Ever played Texas Hold ‘Em?
It’s a version of poker where players don’t know the actual strength of the cards they’re holding secretly in their hand until three cards that are common to everyone in the game are revealed.
And it strikes me that Fleetwood Mac, riding high on Rumours and going into ‘the follow up to Rumours’, were in exactly this scenario.
Lindsey - Held an ace, which was that he’d provided excellent taste and direction to Rumours. His bluff, though, was to issue an ultimatum to Mick about doing an artistic 180 for the next project. Did he expect (hope?) Mick would say no? If he did, he was wrong, and it would take him another decade to ‘finally’ (read: temporarily) leave the band.
Stevie - Also held an ace: she was major box-office. And while this was transferable to a solo context, she knew she needed not necessarily Lindsey but a ‘Lindsey’ to collaborate with, should she be forced to leave FM for some reason…. Perhaps if, say, the aftermath of a ‘secret’ romantic liaison with a co-worker exacerbated other, already awkward-as-hell relationships, and made it intolerable to stay.
Christine - Again, held a major ace as the band’s most prolific hit-writer. She was also the one person whom everyone fundamentally got along with, as well as enjoying the unassailable strength that comes with simply not being all that fucking bothered. Plus, she was squeeing over Dennis Wilson at the time.
Mick - Held an ace because he was the Daddy. Legally, he was also co-managing the band with John, which made him the songwriters’ boss, over and above the moral weight of being the co-founder and architect of ‘the Rumours line-up’. Mick’s masterstroke was to let Lindsey call his bluff artistically. He gave LB all the rope he asked for, which locked LB into a neurotic cycle of elation and self-loathing that lasted many, many years.
John - John didn’t hold any aces. But he was the Mac in Fleetwood Mac. End of.