Rumours was released in 1977 and is the eighth best-selling record ever. Almost an entire generation of thirtysomethings have owned a copy and its popularity endures.
However, of the five people in the band, two had just split up and were strictly on non-speaking terms and the fifth was left acting as go-between.
The history of the album is traced in a BBC documentary Classic Albums to be shown tonight and was the first time the group had met up since recording Rumours.
Twenty years later, time has eased the bitterness and they have reformed, issued a new album called The Dance and are about to embark on an American tour.
Rumours saw the break-up of Christine and John McVie as well as Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. The resulting songs were all written about each other and reflect the conflicting emotions swirling around the recording studio.
Thus Buckingham wrote Go Your Own Way and Stevie Nicks retaliated with Dreams.
During the programme Mick Fleetwood talks about how he worked to keep the group together during the emotional upheaval while the others explain frankly about their inspiration.
Caroline Thomas, spokeswoman for production company Isis, said: "At the time they met for the documentary, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham hadn't seen each other for years. We managed in a sense to put them back together again."