Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder Peter Green Dead at 73

    Fleetwood Mac co-founder and influential guitarist Peter Green has died at the age of 73.  A statement issued on behalf of the family by solicitors Swan Turton read: “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep.”

    Born in London on October 29, 1946, Green first picked up a guitar at the age of 10 and started playing professionally at 15 while working for several East London shipping companies. His career started as a bassist for Bobby Dennis and the Dominoes, until an encounter with Eric Clapton inspired him to change back to lead guitar. Later, Green would go on to replace Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s band the Bluesbreakers after he left the band in 1965, and made his recording debut with the band with 1966’s A Hard Road. “He might not be better [than Clapton] now,” Mayall told his producer at the time. “But you wait… he’s going to be the best.”

    After leaving the Bluesbreakers in 1967, Green formed Fleetwood Mac, then also known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, with former Bluesbreaker Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass, and Jeremy Spencer on guitar. He was reportedly the one who named the band, combining the names of the band’s rhythm section. They released their self-titled effort in 1968, which gained widespread critical acclaim and reached number four in the charts, and followed it up with 1968’s Mr. Wonderful and 1969’s Then Play On. Though the band’s repertoire initially consisted of blues covers and blues-inspired originals, Green’s songwriting continued to blossom and expand throughout the years. He was responsible for penning tracks like ‘Albatross’, which remains the band’s only number one single, as well as ‘Black Magic Woman’ (later covered by Santana),  ‘Oh Well’, ‘Man Of The World’, and ‘Green Manalishi’.

    Green departed the band in 1970 due to mental health struggles and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. During the 1970s, he spent periods of time in and out of mental hospitals and underwent electroshock therapy. He started playing again in 1979, releasing five solo records over the next 13 years. In the 1990s, he started a new band, the Splinter Group, with guitarist Nigel Watson and drummer Cozy Powell, which resulted in nine albums between 1997 and 2004. He began touring under the moniker Peter Green and Friends five years after quitting the band. In 2015, Rolling Stone included him in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time.

    A number of artists took to social media to pay tribute to the guitarist.


    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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