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Peter Green Has Come A Long Way Since Fleetwood Mac

Tony Hisgett
Flickr - Creative Commons
Peter Green performing in the United Kingdon, December 2009.

Peter Green has blazed a trail across mid-20th century British music from a stint with The Bluesbreakers to founding Fleetwood Mac. He continues to be a major force in the British Blues scene today.

Peter Allen Greenbaum, was born in London in October 1946. His brother started teaching him a few guitar chords when he was very young, but Green showed so much talent that he was teaching himself by age 11. At 15 he became a professional musician and played with several Rock, Pop and Rhythm and Blues bands.

It was in 1966 when Green filled in for Eric Clapton for three concerts with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Soon after, Clapton left the band and Green replaced him. Decca producer Mike Vernon was stunned when Mayall told him that Peter Green would be better than Clapton within a few years. Talk about pressure!


After about a year with Mayall, Green decided he should start his own band. So he recruited drummer Mick Fleetwood, who he had met in The Bluesbreakers. Eventually joining the band was Bluesbreakers bassist John McVie. Things went well for the band, although Green was declining in mental health as the band gained in prominence. Green suffered a serious decline after an LSD binge in late 1970.


It was soon after that Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac, playing with a variety of people at festivals and recording sessions for a couple of years as his mental health declined. The mid-1970s were a time of therapy including electroshock. I'm going to skip ahead to 1979 when Green's problems were starting to be somewhat controlled and he began to re-emerge onto the music scene with uncredited appearances on Fleetwood Mac albums and other session work.


After years as a sort of musical itinerate he formed Peter Green's Splinter Group in the late 1990s. That began his rise as a true force in British Blues. His guitar tone is among the best, ranging from subtle to emotionally penetrating. Add to that his mellow and expressive voice, it makes Green a true Blues master. It's no wonder he was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as their 38th Greatest Guitarist of All Time. In 1998, Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I believe he will someday enter the Blues Hall of Fame.

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