How Stevie Nicks Persuaded Mike Campbell to Play a Heartbreakers Classic in Fleetwood Mac
Tom Petty’s right-hand man Mike Campbell revealed he’d been persuaded to play the classic Heartbreakers track “Free Fallin’” as a new member of Fleetwood Mac, and name-checked two other songs the post-Lindsey Buckingham lineup were planning to deliver on their upcoming tour - which kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Campbell and Crowded House frontman Neil Finn were added to Fleetwood Mac after their split with Buckingham, with Finn expected to take over most of the departed member’s vocal duties. They began developing a version of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and Stevie Nicks suggested “Free Fallin.’”
“Stevie wanted to do that one,” Campbell told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I love that song, but I’ve just played it so much. I said to her, ‘Do we have to?’ She said, ‘The crowd will love it. It’ll be a moment.’ So I’m getting into it again.” He added that, among the 60 or so songs under rehearsal, early Mac song “Oh Well” was included, with his own lead vocal as Finn found it “too bluesy.”
Campbell also recalled how he was invited to join the band, saying Mick Fleetwood called him unexpectedly before the announcement of Buckingham’s departure had been made. “I’d met Mick once or twice, but never really got to know him,” he said. “But he goes to me, ‘I’ve been listening to your music a lot. Would you be interested in joining the band?’ I thought I’d never play big gigs again. I thought I’d never be on the G4 [private jet] again, and I’d never again play the Forum. Then all of a sudden, I’m like, ‘What the fuck? How did this happen?’”
He admitted that, just short of a year after Petty’s death, he was still coming to terms with losing his friend, and that being back on the road would offer something of a relief. “It still seems unreal to me,” he said. “I’m past the point where I’m living with grief every minute, but sometimes I’ll be driving and one of our songs comes on and it’ll hit me.”