Jeremy Spencer

Jeremy Spencer

born on 4/7/1948 in Hartepool, North East England, United Kingdom

Jeremy Spencer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jeremy Spencer
Born July 4 1948
Hartlepool, County Durham, England
Genres Blues / Rock and Roll
Instruments Slide guitar, guitar, piano
Years active 1967 - present
Associated acts Fleetwood Mac

Jeremy Spencer (born 4 July 1948), is a British musician, best known as one of the first guitarists in Fleetwood Mac.

Spencer was born in Hartlepool, County Durham. He grew up in South London and was educated at Strand School, where he became known for hilarious impressions of the headmaster and several of his staff.

Spencer's speciality later became the slide guitar. He was strongly influenced by the blues musician Elmore James. He joined Fleetwood Mac in July 1967 and remained with the band until February 1971, when he joined a Christian cult called the Children of God, now known as the Family International, of which he is still a follower.

Fleetwood Mac

In the summer of 1967 Spencer came to the attention of ex-Bluesbreakers guitarist Peter Green, who was looking for another musician to join him in his new Fleetwood Mac project. Green had recruited drummer Mick Fleetwood and temporary bassist Bob Brunning, and wanted a second guitar player to fill out the sound onstage. Spencer was then playing with blues trio The Levi Set, and was already an accomplished slide guitarist and pianist. He fitted in well, and soon after his arrival the band's intended bassist John McVie eventually joined.

This line-up of Fleetwood Mac recorded two albums of traditional blues songs, with Spencer contributing many variations on the Elmore James theme, particularly centred around James' version of "Dust My Broom", plus a few songs of his own. Green became frustrated because Spencer did not seem willing to contribute to Green's songs, whereas Green always played on Spencer's recordings where necessary.[1] Since Spencer's musical contributions to the band were too narrowly focused, Green and Fleetwood brought in a third guitarist, 18 year-old Danny Kirwan, after 1968's Mr. Wonderful. This album featured several of Spencer's Elmore James tunes.

Green and Kirwan found that they worked well together musically, quickly developing the style that provided hits such as "Albatross", "Man of the World" and "Oh Well", none of which featured Spencer. Spencer found himself slightly isolated within the band, and chose to contribute very little to the band's third album Then Play On. It was intended to complement this album with a separate EP of Spencer's work, but this never materialised. In the end, his input amounted to some piano on Green's neo-classical epic "Oh Well Pt. 2".

On stage however, Spencer was certainly an integral part of the band, with a raucous routine of old blues songs which were extremely popular with audiences. Spencer was an incredibly gifted mimic, providing excellent impersonations of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, John Mayall and whoever else he felt like sending up at the time. He was also often given to occasional suggestive behaviour onstage, particularly at early concerts, which sometimes landed the band in trouble with promoters and venue owners, and got them banned from London's Marquee Club.[2] This wild onstage atmosphere was caught in Spencer's recording "Someone's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite", which was chosen as the B-side to the gentle "Man of the World" single in 1969.

Away from the stage, Spencer was often quiet and withdrawn, and other band members recall him often reading the Bible in his hotel room, strongly at odds with his on-stage persona.[3]

Spencer became the first member of Fleetwood Mac to release a solo album, simply titled Jeremy Spencer, in 1970. This album featured many 1950s parodies and amusing songs but was not a success. It has not yet been officially released on CD.

When Green left Fleetwood Mac in mid-1970, the band were in a state of flux and there was a possibility of not continuing. However, the band held together, and both Spencer and Kirwan worked on new songs, which appeared on the Kiln House album released in the late summer of 1970. For the first time, the defining Elmore James songs were absent on Kiln House, instead this album featured more of Spencer's 1950s parodies, including the Buddy Holly tribute "Buddy's Song". Another song, "One Together", touched on the many different personas that Spencer used onstage.[3]

During a tour of the United States in February 1971 with new keyboardist Christine McVie now having joined the band, Spencer grew disillusioned with his life in Fleetwood Mac, and has mentioned in several interviews an incident when the band were listening to a recording of an old concert. When he heard himself singing, he said "That sounds horrible. It sounds like shit."[2] According to one account by Mick Fleetwood, Spencer apparently had difficulty recovering from a mescaline trip he had experienced very early on the US tour. Shortly before a journey of the band from San Francisco to Los Angeles, LA experienced a major earthquake. Being in a fragile mental state and filled with strong negative premonitions, Spencer was very apprehensive about having to travel to LA. He unsuccessfully pleaded with Fleetwood to cancel this leg of the tour.[4] Shortly after arriving in LA on the day of a gig the group was scheduled to perform at the Whiskey A Go Go, Spencer left the hotel room he shared with Fleetwood to visit a bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard. He did not return, forcing the cancellation of that evening's concert while the band and members of their entourage went searching for him. Some days later, he was found to have joined the religious group the Children of God, and he declared that he no longer wanted to be involved with Fleetwood Mac. Despite appeals from the band's manager, Clifford Davis, to fulfil his obligations to Fleetwood Mac, Spencer could not be persuaded to rejoin the band, and thus they had to struggle on without him, first recalling Peter Green out of retirement as an emergency measure, and later recruiting new guitarist Bob Welch.[4]

Despite many rumours of brainwashing and forced induction into the organisation, Spencer has always maintained that he joined the organisation of his own free will. He had been approached by a young man named Apollos, who engaged Spencer in conversation about God, and invited him to a nearby mission where other members were staying. During the evening, Spencer became convinced that this change of direction was the best course for him to take, and by the time Fleetwood Mac found him, his mind was made up.[5] Despite his continued confidence that he made the right choice, he has said that the manner of his departure from the band was regrettable: "The way I left was wrong and a mistake. I should've told them right away but I was desperate."[6]

After Fleetwood Mac

Spencer and his then-wife Fiona moved to the USA to settle in with the Children of God, and he soon formed a new band within the organisation and played free concerts around the country. An album was recorded, Jeremy Spencer and the Children, although without any commercial success. Relatively little is known about this period of his life, but he travelled the world recording a considerable amount of music for the purposes of the organisation, and spent time living in Brazil and Italy.[6]

In 1979, he recorded the album Flee with the newly-formed Jeremy Spencer Band, again without commercial success. During the 1980s he was living in the Philippines, where he met his current partner, a German woman named Julie.[6] During the 1990s he worked in India doing charity concerts, and some recordings from these gigs were available for download from his website. Spencer now lives in Ireland and still works for the Children of God (now called the Family International), mainly as a book illustrator and story writer.[6] He has always continued to play music, often just for his own amusement, but recently he has appeared at various blues and gospel conventions, and in 2006 he released a new album, Precious Little, which was recorded in Norway. The album showed a return to the blues and the slide guitar style that he became famous for whilst he was with Fleetwood Mac, albeit with a more gentle touch.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 for his work as part of Fleetwood Mac.

More recently, Spencer was in contact with his former Fleetwood Mac bandmates Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, and according to McVie, the three had informal jam sessions with Rick Vito at Fleetwood's home.[7] Spencer also took part in the TV documentary 'Peter Green. Man of the World'[8], in which he was interviewed together with John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

Spencer has many children of various ages, and some of them have formed a band in England called JYNXT. The band members are Nat, Koa, Tally, and Rick Spencer.

Alleged child sexual abuse

The Children of God/The Family International has been accused of tolerating child sexual abuse by its members. Spencer himself has been accused of sexually abusing children, including his own.[9][10][11]

Fleetwood Mac albums featuring Jeremy Spencer

  • Fleetwood Mac (Blue Horizon 1968)
  • Mr. Wonderful (Blue Horizon 1968)
  • English Rose (Epic 1969US only)
  • The Pious Bird of Good Omen (Blue Horizon 1969UK only)
  • Then Play On (Reprise 1969)
  • Fleetwood Mac In Chicago/Blues Jam In Chicago vols 1 & 2 (Blue Horizon 1969)
  • Kiln House (Reprise 1970)

Additional compilations/outtakes collections

  • The Original Fleetwood Mac (CBS 1971 - outtakes recorded 1967-68)
  • Greatest Hits (CBS 1971 - compilation)
  • The Best of Fleetwood Mac (Reprise c1971 - Germany only but featuring rare songs)
  • The Hits of Fleetwood Mac (Columbia 1990 - compilation)
  • Original Fleetwood Mac: The Blues Years (3-CD set, Castle 1990)
  • 25 Years - The Chain [4CD box set] (Warner 1992)
  • Like It This Way (Elite - compilation)
  • The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac 1968 to 1970 [2CD Box set] (Receiver 1998)
  • Show-Biz Blues 1968 to 1970 [2CD Box set] (Receiver 2001 - Companion to "Vaudeville Years")
  • The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions 1967-1969 [Box set] (Columbia UK, 1999)
  • The Best of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac (Columbia 2002 - compilation)
  • Madison Blues [3 disc box-set] (Shakedown 2003 - recorded 1970)
  • Green Shadows (Union Square Music 2003 - compilation)
  • Black Magic Woman (Epic 2004 - compilation)
  • The Essential Fleetwood Mac (Sony BMG 2007 - 2CD compilation)

Live albums

  • Live At The BBC (Castle 1995 - recorded 1967-71)
  • Shrine '69 (Rykodisc 1999 - recorded 25 January 1969)
  • The Blues Collection (Castle, 1989 or 1992)
  • Live at the Boston Tea Party, vols 1-3 (recorded 5 February-7, 1970. Comprehensively released 1998 by Snapper Records, having previously been repackaged and bootlegged several times)
  • Jumping at Shadows: The Blues Years (released 2002)

Jeremy Spencer solo albums

  • Jeremy Spencer (Reprise, 1970)
  • Jeremy Spencer and the Children (CBS, 1972)
  • Flee (Atlantic, 1979)
  • In Concert India 1998 (PolyGram India, 1999)
  • Precious Little (Bluestown, 2006)

See also

  • JYNXT - British band formed by two of Spencer's children. Tally Spencer is the child of Fiona Spencer but not Jeremy Spencer.


  1. The Penguin Q&A with Jeremy Spencer, June 1999
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fleetwood Mac - "The Vaudeville Years" (booklet notes), 1998
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Insight" - BBC Radio Interview with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie, November 1976.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mick Fleetwood (1990). Fleetwood--My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac, Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd.
  5. Jeremy Spencer interviewed by Steve Clark, NME magazine, 5 October 1974.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Jeremy Spencer interviewed by Martin Celmins, Classic Rock magazine, March 2006.
  7. The Penguin Q&A with John McVie, January 2007
  8. BBC4
  9. Ward, The Rt Hon. Lord Justice Sir Alan Hylton (1995-10-19). W 42 1992 in the High Court of Justice. Family Division. Principal Registry in the Matter of ST (A Minor) and in the Matter of the Supreme Court Act 1991 5859, 91, 96, 119. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  10. Jones, Celeste, Enslaved by the cult of sex...for 25 years, Daily Mail, 2007-07-13. URL accessed on 2007-10-19.
  11. Navarro, Hector Walter (1993). Investigación sobre la bibliografía de Los Niños de Dios: Existencia de correccionales clandestinos. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.

Other reference material

  • Classic Rock magazine interview (by Martin Celmins), March 2006 (hosted by
  • NME magazine interview (by Steve Clark), 5 October 1974

External links

  • Jeremy Spencer's Official Web site
  • Jeremy Spencer on, a wiki about the Children of God
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Fleetwood Mac inducted 1998
  • JYNXT - Band formed by Spencer children
  • {{{name}}} at MusicBrainz
Fleetwood Mac
John McVie - Mick Fleetwood - Stevie Nicks - Lindsey Buckingham
Former members: Christine McVie - Peter Green - Jeremy Spencer - Bob Brunning - Danny Kirwan
Bob Welch - Bob Weston - Dave Walker - Billy Burnette - Rick Vito - Dave Mason - Bekka Bramlett

Studio albums: Fleetwood Mac (1968) - Mr. Wonderful - English Rose - The Pious Bird Of Good Omen - Then Play On - Fleetwood Mac In Chicago/Blues Jam In Chicago vols 1 & 2 - Kiln House - The Original Fleetwood Mac - Future Games - Greatest Hits - Bare Trees - Penguin - Mystery to Me - Heroes Are Hard to Find - Fleetwood Mac (1975) - Rumours - Tusk - Live - Mirage - Tango in the Night - Greatest Hits - Behind the Mask - 25 Years - The Chain - Time - The Dance - The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will

Live albums: Live in Boston

Related articles
Fleetwood Mac single chart positions
This page was last modified 21.04.2010 23:09:54

This article uses material from the article Jeremy Spencer from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.