Mick Fleetwood has paid tribute to his fellow Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green, describing him as “my dearest friend” and saying they “trail blazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy”.
Fleetwood and Green formed the influential group in London in 1967, alongside John McVie and Jeremy Spencer.
Green, who has died at the age of 73, later left the band after struggling with his mental health. In a statement to the PA news agency, Fleetwood said: “For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental.
“Peter was the man who started the band Fleetwood Mac along with myself, John McVie, and Jeremy Spencer. No one has ever stepped into the ranks of Fleetwood Mac without a reverence for Peter Green and his talent, and to the fact that music should shine bright and always be delivered with uncompromising passion.”
Fleetwood, 73, added: “Peter, I will miss you, but rest easy your music lives on. I thank you for asking me to be your drummer all those years ago. We did good, and trail blazed one hell of a musical road for so many to enjoy.
“God speed to you, my dearest friend……. Love Mick Fleetwood.”
Green, the influential blues rock guitarist, whose songs included Albatross and Oh Well, was born in London’s Bethnal Green into a Jewish family.
He formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Fleetwood in London in 1967, after a stint in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – filling in for Eric Clapton.
Green and Fleetwood wanted John McVie to join the group on bass, and named the band Fleetwood Mac to entice him – a strategy that was ultimately successful.
Under his direction, the band produced three albums and a series of well-loved tracks including Black Magic Woman, Man Of The World and Oh Well.
Green penned the instrumental Albatross, which remains Fleetwood Mac’s only UK number one single, hitting the top of the charts in January 1969.
Carlos Santana’s 1970 version of Black Magic Woman, in which he added conga and timbales drums, became one of the Mexican-American’s biggest hits.
Green left Fleetwood Mac after a final performance in 1970 as he struggled with mental health difficulties and spiralling drug use, later sleeping rough.
He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in hospitals undergoing electro-convulsive therapy during the mid-70s.
Most sadly have lost one of the most tasteful guitar players ever I have always been a huge admirer of the great Peter Green may he rest in peace.
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) July 25, 2020
The band continued with a transformed line-up featuring a core group of Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Christine McVie.
This phase gave rise to their huge albums Fleetwood Mac and Rumours.
Green emerged from obscurity on a number of occasions, forming the Peter Green Splinter Group in the late 1990s with Nigel Watson and Cozy Powell.
They released nine albums between 1997 and 2004.
Speaking to the PA news agency in 1992, Fleetwood described Green as “a major talent that to this day holds out”.
He added: “I consider myself very lucky to have even played with him.
“Of course it upsets me but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s his life. I haven’t seen him for years.”
Green was among the eight members — along with Fleetwood, Nicks, Buckingham, the McVies, Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer — inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Earlier this year, artists including Fleetwood, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and guitarists Jonny Lang and Andy Fairweather Low performed at the London Palladium during a gig celebrating the early years of Fleetwood Mac and Green.
Green married Jane Samuels in January 1978. They divorced in 1979 and share a daughter.
Singer and guitarist Peter Frampton was among those paying tribute.
He said: “Most sadly have lost one of the most tasteful guitar players ever I have always been a huge admirer of the great Peter Green may he rest in peace.”
Mumford and Sons guitarist Winston Marshall also tweeted a touching tribute, thanking Green “for the music”.
He wrote: “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”.
And Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler described Green as “one of the greats”.