For those Fleetwood Mac fans who can only remember the band’s hit-laden Fleetwood Mac and Rumours albums of 1975 & 1977, it should be noted that well before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks came along and turned the band into a multi-million selling, hit-making, pop-rock machine, the original Fleetwood Mac were a solid blues-based band built around the guitar histrionics of Peter Green.
Green passed away Saturday peacefully in his sleep at the age of 73 and was mourned by many of rock’s music hierarchy including the likes of The Who’s Pete Townshend, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and former Rolling Stones’ bassist Bill Wyman who had all joined forces with drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood and band keyboardist Christine McVie February 25th of this year in London for a special `Mick Fleetwood And Friends Perform The Music Of Peter Green And The Early Years Of Fleetwood Mac’ concert.
“For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental,” eulogized Fleetwood. “Peter was the man who started the band, Fleetwood Mac, along with myself, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer. No one has ever stepped into the ranks of Fleetwood Mac without reverence for Peter Green and his talent, and the fact that music should shine bright and always be delivered with uncompromising passion.”
Green started out performing with Fleetwood and bassist McVie in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1966, serving as a replacement guitarist for Eric Clapton. Mayall, at one point, allowed his band to record five tracks of their own and one of them was an instrumental number called “Fleetwood Mac” as a tribute to the band’s rhythm section.
When Fleetwood and Green split Mayall to form their own band in 1967 with a second guitarist, Jeremy Spencer, McVie was initially reluctant to leave the sanctity of Mayall’s band but eventually joined forces with what was initially called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac to release their first all-blues self-titled recording in1967.
Green only performed on the first three Fleetwood Mac albums, their self-titled debut, their 1968 release of `Mr. Wonderful’ (now featuring Christine Perfect who had married John McVie) and their 1969 release “Then Play On” (which marked the debut of third guitarist Danny Kirwan) but made his mark by writing and recording songs like “Albatross” (the band’s first #1 hit), “Oh Well” and “Black Magic Woman” (which would serve as a future hit for Santana).
Sadly, Green’s mental state deteriorated as he began consuming LSD tablets “like they were M&M’s” and his Fleetwood Mac career ended with a final concert performance on the 20th of May 1970 as he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and underwent a series of shock treatments.
Green went on to release a couple of solo albums (his last on `Kolors’ in 1983) formed his own band Peter Green’s Splinter Group with guitarist Nigel Watson and former Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell) in the early 90s, filled in briefly with Fleetwood Mac in 1974 and in 1998 joined fellow Fleetwood Mac alumni Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks when they were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
— Stevie Nicks (@StevieNicks) July 26, 2020
Green’s contribution to the band has been captured on a special 8-CD box set released by Reprise Records titled Fleetwood Mac 1969-1974 which features all the band’s original-blues based material.