In Memoriam: Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder Peter Green

July 26, 2020
In Memoriam: Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder Peter Green

Photo taken from 2003 compilation album Blues by Green

Peter Green – who co-founded Fleetwood Mac in 1967 and penned a slew of rock staples including Santana favorite “Black Magic Woman” – has died. He was 73.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. A further statement will be provided in the coming days,” read a statement provided to the BBC.

Before creating Fleetwood Mac, Green was a regular player in the British blues scene, taking Eric Clapton’s slot in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and even prompting the legendary BB King to say, “[Green] has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”

Green was born in London on Oct. 29 1946. After logging time with Mayall’s band, he struck out on his own in 1967 to form Fleetwood Mac (then called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac) with drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Jeremy Spencer. Bassist John McVie rounded out the lineup for their debut, self-titled LP.

Green’s tenure with Fleetwood Mac was rocky, as mental fatigue led to mental illness and experimentation with large quantities of LSD. After years of mind-expansion, he performed his final show with Fleetwood Mac on May 20 1970.

And despite a string of performances and some guitar contributions to 1973’s Penguin and 1979’s Tusk, he remained outside of Fleetwood Mac’s orbit for much of the ’70s grappling with a schizophrenia diagnosis.

His solo 1979 solo record In the Skies – however- marked a return to form, followed by Little Dreamer (1980), Whatcha Gonna Do? (1981), White Sky (1982), Kolors (1983) and 1984’s A Case for the Blues (with Katmandu).

In 2019, Rolling Stone named Green the 58th greatest guitarist of all time, name-checking “Albatross” and “Rattlesnake Shake” as some of his best performances. As a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Green entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Instead of performing with the Mac that evening, Green opted to play “Black Magic Woman” with fellow 1998 inductees Santana.

Watch Green and Fleetwood Mac perform “Albatross” in 1969 below: