Bluesbreakers for repeated insobriety during gigs Mick Fleetwood was asked a few months later by singer and guitarist Peter Green to join him along with bassist John McVie in his new band Fleetwood Mac. Since then more than fifty albums have been released under the name Fleetwood Mac - by far the most popular being the two mega-platinum sets the group put out in the late seventies: Fleetwood Mac and Rumours.

While fighting for control over the Fleetwood Mac name, Fleetwood applied his skills to a recording project being done in George Harrison's studio; Harrison also contributed to the project. On the Road to Freedom, a collaboration from Alvin Lee and Mylon LeFevre was released in 1973. Also on the project were Ron Wood, Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi.

Mick also led a number of side projects. 1981's The Visitor featured heavy African stylistics and a rerecording of "Rattlesnake Shake" with Peter Green. In 1983 he formed Mick Fleetwood's Zoo and recorded I'm Not Me. The album featured a minor hit with "I Want You Back" and a cover version of the Beach Boys' "Angel Come Home". A later version of the group featured Bekka Bramlett on vocals and recorded 1991's Shaking the Cage. Fleetwood released Something Big in 2004 with The Mick Fleetwood Band, and his most recent album is Blue Again, appearing in October 2008 with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band touring to support it, interspersed with the Unleashed tour of Fleetwood Mac. This music explores the blues roots of the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood has a secondary career as a TV and film actor, usually in minor parts. His roles in this field have included a resistance leader in The Running Man and as a guest alien in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Manhunt". Fleetwood co-hosted the 1989 BRIT Awards, which contained numerous gaffes and flubbed lines. In the wake of this public mishap, the BRIT Awards were pre-recorded for the next 18 years until 2007; the awards are now again broadcast live to the British public.

Also in 2007 Mick Fleetwood was featured singing the song "God" along with Jack's Mannequin in the Pop album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, a collection of covers of John Lennon songs.

Personal life

Fleetwood married Jenny Boyd in 1970, and the couple had two daughters. They later divorced, remarried and then divorced again. Jenny is the younger sister of Patty Boyd, whose first marriage was to George Harrison and her second to Eric Clapton. Thus Fleetwood had been brother in law to both Clapton and Harrison at various times.

He is the author of Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac, his memoirs of his life, especially with Fleetwood Mac, published in 1991. Included in the book are his experiences with other musicians including Eric Clapton, members of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and an affair with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood also discusses his addiction to powdered cocaine and his personal bankruptcy in spite of earning millions from his drumming career.

Recognized for his imposing height, he stands at 6'6" (197 cm).

In 1979, Mick Fleetwood was diagnosed with diabetes, after suffering recurring bouts of hypoglycemia during several live shows.

Fleetwood has lived in the United States since the mid-70s, and became a U.S. citizen on November 22, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.