Shall I tell you about his life, they say he’s a man of the world. Peter Green, to my mind one of the finest guitar players of the 20th Century, has died aged 73. Green was a standout figure on the British blues circuit before creating the band Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with friends Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. The man who replaced Eric Clapton effortlessly in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Peter Green had an effortless sound to his play that was praised by the likes of BB King and Thin Lizzy’s Gary Moore.
His song writing credentials were diverse, stretching from Santana favourite Black Magic Woman, to the heavy rock Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown, a favourite of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford, to chill out guitar CBT in Albatross. To date the latter remains Fleetwood Mac’s only UK number one hit. His work complimenting John McVie on Oh Well, and Danny Kirwan on Dragonfly was also standout.
However his mental health problems, which were to remain a huge issue for the rest of his life, combined with a fear of touring, and in 1970 Peter Green left the Mac. He worked with BB King and John Mayall before his health collapsed and he was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia after allegedly threatening to shoot his manager. It took the better part of a decade for him to get better enough to perform again, and then on he preferred jamming in studios to gigs. He performed uncredited several teams on Fleetwood Mac tunes, and remained friends with Fleetwood and both McVies throughout his life. He also became an advocate against LSD use which he viewed as having worsened his health woes. Anytime an official reunion of the original Fleetwood Mac was Rumours it was skiboshed by three things: Peter Green’s unwillingness to perform, Danny Kirwan’s own health problems (he died in 2018), and Jeremy Spencer’s dislike of Green.
Despite his woes and comebacks, Peter Green got to see his own induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and even appeared at the ceremony, performing with… Santana on Black Magic Woman. His mind just couldn’t cope with the stress of publicly reunited with Fleetwood Mac.
He was a unique hit for Boom Boom Out Goes the Lights.
29 October 1946 – 25 July 2020