Closing My Eyes - Fleetwood Mac
I've only just heard the sad news that Peter Green died last Saturday at the age of 73. A lot of musically, quite well-educated people have since said to me, "Who's Peter Green? Why all the fuss?"
Well let's start with a few simple facts:
The world famous band, Fleetwood Mac, whose 1977 album "Rumours" was once the bestselling album of all time and even now is the eighth biggest bestseller, was formed in 1967 by Peter Green.
The band was a blues / rock band, the best that the UK has ever produced. Green was the group's leader, lead guitarist and lead singer. His guitar style is instantly recognisable and in my opinion, in that period, he was second only to Jimi Hendrix and blues maestro BB King himself, who famously said of Green "He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats."
In 1969 in the UK Fleetwood Mac outsold the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined in both singles and album sales.
In 1969 the line-up of the band which included present-day members bass player John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, featured 3 lead guitarists, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan and Peter Green.
In 1970 Green left the group to pursue new musical ventures and also because he was disillusioned with the world of commercial music. Prior to leaving, while on a European tour, he and the rest of the band were involved in a mysterious, apocryphal drug-fuelled incident in a country mansion just outside Munich which, in the opinion of Spencer, Fleetwood and McVie, caused irreparable damage to Green's (and Danny Kirwan's) mental health. Certainly, after that his guitar playing seemed to have lost its cutting edge, its beautiful fluency, its distinctive tone and phrasing.
So, for many, the great years of Peter Green, and indeed Fleetwood Mac, were that period 1967 - 1970 comprising four terrific albums and a handful of sparkling singles that are quite unique in rock and bare the stamp of Green's personality through his amazing guitar virtuosity and bluesy singing.
But enough of me - let Peter speak for himself. This is from Fleetwood Mac's third album, "Then Play On":
"Now it's the same as before
you touched me with your love
and though you're in my heart
we're still a world apart
as now I'm back to the time
when I would search for a dream
but no use to try anymore as before
some day I'll die
maybe then I'll be with you."
Cold sweats or what?