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Ex-Fleetwood Mac member Billy Burnette remembers putting together Clinton inauguration gig

Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In the early '90s, Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" became synonymous with Bill Clinton, who used the song to soundtrack his 1992 presidential campaign. The response was so huge that the band reunited with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham to play "Don't Stop" at Clinton's inauguration in 1993. As it turns out, the person who helped put that performance together was Buckingham's replacement.

Billy Burnette first joined Fleetwood Mac in 1987 after Buckingham's departure that year amid heated turmoil among the band members. He continued to play with the group through the "Don't Stop" phenomenon, during which he got a call from Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, who he'd previously met.

"I put together that gig," Burnette tells Rolling Stone. "I learned that Tipper Gore's favorite song was 'Don't Stop.' It had nothing to do with the Clintons. Al asked me to call the managers and see if we'd do something at the inaugural."

"I called everybody and got everybody together to do it," he continues. "And then Stevie [Nicks] calls and asks if it would be OK if Lindsey played with them instead of me."

Burnette would rejoin Fleetwood Mac after the inauguration, though his time in the band ended shortly thereafter in 1995, after which Buckingham rejoined. When Buckingham again left Fleetwood Mac in 2018 and was replaced by Neil Finn and Mike Campbell, Burnette says he "didn't understand" why he wasn't called.

"I got really upset with Mick [Fleetwood] about that," Burnette says, though he adds he "got over it real quick."

In other Fleetwood Mac news, the band's iconic 1977 album Rumours is headed toward the top 10 on the United Kingdom's Official Albums Chart. Sales of the record have jumped following the death of keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter Christine McVie, who passed away November 30 at age 79.

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