The death has been announced of Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac. Green was born at Bethnal Green, East London, just down the road from Stepney where another legendary guitarist, Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, was born. Andy was also a great fan, and paid tribute to him:
“He first came to my attention in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, as a replacement for the departing Eric Clapton. His instrumental tune The Supernatural caught my ear as a masterful use of feedback and emotion. I was later fortunate to catch the debut of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac at the Windsor jazz and Blues Festival in 1967…I got in the front row there, and was so overcome by the band’s performance, as an impressionable 17 year old, that I leapt up on stage at the end of their show and dragged a laughing Peter Green back on for a series of encores.”
Green formed Fleetwood Mac in 1967, a legendary band of extraordinary longevity. Founder member Mick Fleetwood is still with them, as is Stevie Nicks who joined in 1975, but Green himself didn’t stay around to greet her, although he did guest on the 1979 Tusk double album, albeit without being credited. The same year he released In The Skies.
Green’s parting company with Fleetwood Mac was due to mental problems; he was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia, a condition that would effectively trash his life.
It remains to be seen how much of Green’s mental decline was due to LSD, but Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who was born the same year, suffered similarly in his youth, though unlike Green, he never managed to overcome his illness. He died in July 2006, absent from music for a long time.
Green appeared only intermittently after Fleetwood Mac, and was at one point said to be destitute. From 1985-90 he appears to have done nothing at all. He was married briefly, sired a daughter, and managed to churn out a fair amount of studio work over the remainder of his life.
In addition to his guitar style, it is his work with Fleetwood Mac for which he will mostly be remembered, four songs in particular: Man Of The World, the enigmatic …Green Manalishi…, Black Magic Woman – recorded definitely by Santana, and the chart topping instrumental Albatross.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.