Peter Green was considered one of the world’s most influential blues guitarists. Picture: Supplied
Peter Green was considered one of the world’s most influential blues guitarists. Picture: Supplied

Fleetwood Mac legend dead at 73

Fleetwood Mac co-founder and renowned blues rock guitarist Peter Green has died at the age of 73.

"It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep," lawyers representing Green's family said in a statement.

"A further statement will be provided in the coming days."

London-born Green formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967.

They started the group after Green played in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, where he filled in for Eric Clapton.

Peter Green with John McVie (left) during Fleetwood Mac's early days. Picture: Getty Images
Peter Green with John McVie (left) during Fleetwood Mac's early days. Picture: Getty Images

Green and Fleetwood asked John McVie to join the band as bass guitarist, naming the band Fleetwood Mac.

They produced three albums and a series of much-loved tracks including Albatross, Black Magic Woman and Oh Well.

 

Green left the band in 1970 after one final performance, as he struggled with mental health issues. The guitarist was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in hospital in the mid-1970s.

In a 2017 interview, Mick Fleetwood said that it was Green who deserved much of the credit for the band's massive success.

After struggles with mental illness Peter Green returned to the stage. Picture: Getty Images
After struggles with mental illness Peter Green returned to the stage. Picture: Getty Images

 

Mick Fleetwood formed the group with Peter Green. Picture: Paul McMillan
Mick Fleetwood formed the group with Peter Green. Picture: Paul McMillan

"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 described Green as a standout in an era of great guitar work.

Green made a rare appearance with the group in 1998 when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Fleetwood Mac’s early line up is, from left to right; Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie. Picture: Getty Images
Fleetwood Mac’s early line up is, from left to right; Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie. Picture: Getty Images


Green was considered one the best of the British blues guitarists of the 1960s. Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King once said the Londoner "has the sweetest tone I ever heard. He was the only one who gave me the cold sweats."


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

Fleetwood Mac’s classic line up. (L-r) John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham. Picture: Supplied
Fleetwood Mac’s classic line up. (L-r) John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham. Picture: Supplied


In 2018, Buckingham was fired from the band and was replaced by Mike Campbell, formerly of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House.

On the band's most recent tour they played songs from Green's era.

Fleetwood Mac has sold more than a staggering 120 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most successful bands ever.

The news of Green's death comes days after Fleetwood Mac announced they will release a retrospective boxset, documenting the band's early years between 1969 and 1974.



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