top of page

The Penguin's Tale: Fleetwood Mac's Iconic Album Art and John McVie's Passion


When you think of iconic album covers, Fleetwood Mac's "Penguin" album from 1973 might not be the first to come to mind. Yet, this album, marked by its understated cover art featuring a penguin, holds a unique and captivating story. Join us as we explore why this penguin found its place on a Fleetwood Mac album cover and how it became an enduring symbol of the band, with a special focus on John McVie's love for penguins.


**Meet the Penguin**


Before we delve into the story behind Fleetwood Mac's "Penguin" album, let's get to know the star of the show—the penguin. The penguin featured on the album cover is not just any penguin; it's an Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri). Known for their striking black and white plumage, Emperor Penguins are some of the most iconic and recognizable penguin species on the planet.


**The Enigmatic "Penguin" Album Cover**


In 1973, Fleetwood Mac was at a crossroads. They had already seen several lineup changes and were in the process of reinventing themselves as a band. It was during this pivotal moment in their career that they released their eighth studio album, simply titled "Penguin."


The album's cover art, designed by artist and illustrator John Sellards, featured a solitary Emperor Penguin against a stark white background. The penguin is depicted with its head turned, almost as if it's gazing into the unknown. The choice of this image was not arbitrary; it held deep significance for the band and their creative journey at the time.


**Symbolism and Significance**


The Emperor Penguin on the "Penguin" album cover was a symbol of renewal, transformation, and resilience. Fleetwood Mac was undergoing significant changes both in their lineup and their musical direction. The penguin, with its stoic and majestic presence, conveyed a sense of strength and determination in the face of adversity.


But what adds another layer of significance to this album cover is the personal connection of Fleetwood Mac's bassist, John McVie, to penguins. John McVie had a deep love for these fascinating birds and often spent his free time at the zoo, studying and observing penguins. His fascination with penguins is said to have influenced the choice of the Emperor Penguin as the central image for the album cover.


**John McVie's Passion for Penguins**


John McVie's passion for penguins went beyond casual interest. He was known to be an avid observer of penguin behavior and was captivated by their unique characteristics. Penguins, with their waddling gait on land and graceful movements in the water, seemed to resonate with John on a personal level.


His visits to the zoo to study penguins became a source of inspiration for him, and it's said that his love for these birds played a significant role in the band's decision to feature a penguin on the "Penguin" album cover. In this way, the album's artwork became a reflection not only of the band's collective journey but also of John McVie's personal connection to these remarkable creatures.


**The Penguin as a Band Mascot**


While the penguin featured prominently on the "Penguin" album cover, its influence didn't stop there. Over time, the Emperor Penguin became an unofficial mascot of Fleetwood Mac, representing their ability to adapt and evolve as a band.


Fans embraced the penguin as a symbol of the band's enduring spirit, and it made appearances in various forms, from tour merchandise to stage backdrops. This enigmatic bird had taken on a life of its own, becoming an enduring emblem of Fleetwood Mac's history.


**In Conclusion**


Fleetwood Mac's "Penguin" album cover featuring the Emperor Penguin is a testament to the power of symbolism in art. This seemingly simple image carried profound meaning for the band and their fans alike. It embodied their journey of transformation, resilience, and the enduring allure of their music.


John McVie's passion for penguins added a deeply personal dimension to the album's cover, making it even more meaningful. So, the next time you listen to Fleetwood Mac's "Penguin" album or gaze upon that solitary Emperor Penguin on the cover, remember the story of how this remarkable bird became

an emblem of one of rock music's most iconic bands. It's a reminder that art can convey complex emotions and stories, connecting us through the universal language of music and imagery, and sometimes, even through a shared love for penguins.


Fleetwood Mad are the UK's ultimate tribute to Fleetwood Mac bringing their Moonlight Tour to cities and towns up and down the country. www.fleetwoodmad.co.uk


65 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page