The world lost one of its greatest and least-appreciated guitarists today. Peter Green (born Peter Greenbaum) has died at the age of 73.
Green replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1966. When a producer expressed dismay that Clapton had left the band, Mayall replied, “Don’t worry. We got someone better.” Lucille Bogan’s “Sweet Black Angel”, made famous by BB King as “Sweet Little Angel”, was recorded by Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Green on guitar.
Mayall introduced some of the best British blues guitarists to the world. Green, like the others, soon left to form his own band – Fleetwood Mac, with the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (the only constants in that band’s long tenure). There he recorded his song “Black Magic Woman”. While most of the world associates this song with Santana’s cover version, here is Fleetwood Mac:
While Green was a phenomenal blues guitarist, he and Fleetwood Mac soon branched out, especially as they added additional guitarists. Here is Green’s instrumental “Albatross”:
With the album “Then Play On”, they went in another direction. Here is “Oh Well” from that album:
Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1970. Within a few years they had morphed into a phenomenally successful pop band; unrecognizable to fans of the original Fleetwood Mac. Green disappeared from the public eye after an unpleasant LSD experience in Germany. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent electroconvulsive therapy. He resurfaced a few times over the years, including in the 90s with “Peter Green’s Splinter Group”.
After all those years, it was clear he still had it. He reappeared one last time with “Peter Green and Friends”. While he could no longer tolerate the ravages of touring and his voice was shot, his fingers still worked, as did their connection to his heart. Here, from 2010, is his cover of “Oh Pretty Woman” (not the Roy Orbison song but the A.C. Williams blues song made famous by Albert King).
Peter Green 29 October 1946-25 July 2020.
This post may have nothing to do with bicycles, but it seems like everyone has the blues these days and could use a dose of the blues as treatment.