Peter Green, 1946 - 2020
28 Jul 2020
On Saturday 25th, Blues legend and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green died peacefully in his sleep.
Peter Green was one of the greatest blues guitarists Britain ever produced. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 10 and, like many of his era, began to listen to the records slowly making their way into the UK from the US, particularly influenced by the greats - Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and BB King. He started his professional career as a bassist, until watching Eric Clapton play in the Bluebreakers, after which he decided to make the switch: 'I decided to go back on lead guitar after seeing him with the Bluesbreakers. He had a Les Paul, his fingers were marvelous.' He later then took on the daunting task of replacing Clapton in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, but it did not take him long to prove to the fans how talented he was, earning the nickname 'The Green God'.
Green went on to form Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood, bass guitarist John McVie and guitarist Jeremy Spencer in 1967. The band recorded three albums together, with hits written by Green including 'Albatross', 'Black Magic Woman', 'Oh Well' and the exquisite 'Man of the World'. Green left the band after a final performance in 1970 as he struggled with his mental health. From the late 70s onwards Green returned to music, releasing solo albums, playing on the Fleetwood Mac album Tusk
and Mick Fleetwood's solo album The Visitor
, recording and touring with the Peter Green Splinter Group and performing as Peter Green and Friends.
Green and the other members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
In February this year, Mick Fleetwood organised a tribute to Green at the London Palladium, where stars including Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Noel Gallagher, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, John Mayall, Christine McVie, Jeremy Spencer, Pete Townshend, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Bill Wyman performed songs from Green's career (read more here
Mick Fleetwood has led tributes to his 'dearest friend': 'For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental. No one has ever stepped into the ranks of Fleetwood Mac without a reverence for Peter Green and his talent, and to the fact that music should shine bright and always be delivered with uncompromising passion.'
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks also wrote, 'I am sorry to hear about the passing of Peter Green. My biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him. I always hoped in my heart of hearts that that would happen.'
Mick Fleetwood's limited edition, Love That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac, Volume One: 1967-1974
, is dedicated to Peter Green.
In his introduction, Mick Fleetwood writes, 'I believe every member of Fleetwood Mac would acknowledge that our patriarch, Peter Green, is the flame who lit our world and still continues to burn. Without this man and truly gifted musician there simply would be no Fleetwood Mac.'
At Genesis, we were honoured that Peter Green contributed to Fleetwood's edition. Chronicling the early 'British Blues Boom' days of the band, the book would have been incomplete without his insight and we remain grateful for his contribution.
'The band Fleetwood Mac was a bit of an experiment to begin with. I wouldn't have been surprised if it had flopped. The way the line-up came together had a lot to do with fate.' - Peter Green