Fleetwood Mac co-founder and influential blues rock guitarist Peter Green has died aged 73. Solicitors acting on behalf of his family said in a statement: «It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep».
The guitarist was born in London on October 29, 1946. He played in several bands after beginning to play professionally at the age of 15, including Bobby Dennis And The Dominoes, and The Muskrats.
In 1965, he met drummer Mick Fleetwood while a member of Peter B’s Looners, with whom he would go on to form Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac alongside guitarist Jeremy Spencer.
Green, from Bethnal Green in east London, formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967. They came together after Green’s stint filling in for Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Green and Fleetwood then convinced John McVie to join the band as bass guitarist, in part by naming the band Fleetwood Mac.
He wrote the instantly recognizable instrumental track Albatross, which remains the band’s only number one hit, plus two other early hits, Black Magic Woman and Oh Well. And it was under Green’s direction that they produced their first three albums.
The band’s debut album was released in 1968. Simply called Fleetwood Mac, but also known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, it gained widespread acclaim and reached number four in the charts.
He crashed out of the band in 1971. Even so, Mick Fleetwood said in an interview with the Associated Press in 2017 that Green deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the band’s success.
«Peter was asked why did he call the band Fleetwood Mac. He said, ‘Well, you know I thought maybe I’d move on at some point and I wanted Mick and John McVie to have a band.’ End of story, explaining how generous he was», said Fleetwood, who describe Green as a standout in an era of great guitar work.
Indeed, Green was so fundamental to the band that in its early days it was called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.
Green struggled with his mental health. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in hospital in the mid-70s.