Peter Green, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac and guitar prodigy, had the right to his last homage during his lifetime last February at the London Palladium, during a tribute organized just in time by his friend drummer Mick Fleetwood. It brought together ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, ex-Pink Floyd, Bill Wyman of the Stones and John Mayall, all going out of their way to salute another, not the least, who has ensured a perenniality in British rock. in a few years with the Bluesbreakers and then Fleetwood Mac. Born Peter Allen Greenbaum in London, he left in his sleep on July 25 at 73, his family announced over the weekend.
The high, a constant
A great admirer of Bo Diddley and blues vinyls imported from America, he was just as much an admirer of Eric Clapton’s technical playing, whose performances returned him to the point of putting down his bass to return to the guitar. Green has the delicate task of replacing Clapton on stage in the Bluesbreakers by John Mayall before joining the group, where he stayed for a year. He then formed Fleetwood Mac with Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, in the long term the most American group of English combos. According to Mick Fleetwood, Green had decided to call the group Fleetwood Mac out of friendship, using the names of his two buddies because he already knew that his presence with them would not be eternal but with the wish that the other two members remain welded. After their departure, the group endured many metamorphoses, until their Californian pop renaissance in the 70s, embodied by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, the only constant, from small clubs to touring stadiums, probably remaining high.
Before Fleetwood Mac became cult in the United States with Bob Welch in his post, Peter Green had started the success in the United Kingdom with his first concert in 1967 at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival and a first album with success largely attributable to his solos, quickly followed by Mr. Wonderful in 1968. Fleetwood Mac became the star group of the British Blues Room movement, which spread the American black blues across the Channel from 1966. Very inspired by classic American blues while offering themselves more freedom in structures, titles like the ‘instrumental Albatross, the hit Black Magic Woman, Man of the World, Oh Well Parts 1 & 2, Green Manalishi slip into the UK charts.
Recluse for decades
In his biography, Fleetwood confides that the sentence «Please don’t leave me with a love that burns», heard on the title Love That BurnThis was particularly relevant to the heartbreak felt when Peter Green left the band in 1970 after three albums to go solo, plagued by excess psychedelic drugs and later diagnosed with schizophrenia. Living decades as a recluse, he did not let go of his six-string, releasing several albums, solo and then with the Peter Green Splinter Group until 2004. Favoring grace over muscle, yet able to play as fast as Clapton, he had preferred to savor the minutes, as on one of his inaugural solos on The Supernatural for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers which earned him the idol of scratchers. His guitar Gibson Les Paul 1959, bought a hundred pounds, has a satin sound which still remains an object of fascination for collectors. He had parted with it in 1969 to sell it inexpensively to a young Irish fan still unknown by the name of Gary Moore who will use it for a long time before giving it to Kirk Hammett of Metallica. Peter Green is however a lucky charm with a thwarted career, who sang in 1969 in a heartbreaking voice: «But I just wish that I’d never been born» itsr Man of the World. English rock was not of the same opinion.