Skip to main content

Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac Co-Founder and Legendary British Blues Guitarist, Dead at 73

Peter Green (right) and bassist John McVie of Fleetwood Mac, rehearsing at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 22nd April 1969
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Peter Green, a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac and a hugely influential British blues guitar legend, has passed away at the age of 73.

The news was confirmed by a statement from Green's family's lawyers, who said, “It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announce his death this weekend, peacefully in his sleep. A further statement will be provided in the coming days.”

Born in London in 1946, Green first came to prominence in late 1965 as Eric Clapton's replacement in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He would go on to form Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with fellow former Bluesbreakers John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, on bass and drums respectively.

Though Fleetwood Mac's early music was steeped in the blues of their past, Green's guitar work - which incorporated feedback, incredible sustain and tasteful bends - helped set the band apart from their blues-rock contemporaries, and earned them a host of hugely influential hits, including the instrumental "Albatross," "Oh Well" and "Man of the World."

Fleetwood Mac's success, however, took a significant toll on Green's mental health, and he left the band in 1970. He would be diagnosed with schizophrenia later in the decade, and spent time in psychiatric hospitals during the period.

Green would go on to re-emerge in the late '70s with a string of solo albums, and formed the Peter Green Splinter Group in the late-’90s. Though he continued to tour and record sporadically until the early 2010s, Green and fellow Fleetwood Mac co-founder Jeremy Spencer turned down a potential opportunity to reform the band's original lineup in the mid-2000s.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with seven other members of Fleetwood Mac in 1998.

Green's influence continues to loom large to this day, as evidenced by the star-studded Green tribute concert- which featured the likes of David Gilmour, Kirk Hammett, Billy Gibbons and Pete Townshend - that took place at the London Palladium in February.