Sunday, January 4, 2009

Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac

I am not a huge Fleetwood Mac fan. But I sure enjoy the first incarnation of the the band. Most people probably know the most successful line up of the band, with Lindsey Buckingham and Steve Nicks. However, the band started in 1967 when guitarist Peter Green did a recording session and called the band Fleetwood Mac. He was the guitarist in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, replacing Eric Clapton. Also in the band was John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. McVie refused to join the new band at first, even if his name was part of the bands name. He liked the steady paycheck of the Bluesbreakers.

Once he joined, the band added Jeremy Spencer on lead guitar and vocals, and the band set out to spread the blues gospel around the world. Danny Kirwan was added as another guitarist, giving the band the a rare three lead guitar line up. The hit "Albatross" set the band to the top of the charts, and an American tour followed.

The troubles that set in at this point are legendary. Jeremy Spencer took off in Los Angeles, and never came back, joining a cult. Peter Green went into a journey fueled by LSD and other drugs.

The point of this post is the share with all of you a wonderful 12 part series I watched this weekend on YouTube. This show documents the rise and fall of Peter Green, who is even today a highly influential guitarist. It is a miracle he is still with us and making music. He is not the guitarist he used to be, but that is ok. He is still important.

A sidenote: in the early 1970's, Peter gave away or sold most of his possessions, including a sunburst 1959 Gibson Les Paul, with the famous neck pickup modification (turned around upside down, contributing to his trademark tone). The guitar ended up with guitarist Gary Moore for many years, until he sold it a few years back. The guitar is currently for sale for $2 million. The guitar has been making the rounds at guitar shows for years and has been played by many guitarists. What a great, and expensive, piece of music history.

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