This weekend the world of classic rock mourned the death of Fleetwood Mac founding member Peter Green. He was 73 years old.
Solicitors acting on Green’s family’s behalf first announced the news stating. "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."
Green was born in Bethnal Green, London and founded Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967. At the time, Green was playing with Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Green and Fleetwood came together and recruited John McVie as a bass player forming the core of the band.
Green was responsible for much of the songwriting during the band’s early days penning numbers like the instrumental Albatross which remains the band’s only number one hit to this day. Black Magic Woman and Oh Well were other popular songs that he can be credited for. He also oversaw most of the band’s music production.
With Green as a member, the band released their self-titled debut album. It was critically acclaimed and reached number four in the music charts.
Sadly, shortly after the release, Green began to battle with his mental health. He left the band in 1970 and spent much of the following years in mental hospitals after being diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Despite Green’s health issues getting in the way of his music career, he continued to be recognized for his songwriting talent throughout his life. He was one of the eight members of Fleetwood Mac to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Green’s music will also be coming out on a retrospective box set documenting the early years (1969 – 1974) of Fleetwood Mac’s career. The band announced they would be releasing the box set just days before the guitarist’s death.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Green at number 58 in its list of 100 all time greatest guitarists. They described him as “Britain’s most progressive blues’ guitarists” for his time.
Green was also briefly married to Jane Samuels and has a daughter from that marriage.
As news of Green’s death hit the music world, many artists came forward to pay tribute. Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale tweeted, “"I supported the original Fleetwood Mac at Redcar Jazz Club when I was in a local band... he was a breathtaking singer, guitarist and composer. I know who I will be listening to today. RIP"
Mumford and Sons guitarist Winston Marshall posted the following statement on his Twitter account, "RIP Peter Green. #GOAT. Man of the world, oh well, albatross, need your love so bad. Some of my favourites songs and performances of all time. Thank you for the music."
Singer songwriter Cat Stevens AKA Yusuf Islam posted "God bless the ineffable Peter Green, one of the unsung heroes of musical integrity, innovation and spirit. When I heard he left Fleetwood Mac in 1970 to get a real life and donate his wealth to charity, he became something of a model for me."
RIP Peter Green. Your music will live on in the hearts of many.