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Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green dead at 73

Estate Of Keith Morris/Redferns

Peter Green, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac and composer of classic songs as “Black Magic Woman,” “Oh Well” and “Albatross,” has died, according to the BBC.  He was 73.

A statement from his family’s lawyers said that Green died peacefully in his sleep.

Green, a highly-regarded blues-rock guitarist who’d replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood and another guitarist, Jeremy Spencer, in 1967. A few months later, John McVie joined on bass.

While the band’s repertoire included blues covers and blues-influenced originals, it was Green’s compositions that really put the band on the map.  In 1968, they scored a U.K. hit “Black Magic Woman” —  famously covered by Santana a few years later — and in 1969, they topped the British charts with Green’s instrumental “Albatross.”

Other Fleetwood Mac hits written by Green included “Oh Well,” “Man of the World” and “The Green Manalishi,” which Judas Priest covered in 1979.  “Manalishi” was the last song Green recorded with the band before he left in 1970.

Green’s departure was due to mental health problems, likely exacerbated by the large doses of LSD he was taking at the time.  He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and even underwent electroshock therapy.  In 1977, he was arrested after threatening his accountant with a gun.  However, in 1979, he returned to performing and recording, and even played guitar on a track on Fleetwood’ Mac’s best-selling album Tusk.

In the ’90s, Green formed Peter Green Splinter Group, whose members included famed drummer Cozy Powell.  They released nine albums between 1997 and 2004.

In 1998, Green was one of eight members of Fleetwood Mac who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with McVie, Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, guitarist Danny Kirwan, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

In February of this year, Mick Fleetwood and stars including Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour and ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons did a gig in London paying tribute to the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac.  Green wasn’t present for the gig.


By Andrea Dresdale
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