Peter Green: Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks lead tributes to Fleetwood Mac co-founder

Peter Green wrote hits including 'Albatross' and 'Black Magic Woman': Getty
Peter Green wrote hits including 'Albatross' and 'Black Magic Woman': Getty

Peter Green‘s former Fleetwood Mac bandmates have led tributes to the influential guitarist and songwriter, after his death aged 73. He died peacefully in his sleep at home, his family said.

The co-founder of the legendary group was described as “inspirational” and “one of the greats” by his peers.

Mick Fleetwood, who co-founded the band with Green in 1967, said: “For me, and every past and present member of Fleetwood Mac, losing Peter Green is monumental.

“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.”

The 73-year-old 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.”

Stevie Nicks – who joined Fleetwood Mac with her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham five years after Green quit due to mental health issues – said her biggest regret was missing the chance to share a stage with Green.

“I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Peter Green. My biggest regret is that I never got to share the stage with him. I always hoped in my heart of hearts that that would happen,” she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

“When I first listened to all the Fleetwood Mac records, I was very taken with his guitar playing. It was one of the reasons I was excited to join the band.

“His legacy will live on forever in the history books of Rock n Roll. It was in the beginning, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and I thank you, Peter Green, for that. You changed our lives.”

Singer and guitarist Peter Frampton 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.”

Yusuf/Cat Stevens said Green had become “something of a model” for him, writing: “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.”

Green was born in Bethnal Green, London, on 29 October 1946. formed Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie. Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Green wrote hits for the band including “Albatross”, “Black Magic Woman”, and “Oh Well”.

He received his first guitar from his older brother, Len, who had lost interest in learning how to play. One of Green’s musical heroes was The Shadows’ lead guitarist Hank Marvin, although his other influences were mostly blues greats, from BB King to Otis Rush.

In 1966, Green replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Mayall told his producer, who was scandalised at losing Clapton: “He might not be better [than Clapton] now. But you wait… he’s going to be the best.”

Green was the songwriter behind classic Fleetwood Mac hits including “Albatross”, “Black Magic Woman”, and “Oh Well”.

Left to right; Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie, the original Fleetwood Mac lineup (Getty Images)
Left to right; Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and John McVie, the original Fleetwood Mac lineup (Getty Images)

Mick Fleetwood said in 2017 that Green deserved 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. Green stood out in “an era of great guitar work”, he added.

Green was among the eight Fleetwood Mac members inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Mumford and Sons guitarist Winston Marshall also tweeted a touching tribute, thanking Green for his work. “Man of the world, oh well, albatross, need your love so bad. Some of my favourite songs and performances of all time. Thank you for the music,” he wrote.

“Peter Green was one of my biggest inspirations when I first started playing guitar. I love the way he played and I probably play guitar now because I wanted to be like him,” said Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos,

Paul Stanley, co-lead vocalist for rock band Kiss, compared Green to the great figures from Britain’s blues history, including Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

He tweeted: “RIP Peter Green. One of the absolute hierarchy of the original British Blues Greats. Clapton, Page, Beck and Green.”

(From left) Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie and Peter Green (Rex)
(From left) Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie and Peter Green (Rex)

Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler also described Green as “one of the greats”. Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith remembered Green as a “master of tone”.

Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden shared a picture and his memories of Green in a long tribute on social media.

He wrote on Instagram: “I can’t quite express my feelings this afternoon after learning of Peter’s death. I’m just thinking of the times we spent together in the last couple of years, hanging out with him at his home was very special. A memory I’ll cherish. He made me laugh, cry, wonder, and never failed to make me pinch myself when we were alone one to one.

“There I was, sat [sic] with my hero. As a musician, I can only be one of the millions he touched, his talent for guitar playing, vocals and harmonica would have been more than most people could have possibly wished for, and then you add those wonderful songs, original, vibrant, atmospheric, outright psychedelic and so much fun, to listen to and witness. Those early days of Fleetwood Mac will stay in my mind for ever.”

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